In a time of infected political, non secular and sectarian divisions, someway, a hearth in a Catholic church, a cathedral in France, managed to soften away the animosity — if just for a second — and convey individuals collectively in shared sorrow. Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew, or atheist; in France, India, Argentina, all over the place, Notre Dame’s doom introduced private ache.
How can the demise of a constructing, technically a spiritual construction, pack such a strong influence?
The conflagration introduced a sense of helplessness and foreboding — harking back to the devastation on 9/11, in some methods, and maybe that was a part of the impact for some individuals: the sense — actual or imagined — that we had been watching a metaphor, a prelude, a warning.
Or course, the outrage many of the world skilled on 9/11 required no interpretation: terrorists had intentionally massacred 1000’s. The sorrow was not over the lack of the buildings; it was clearly justified by the intentional atrocity.
And in that manner, Notre Dame was totally different.
That’s French historical past, however it is usually ours.
Notre Dame survived World Wars I and II, solely to burn in our tumultuous instances. Is it a coincidence? A mere accident? We do not know what began the hearth. It is potential, and we’re informed probably, that it was restoration work that triggered the catastrophe.
Not surprisingly, it did not take lengthy for the divisions to resurface round this new tragedy; the conspiracy theories, the blaming with out proof. Earlier than lengthy, there might be a political reckoning.
However for a time, the flaming Notre Dame Cathedral introduced the world collectively in shared sorrow. For only a second, we felt historical past belonged to all of us, and we mourned our widespread loss.