Notre Dame

A lot has gone on over the past few weeks. The horrendous attacks in Sri Lanka, the climate change protests in London and the blazing inferno that turned the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris into a smouldering wreck. All of these took place over the Easter period, a time acknowledged by Christian and non-Christian alike, as a springtime symbol of new life and new beginnings.

I was amazed by the extraordinary response caused by the fire at Notre Dame last month. Before the embers had even begun to cool, millions of euros were being pledged to see the gothic landmark rebuilt and restored to its former glory.

Some have been less impressed by this outpouring of generosity, with people wondering how this much money could be raised for what is essentially just a building, whilst the world is suffering with so many more complex humanitarian and environmental needs. Fortunately there weren’t even any losses of life. I think I get it though. Landmark’s such as the Notre Damn Cathedral represent so much more than just a place of worship. They’re a symbol of national identity, of strength, of times past and of things yet to come. Most countries have their equivalent. Every time I ride over the river Thames in London, I look over at St Paul’s, nestled snugly amongst the shiny skyscrapers that now dominate the ever-changing London skyline. I came to learn recently that the iconic building that we see today is actually just the latest version, having been re-built on 4 previous occasions. Sir Christopher Wren’s domed design was constructed after the previous Cathedral was burnt down in the Great Fire of London (1666). It is also true of that time, that money was found from government, monarchy and citizen alike, amongst times of great austerity, to ensure the building stood once more. The image of Parisian’s sat in silence on the banks of the river Sane, watching their beloved Cathedral collapse in on itself, their faces warmed by the blaze, certainly had an effect on me. It’s hard not to want to respond to something like that, but I think the source of the response is not so much the incident taking place but moreover the visual effect of watching it happen.

Often these iconic, much loved buildings exist in a constant state of disrepair, with the national populous somewhat perturbed by the public cost of their update and renovation. Take Big Ben or Buckingham Palace for example. If they, however were to suffer a similar fate, I would expect the same response. It’s the imagery of the destruction that causes the reaction.

It’s seems harder to steal the same response from things unseen. There are many problems in this world which could be seriously impacted with the levels of money donated to the Notre Dame re-build. That’s why one of the main aims of Blue Bear Coffee Co. is to raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking and the amazing work being done by people to fight it. We want to help bring these stories into the light, to direct attention and maybe we can help illicit a more generous response.

One way of achieving this is to launch a podcast, which was first suggested to us by a blog reader with sight issues. After some consideration during this Easter season of new beginnings, we have decided to launch a crowd funding campaign to raise £1000 to fund the podcast. If you have a heart for justice issues and would like to learn more about them, perhaps you’ll invest in this project with us and be a part of the wider conversation.

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