I cannot begin to express the anxiety and heartbreak we are feeling over the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Tears have been shed. I feel a way that I haven’t felt since 9/11.
Notre Dame is THE iconic structure of Paris. When the Eiffel Tower was completed, Notre Dame had already been standing for over half a millennium. It is central to the city’s identity.
The only “good” news is that there was no loss of life (at least none known so far) and that this tragedy is not the result of an act of terrorism or war. It was an accident with horrible results.
But any other good news will be hard to come by. Medieval builders didn’t have access to strong fire-resistant building materials. In other words, there is a lot of old, large wood in that building that will joyfully burn until it is consumed. As I type, the roof is gone, and the stained glass is probably melted by now.
When we were in Europe in 2001, we saw many old churches and cathedrals that were burned by Henry VIII or bombed in the second world war, and all that remains are the stone walls and steeples. My worst fear is that this is what will be left of Notre Dame, and so far I haven’t seen any news to deny that.
This story scares the insides out of me.
Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources.
Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.
Both these countries are behaving like childish adolescents. The “mini-nukes” rationalization in this story is like an adolescent thinking that shooting someone is ok as long as you use a .22 instead of a 9mm. Once the guns come out – no matter what size – a terrible escalation is inevitable.
Breaking out the nukes can do nothing but make things worse, no matter how ‘mini’ they are. But both sides believe in Armageddon, so they don’t really care if they trigger the end of civilization as we know it.
It also bothers me that the rest of the world hasn’t risen up in outrage. It’s been invisible in the rest of the media. If this story is credible (and the London Times is pretty credible, in spite of Rupert Murdoch), then Israel is about to metaphorically throw a burning match into a warehouse full of high explosives.
Not to scream bloody murder amounts to complicity.
I am an atheist, but I grew up with enough Catholic indoctrination to recognize that there are both good people and bad people who call themselves “Christians”.
The “Good Christians” can be found feeding people, comforting the sick and their families, or working for peace and justice. They spend more time practicing than preaching, and they don’t impose their faith onto others.