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The palace of the Tuileries was burned then—whether by accident or by arson is still a question that divides right and left—and its ruins remained intact, or, rather, ruined, and in situ for most of the next decade, until they were finally demolished. Even that story, in a sense, offers an encouraging lesson about civic disaster and civic recovery: while the politicians debated what to do with the ruins, the culture of the Impressionists rose up around them.
Life and light found their way. Many other catastrophes, large and small, have befallen Paris, and that history of destruction and renewal as a source of civic faith offered a wan hope, as Notre-Dame burned on Monday. As New Yorkers have learned about civic disasters, it is important to focus on the specific as a way out of the horrific, and the specifics here, though hardly good, are not completely desolate: the fire, though unimaginable the morning before, did not do the worst that one could have imagined.
Nevertheless, our emotions follow a familiar course: shock that it is happening, relief that it is not as bad as it might have been, and then shock again at realizing just how bad it is. Still, the cathedral belongs to everyone, and everyone is rooting for its restoration. Those who feel the emptiness of a universe deprived of meaning and the absurdity of the human condition see here the apotheosis of the spirit of thousands of women and men who worked over two centuries and eight hundred years.
You can, in other words, take the cathedral as you choose to find it. Montaigne was right that justice can be fleeting in a nation, but there is much resilience in a town. Our civilization is still resourceful enough to remake its past, in every sense. I would take a bet that, within a decade, Notre-Dame will be back in more than decent shape, because Paris will still be Paris.
The gilet jaunes, also known as the yellow vests, have been battling riot police in Paris for several weeks.
- Sistema Constitucional Tributário dos Fundamentos Teóricos aos Hard Cases Tributários: Estudos em Homenagem ao Ministro Luiz Fux (Portuguese Edition).
- Notre Dame Needs To Drop Kick Navy!
- Watch Next!
- The Next Step?
- Plating for Gold: A Decade of Dessert Recipes from the World and National Pastry Team Championships!
- Notre-Dame in the French Imagination | The New Yorker.
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