Notre Dame Cathedral burned in a fire earlier this year. CFP
It’s been a rough year for priceless artifacts around the world. In September 2018, a fire wiped out about 90 percent of the collection at the National Museum of Brazil. In April 2019, Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral lost its famous spire in another fire. Most recently, in October, Japan’s 500-year-old Shuri Castle was destroyed － again, by fire.
It’s heartbreaking to see even one piece of human history go up in smoke, but there is no need to be depressed. The truth is that we have lost historic sites and artifacts throughout history, to wars and natural disasters. Many are rebuilt or repaired.
Examples include the 18th-century Dresden Frauenkirche in Germany, which was destroyed during the World War II bombing and rebuilt in 2005. There is also the Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan, China, which dated back to AD 223. It’s been destroyed by fires and wars and rebuilt as many as 11 times.
So it will probably be no different for the National Museum of Brazil, Notre Dame Cathedral, or Shuri Castle. In fact, right after the fire at Notre Dame, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed that it would be rebuilt in five years. During his visit to China in November, it was decided that Chinese experts will participate in the restoration work.
That said, however, there are less fortunate cultural relics － those endangered in Syria and Iraq where wars are ongoing. According to Artnet News, all six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Syria have been reported damaged. And yet, somehow, they didn’t get nearly as much attention as Notre Dame, and probably won’t have a chance to be restored to their former glory any time soon.
但有的文化遗产就不是那么幸运了 —— 想想那些身处叙利亚以及伊拉克战火中的濒危遗迹。据“艺术网新闻”网站报道，位于叙利亚的6处联合国教科文组织世界遗产都遭到破坏。但它们并未获得类似于巴黎圣母院那样的关注，或许短期内也不会有机会恢复原貌。
It might be true that many damaged artifacts make it back. But “many” is not “all”.