fiddle while Rome burns

fiddle while Rome burns - пир(овать) во время чумы

Meaning:occupy oneself with something unimportant while a crisis remains unattended to
The great fire of Rome (64 AD) gave the Emperor Nero and his city-planners an unparalleled opportunity to rebuild. Included in the plans were a fabulous villa and pleasure park for Nero, the Golden House (64-68 AD), which gave rise to rumours that Nero had started the fire himself in order to clear the site and had moreover celebrated it with music. It is true that he had artistic pretensions and was certainly capable both of initiating the catastrophe and of being insensitive to the suffering it caused, but if the story is true - some historians have argued that he was not in Rome at the time - he would have played a lyre (forerunner of the modern violin and used as an accompaniment to song), not a fiddle.