Pam Barker | Director of TLB Europe Reloaded Project
Below we’ve republished Pepe Escobar‘s piece for the Saker blog titled Bamiyan, Babylon, Palmyra, Notre-Dame, which arrives at the conclusion that Macron has basically privatised the cathedral.
But first, some summary of the last three days.
Right off the bat, the fire at Notre Dame during the run-up to Easter has accomplished two things that are useful to the government. Cui bono?
Macron got a plausible reason to delay his highly-anticipated speech, which was due that evening at the end of an already-extended Great Debate period of several weeks (see image). Citizens’ groups around the country had been given an opportunity to voice their concerns in often-televised forums as a response to the relentless outpouring of grievances by the Gilets Jaunes since November of last year. So Macron was expected to deliver a big speech to the nation offering some new solutions.
Second, within a 24 hour period, several big corporations, plus some rich individual donors and smaller companies, got to show how deep their pockets were by offering large sums of money for the rebuilding of the cathedral: Pinault family – 100 million euros; Arnault family (LVMH) – 200 million; Bettencourt (l’Oréal) – 200; Total petrol company – 100; sundry other French; and Apple – as yet unspecified. A political makeover for the corporate class? Which has been getting big – and highly unpopular – tax breaks from the Macron government. Or an opportunity for billionaire ownership of Notre Dame, as Escobar suspects below.
The political class had also promised to suspend their campaigning for the upcoming European elections for at least a 24 hour period.
Macron then gave his speech 24 hours later on Tuesday night. The delay had offered his team the chance to field some of his proposals via MSM leaks during the day and get feedback, and to offer a radically altered speech shaped by the alarming events of the previous evening. And changed it was. Five minutes only of exceptionally emotional appeal with appropriate facial expressions and hand gestures, a message of social cohesion – of coming together to rebuild and overcome, that now wasn’t the time to deal with the citizens’ issues arising from the Debate, and a promise to rebuild Notre Dame within five years (before the Olympics are due). Period. An effective, smarmy way to say ‘shut up’ to anybody wanting to protest and criticise from the Gilets Jaunes camp, and a way of looking like a leader when he would otherwise be up to his neck in problems, as well as a further backlash from the Gilets Jaunes for inadequate solutions. None of his quick fixes have worked so far, so why now? His avoidance of the issues related to the Gilets Jaunes was not lost on members of their groups on Facebook.
“The fire of Notre Dame reminds us that our history never stops” he said. There’s a certain irony in globalist Macron’s coming to the defence of a monument iconic to French culture and Christian civilisation given what he controversially said back in 2017, that France doesn’t have a culture, only a culture of diversity. Sure.
Ordinary French are usually quick off the mark to suspect motives. And a sudden outpouring of billionaire beneficence has given rise to immense cynicism now that France (and many countries under the neoliberal, globalist yoke) has a lot of poor people. Ah, so there IS money in France! Just not for us.
This RT piece also mentions a French law of 2003 under which corporations that spend on ‘culture’ can get at least a 60% tax deduction on their investment: Depuis une loi de 2003, les entreprises qui investissent dans la culture peuvent déduire 60% de leurs dépenses en faveur du mécénat (66% de réduction d’impôt sur le revenu pour les particuliers).
We also offer Stefan Molyneux’s brief take on his reasonable suspicion as to why Notre Dame most likely is a case of arson.
Bamiyan, Babylon, Palmyra, Notre-Dame
The Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed by an intolerant sect pretending to follow Islam. Buddhism all across Asia grieved. The West hardly paid attention.
The remaining ruins of Babylon, and the attached museum, were occupied, plundered and vandalized by a US Marine base during Shock and Awe in 2003. The West paid no attention.
Vast tracts of Palmyra – a legendary Silk Road oasis – were destroyed by another intolerant sect pretending to follow Islam with their backs covered by layers of Western “intelligence”. The West paid no attention.
Scores of Catholic and Orthodox churches in Syria were burnt to the ground by the same intolerant sect pretending to follow Islam with their backs sponsored and weaponized, among others, by the US, Britain and France. The West paid no attention whatsoever.
Notre-Dame, which in many ways can be construed as the Matrix of the West, is partially consumed by a theoretically blind fire.
Especially the roof: hundreds of oak beams, some dating back to the 13th century. Metaphorically, this could be interpreted as the burning of the roof over the West’s collective heads.
Bad karma? Finally?
Now back to the nitty-gritty.
Notre-Dame belongs to the French state, which had been paying little to no attention to a gothic jewel that traversed eight centuries.
Fragments of arcades, chimeras, reliefs, gargoyles were always falling to the ground and kept in an improvised deposit in the back of the cathedral.
Only last year Notre-Dame got a check for 2 million euros to restore the spire – which burned to the ground yesterday.
To restore the whole cathedral would have cost 150 million euros, according to the top world expert on Notre-Dame, who happens to be an American, Andrew Tallon.
Recently, the custodians of the cathedral and the French state were actually at war.
The French state was making at least 4 million euros a year, charging tourists to enter the Twin (Bell) Towers but putting back only 2 million euros for the maintenance of Notre-Dame.
The rector of Notre-Dame refused to charge for a ticket to enter the cathedral – as it happens, for example, at the Duomo in Milan.
Notre-Dame basically survives on donations – which pay the salaries of only 70 employees who need not only to supervise the masses of tourists but also to organize eight masses a day.
The French state’s proposal to minimize the ordeal: organize a beneficent lottery. That is, privatize what is a state commitment and obligation.
So yes: Sarkozy and Macron, their whole administrations, are directly and indirectly responsible for the fire.
Now comes the Notre-Dame of Billionaires.
Pinault (Gucci, St. Laurent) pledged 100 million euros from his personal fortune for the restoration. Arnault (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) doubled down, pledging 200 million euros.
So why not privatize this damn fine piece of real estate – disaster capitalism-style? Welcome to Notre-Dame luxury condo, hotel and attached mall.