France’s shame at the Notre Dame fire shows the west still believes in society | Julian Baggini
The French people’s impulse to share responsibility for the disaster shows individualism is less entrenched than we think
It’s easy to understand the grief that the French people are feeling in the wake of the devastation of Notre Dame. More puzzling is the sense of shame that the Guardian’s Paris correspondent Angelique Chrisafis highlighted in her report. “On our watch we let it burn,” she quotes an older woman in tears saying.
This sentiment was echoed in Jonathan Miller’s Spectator blog in which he wrote, “There is also a shame to this. How could this have happened? Isn’t France better than this?” Both Chrisafis and Miller have lived in France for years and are reporting from the ground. The shame they have identified seems real.