At a time when an unimaginable fire has left one of humanity's most famous and most beautiful buildings partly in ruins, everybody around the world would like to join together in unity with the French, while nobody really is yearning for the opportunity to descend into controversy.
That is why on the day that the Notre Dame cathedral caught fire, I wrote that now is not the time to go into (old) polemics, but at the same time, I couldn't refrain from calling out the wife of the elderly French couple interviewed that very night on TF1 (no, t'wasn't Ilhan Omar) who said that when the church's spire collapsed, it reminded her of New York in 2001 when the Twin Towers caved in. (Merci for the link, Instapundit.)
This idea is getting traction — probably because it is so simplistic — and you can perhaps get an idea of the degree to which the French and the Europeans hold dear the lives of Americans and capitalists (or lives in general — like all leftists?) when one Frenchman after the other compares the destruction of the roof of a cathedral — granted, one of the two or three most famous on the planet, as well as a symbol of Paris and France — with the attacks on September 11 2001.
Why not with Pearl Harbor, while you're at it?
Teeny-tiny reminder: in the space of less than two hours (far less than the church's roof was in flames), the 9-11 attacks on New York and DC led to the deaths of 3,000 people.
Here are just two examples, both from a single French weekly: The Notre Dame disaster, "It's a bit our September 11" (« C’est un peu notre 11 Septembre »), Le Point's Jérôme Cordelier was told by Rémi Brague, a philosopher, historian, and medievalist.
As the weekly's Louis Chahuneau noted that the Gothic cathedral is a miraculous survivor of history (« miraculée » de l'histoire) and that it has become a symbol for the French, he was given a slightly different wording by another medievalist, Joëlle Alazard: "It's a kind of heritage 911" (« C'est une sorte de 11 Septembre patrimonial »).
It looks like deep down, people know that they cannot deny the lack of proportion between the events, so they have the (weaselly?) presence of mind (la présence d'esprit) to resort to "kinda/sorta" wordings…
Actually, it turns out that — in response to this post's heading — no, the Notre Dame fire may not have been a tragedy (at least not one as devastating as previously feared). Indeed, during a concert only five days after the apocalyptic images of destruction on our screens, there is an entirely new and unforeseen development: according to the French government, "the rescue of Notre Dame is almost complete" (« Notre-Dame est quasi sauvée »)! As the culture minister (Franck Riester) himself says, this is "tremendous good news" (« c'est une formidable nouvelle ») — no disagreements there — although it does tend to make the 9-11 comparisons even more frivolous, shallow, and jarring.
Related: Le Monde's front-page cartoon comparing France's 2002 election to 9-11, after Jean-Marie Le Pen managed to become one of the finalists in the first round (with the twin towers representing the ballot's two rounds while the Front National leader is depicted as a destructive airplane aiming for both)Rémi Brague : La même chose que tout le monde, j’imagine, une réaction très banale : surprise, stupeur, inquiétude, chagrin. Puis admiration pour le courage des pompiers. C’est un peu notre 11 Septembre.
In the previous post's comments, Terrekain says that he