The foundation stone for this cathedral was laid by the pope in the year 1163, and it took more than a hundred years to build.
The cathedral has been renovated and rebuilt countless times since its original construction; the enormous spire that fell so tragically yesterday was "only" several hundred years old; the mighty oak roof was original. Those oak trees would have been 300 or 400 years old when they were harvested to build that roof — an estimated 12,000 of them, a whole forest of trees that grew a thousand years ago...
It's staggering to contemplate.
Here’s what Bernard-Henri Levy, the French author, said yesterday:
"Notre Dame de Paris is really one of the beating hearts of the French civilization. How can you rebuild eight or nine centuries of history? How can you rebuild the tears, the whispers and the memories of a whole country and of the whole civilization?”
(I think they will rebuild. So far, several French billionaires have stepped forward with pledges of hundreds of millions of dollars. And thankfully the stone walls seem to be sturdy; and other parts of the church down below — the main blaze was that oak roof, as it turns out.)
But Levy's comments, echoed by so many others, explain why, although there was no-one killed yesterday — one firefighter was injured — it had the shocking, gutting feeling of a sort of 9/11.
Which is why it was no surprise, to those of us who follow such things, that the Arabic language chat by French Muslims was jubilant, as I'll show.
They know there’s a meaning there.
Just two months ago, another mighty French church, St. Sulpice, was burnt, too. Police say that was deliberately set.
It’s true, fires can happen by accident. Most fires are. Some are arson of the mere criminal variety. But it is also a tool of terrorism.
In 2016, there was an ISIS plot to attack the Notre Dame that was foiled; in fact, a terrorist connected to that plot was sentenced just weeks ago...
Immediate talking points on TV were that this was a construction accident, not arson, certainly not terrorism. But how could that possibly be determined before the fire was even put out? Contrary reports say there was no construction going on at the cathedral at that time.
I regret that we will likely never know all the facts. We have sent Jack Buckby and Martina Markota to Paris to see what they can find. They landed this morning; you can see their videos at RebelParis.com — and you can chip in there to the cost of their economy-fare travel, if you like.
I do know that this has caused a hole in the heart of France.
It is a symbol of the decay of the west; how the west is falling; how the west’s enemies are jubilant; how a coalition of militant progressives, who hate the church from the left, are allied with soft jihadists.
It’s a sad day, and you don’t have to be French, or a Catholic to feel it...