Notre Dame and Unpleasant Realities

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Notre Dame and Unpleasant Realities

There were a lot of things said on twit­ter Mon­day con­cern­ing Notre Dame, the most pro­found came from James Lileks


Those words are not only mem­o­rable and true but you would be hard pressed to find some­one who would dis­agree with it. There were of course other things said that day that were true, but that many would like to for­get.

I sus­pect that the most com­mon prayer being said in the sec­u­lar world right now is: “Please make the #NotreDame­Fire be an acci­dent & not a ter­ror attack”

You see if the Notre Dame fire is an acci­dent, then those who have been ignor­ing the torch­ing and des­e­cra­tion of Catholic Churches all over France can con­tinue to ignore them safe in the knowl­edge that they will not have to acknowl­edge a real­ity they wish to deny such as the fact that Notre Dame has been a tar­get of jihadists for a long time.

ONE OF THREE women allegedly involved in a foiled plot in 2016 to blow up a car packed with gas can­is­ters near the Notre Dame cathe­dral in Paris was today sen­tenced to eight years in prison by a French court for ear­lier offences.

But if the Notre Dame fire is in fact a ter­ror attack then the dif­fi­cult ques­tion of “fight” or “sub­mit” comes to the forefront.

Deleted tweets not with­stand­ing as of this writ­ing we don’t know the ori­gin of the fire but let me make a sim­ple state­ment of fact.

If the Notre Dame fire is a jihadist attack, no amount denial or dis­be­lief will make it not, con­trari­wise, if the Notre Dame fire was an acci­dent or a non-​jihadist act of terror/​arson no amount of denial or dis­be­lief will make it one.

I sus­pect the inves­ti­ga­tion of the fire will take place under a micro­scope and we would all be well advised to wait this inves­ti­ga­tion to be fin­ished before pass­ing any judge­ment, but I’d like to make a corol­lary to the state­ment above.

The result of the inves­ti­ga­tion of the Notre Dame fire will not change the real­ity of the con­tin­ued van­dal­ism of Catholic places of Wor­ship in France.

That is some­thing that needs to be addressed either way, whether the French author­i­ties will be com­pelled to do so that’s another matter.

Oh one thing, there is a sec­ond bit of a debate whether Mus­lims are cel­e­brat­ing the fire at Notre Dame or not. In one respect it’s a silly ques­tion. Given the num­ber of Mus­lims in the world in gen­eral and in France in par­tic­u­lar it would be amaz­ing if you couldn’t find some cheer­ing this (if you want to under­standy why see DaTechGuy’s laws of crazy uncles). The actual rel­e­vant ques­tion if you want to know how Islam see the burn­ing of Notre Dame is this:

Are a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of Mus­lims either cheer­ing the event or por­tray­ing it as a sign that Islam will con­quer the west?

That ques­tion can be answered if one takes a look at what is being said in Arab lan­guage news­pa­pers, broad­casts in Ara­bic and social media accounts and see how peo­ple whose native lan­guage is Ara­bic are reacting.

That data is avail­able if news orga­ni­za­tions, gov­ern­ments and aca­d­e­mics want to find it. That leads to another sig­nif­i­cant question:

Do the peo­ple with the required skill set and the time to do this research (Gov­ern­ments, Aca­d­e­mics and Media) want to find out the answer to that ques­tion, or will it be left to indi­vid­u­als who can be dis­counted if the answers they pro­duce prove inconvenient?

I sus­pect the answer is the lat­ter because it is much eas­ier to ignore incon­ve­nient data if you don’t have it.

Update: James Lileks had a great follow-​up piece on Notre Dame here



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There were a lot of things said on twitter Monday concerning Notre Dame, the most profound came from James Lileks

Those words are not only memorable and true but you would be hard pressed to find someone who would disagree with it. There were of course other things said that day that were true, but that many would like to forget.

I suspect that the most common prayer being said in the secular world right now is: “Please make the #NotreDameFire be an accident & not a terror attack”

You see if the Notre Dame fire is an accident, then those who have been ignoring the torching and desecration of Catholic Churches all over France can continue to ignore them safe in the knowledge that they will not have to acknowledge a reality they wish to deny such as the fact that Notre Dame has been a target of jihadists for a long time.

ONE OF THREE women allegedly involved in a foiled plot in 2016 to blow up a car packed with gas canisters near the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was today sentenced to eight years in prison by a French court for earlier offences.

But if the Notre Dame fire is in fact a terror attack then the difficult question of “fight” or “submit” comes to the forefront.

Deleted tweets not withstanding as of this writing we don’t know the origin of the fire but let me make a simple statement of fact.

If the Notre Dame fire is a jihadist attack, no amount denial or disbelief will make it not, contrariwise, if the Notre Dame fire was an accident or a non-jihadist act of terror/arson no amount of denial or disbelief will make it one.

I suspect the investigation of the fire will take place under a microscope and we would all be well advised to wait this investigation to be finished before passing any judgement, but I’d like to make a corollary to the statement above.

The result of the investigation of the Notre Dame fire will not change the reality of the continued vandalism of Catholic places of Worship in France.

That is something that needs to be addressed either way, whether the French authorities will be compelled to do so that’s another matter.

Oh one thing, there is a second bit of a debate whether Muslims are celebrating the fire at Notre Dame or not. In one respect it’s a silly question. Given the number of Muslims in the world in general and in France in particular it would be amazing if you couldn’t find some cheering this (if you want to understandy why see DaTechGuy’s laws of crazy uncles). The actual relevant question if you want to know how Islam see the burning of Notre Dame is this:

Are a significant number of Muslims either cheering the event or portraying it as a sign that Islam will conquer the west?

That question can be answered if one takes a look at what is being said in Arab language newspapers, broadcasts in Arabic and social media accounts and see how people whose native language is Arabic are reacting.

That data is available if news organizations, governments and academics want to find it. That leads to another significant question:

Do the people with the required skill set and the time to do this research (Governments, Academics and Media) want to find out the answer to that question, or will it be left to individuals who can be discounted if the answers they produce prove inconvenient?

I suspect the answer is the latter because it is much easier to ignore inconvenient data if you don’t have it.

Update: James Lileks had a great follow-up piece on Notre Dame here


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Of course one time Tip jar hits and always welcome too.
Either way it’s most appreciated.