Notre Dame makes me optimistic

My sister points at her screen and I see a burning church. It's Notre Dame. I've never been to Paris but visiting Notre Dame is definitely something I have imagined myself doing. I have this romantic idea that I will go there once I have a girlfriend. My first thought is that I've waited too long... how egoistic.

Photo: Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt, AFP/Getty Images

I immediately check online and feel this weird excitement that only happens with big breaking news, where most of humanity is paying attention to something urgent.

I see people crying and my rational side wonders: "Why are people crying for a building? There are people dying of poverty."

But of course they have a right to cry. I also feel the pain. It's the pain of history disappearing in front of your eyes. The famous art critique Kenneth Clark opens his documentary by standing in front of Notre Dame: "I'm not sure how to define civilization, but I'm looking at it now."

I feel pain, but I also feel something else. I'm touched by seeing the good side of people; firemen saving the church, people grieving together, politicians putting aside their arguments. It makes me hopeful for humanity coming together to fight the other problems of the world. I just hope it won't take a burning world to get there...

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