(MENAFN - Arab Times) Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
THE entire world was shaken by grief and pain when fire
engulfed one of the most beautiful and oldest churches in the world — Cathedral
of Notre-Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris). The entire world witnessed the
fire, which continued for hours, through live television coverage.
Majority of the initial investigations suggests that the fire
was an accident, considering the cathedral was under renovation. This, in itself, lessened the pain. Everyone
resorted to the phrase commonly used by Muslims: 'Allah disposes, He does
whatever He wishes.' If the fire was
intentional, several groups and parties would have been put on the line of
accusations, such as the 'Yellow Vest' group and extremist Muslims, etc.
What was amazing and civilized about the incident was that a
few hours after the fire started until it was extinguished, news on donations
of hundreds of millions from individuals, French and foreign companies were the
Two days after the fire, more than 900 million euros were
pledged. It extended to generous donations from every corner of the globe for
the reconstruction of that structure of civilization estimated to have lasted
for more than 856 years, to the lofty 'Quartier Latin' area — ancient and
famous for its shops, restaurants and cafés.
I was very glad when I, together with scores of those who
have conscience and emotion, heard this news. We have seen that the world is
fine and will continue so, as long as it is being ruled by good people. It is
unfortunate that we lack such feelings in this part of the world.
In the last decade, we lost precious antiques and monuments —
more than 10,000; and ancient buildings in Iraq, Syria and other places where
destruction from outside and within continues. Yet, such incident did not move
drums in the ears of one of our richest people or organizations which are
called charity due to selective categories.
The touching glimpse of humanity which made me believe that
the world and mankind, primarily us in the Gulf, are alright; and that we still
have the elegant touch of humanity, is the decision of the Kuwaiti government,
through Kuwait Red Crescent Society, to quickly send humanitarian aid to the
victims of floods in various provinces in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The floods occurred in towns
inhabited by Iranian Arabs or Ahwaz region. These people are our brothers in
humanity, religion and pan-Arabism.
Everyone in neighboring Iran
applauded and praised Kuwait Red Crescent Society for its humanitarian
activities — its officials and citizens. This is not a strange gesture by
Kuwait, its people and its humanitarian leader. Aid was dispatched upon his
What made me happier was the
unforgettable humanitarian glimpse concerning the United Arab Emirates Red
Crescent Society which dispatched a plane carrying 95 tons of relief to Tehran
to help the flood victims.
This aid came within the
Saudi-United Arab Emirates initiative to alleviate the suffering of Iranians
affected by the floods. This initiative is considered a paradigm shift in the
efforts of both sides of the humanitarian spectrum (Al-Qabas daily April 18,
I was really touched by the
humanitarian initiative of two countries which are not in good terms with Iran
as they managed to overlook their differences in order to alleviate human
suffering in the neighboring country by offering aid.
We have nothing more to say to
these three countries — Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates and their
esteemed leaders — other than 'Thank you and may Almighty Allah grant you the
best rewards on Earth and in the Hereafter.'
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil