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Ode to our lady of Europe

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BERLIN - As I write this from Berlin, I am prostrate before the images of fire, devastation and ash engulfing Notre Dame de Paris — Our Lady of Paris. She is a treasure of civilization, both for those who believe in heaven and for those who do not. She represents the Europe of beauty, of holy hopes, of greatness and gentility. Like you, like everyone, I am heartbroken.

The tragedy invokes a slew of memories. Victor Hugo’s immortalization of the cathedral in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” of course, comes to mind. So, too, does the verse of Louis Aragon:

“Nothing is as strong, not fire, not lightning,

As my Paris defying danger

Nothing is as beautiful as this Paris of mine.”

One also recalls an opening line from Baudelaire: “I am beautiful, O mortals, like a dream in stone.” It was not written about Notre Dame, but it certainly could have been.

The memories extend well beyond the written word. The cathedral itself has borne witness to centuries of French history, including episodes........

© The Japan Times