'Anonymous' issues harsh message to billionaires who donated to Notre Dame restoration fund
On Monday, April 15th, a fire tore through the iconic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, destroying a large portion of the 800-year-old structure. The city, and, indeed, much of the rest of the world, mourned the loss of the historic building, and France's president, Emmanuel Macron, vowed to have it restored as soon as possible.
"We'll rebuild Notre-Dame even more beautifully and I want it to be completed in five years, we can do it," he said. "It's up to us to convert this disaster into an opportunity to come together ... It's up to us to find the thread of our national project."
Within just two days, more than a billion Euros had been raised to fund its restoration.
Among the donors were Bernard Arnault, France's richest man, who pledged €200 million ($226 million) towards the restoration project, Francois-Henri Pinault, who pledged €100 million, cosmetics giants L'Oreal, oil company Total, investor Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere, and construction magnates Martin and Olivier Bouygues.
While many applauded their generosity, other groups took a different stance. And 'Anonymous' is one of them.
"This is a message to the billionaires who donated huge sums of money to the restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral in France," the masked figure began.
"This week, you have proven just how big your hearts can be and how deep your pockets go. Your contribution seemed monumental to most people on the world, who live paycheck to paycheck, and amounted to sums of money that we could never even imagine spending."
And then, they went on to say why they thought that was a problem.
"It is admirable that you were willing to reach into your pockets during a time of national crisis (if you want to call it that), but now the people of the world are wondering why you don’t show this type of compassion when people’s lives are actually at stake," they said.
"Luckily, no one was hurt during this week’s fire at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France. Yet, the partial loss of a historical building has gathered more donations than any natural disaster or poverty crisis in the past several years. This selective charity has opened the eyes of the people of the world to the misplaced priorities of the ruling class. It is now obvious that you care more about symbols of your cultural power than you do about human lives or the very planet that we live on."
Similar statements had been made on social media, with many people comparing the blaze to the one that destroyed Grenfell Tower and killed dozens of people in London two years ago.
"In this statement we are not here to make any threats, you have already exposed yourselves," Anonymous continued. "Instead, we are here to appeal to your sense of humanity, the shred of soul that may be left inside of you.
"The massive financial inequality on this planet makes the world a more difficult place to live for you just as much as it does for us. Take a moment to re-examine your priorities and take a look at the serious injustices taking place around the world and see how the burning of the Notre Dame cathedral pales in comparison to these tragedies. Perhaps then you will be ready to use the wealth that you have attained in this world to achieve positive things."
Here's what the cathedral looks like after the fire:
While expensive restoration work begins on the Notre Dame, hundreds of thousands of people remain homeless in France.