Editorial
April 19, 2019
© Photo: Wikimedia

Macron’s cynical exploitation of the Notre-Dame tragedy may well backfire. The real opportunity in this crisis is for the French people to see it as a symbol of ruinous government policies.

As the old saying goes, don’t waste a crisis without finding an opportunity. French President Emmanuel Macron is cynically seeking to do just that in the aftermath of the horrific blaze at Notre-Dame Cathedral.

The 850-year-old Gothic cathedral on the banks of the Seine in the capital Paris was nearly completely destroyed by a fire which tore down its famous spire and gutted a large part of its interior, including priceless works of art. Parisians and the rest of the world watched in horror as France’s national treasure went up in smoke.

Macron made a nationwide televised speech aimed at consoling French citizens over the tragedy. Notably, he asked them to put aside political divisions and rally together to salvage the ruins of Notre-Dame in a project of national renewal. Macron promised to restore the landmark church within five years – a feat which most experts doubt as realistic. Instead, it is estimated, a proper restoration will take several more years and multi-billions of euro.

What the French leader is doing is cynically using a moment of national mourning to suppress the widespread popular opposition to his government and its pro-rich economic policies. For nearly five months now, the country has been in a virtual revolt against what many French citizens despise as “the president of the rich”.

Macron, a former investment banker, has soaked the super wealthy with billions of euro in tax cuts, while the majority of French workers and their families are struggling under relentless economic austerity, wage freezes and failing public services. After two years in Elysée Palace, this president is held in even more contempt by the public than his predecessors.

It is very plausible that the devastating blaze at Notre-Dame this week was caused by under-financed restoration work. The cathedral has been undergoing a revamp over the past two years, and several experts have speculated that the centuries-old wooden vaults may have caught fire from electrical repair equipment. In short, Macron’s policies of gutting public investment while boosting the wealth of billionaires and splurging €50 billion a year on militarism have manifested in the desecration of the country’s national treasure at Notre-Dame.

The person and people to blame for this obscenity is President Macron and his pro-rich policies leaving the nation in neglect and deprivation.

Notre-Dame Fire – An Opportunity From Crisis

Macron’s cynical exploitation of the Notre-Dame tragedy may well backfire. The real opportunity in this crisis is for the French people to see it as a symbol of ruinous government policies.

As the old saying goes, don’t waste a crisis without finding an opportunity. French President Emmanuel Macron is cynically seeking to do just that in the aftermath of the horrific blaze at Notre-Dame Cathedral.

The 850-year-old Gothic cathedral on the banks of the Seine in the capital Paris was nearly completely destroyed by a fire which tore down its famous spire and gutted a large part of its interior, including priceless works of art. Parisians and the rest of the world watched in horror as France’s national treasure went up in smoke.

Macron made a nationwide televised speech aimed at consoling French citizens over the tragedy. Notably, he asked them to put aside political divisions and rally together to salvage the ruins of Notre-Dame in a project of national renewal. Macron promised to restore the landmark church within five years – a feat which most experts doubt as realistic. Instead, it is estimated, a proper restoration will take several more years and multi-billions of euro.

What the French leader is doing is cynically using a moment of national mourning to suppress the widespread popular opposition to his government and its pro-rich economic policies. For nearly five months now, the country has been in a virtual revolt against what many French citizens despise as “the president of the rich”.

Macron, a former investment banker, has soaked the super wealthy with billions of euro in tax cuts, while the majority of French workers and their families are struggling under relentless economic austerity, wage freezes and failing public services. After two years in Elysée Palace, this president is held in even more contempt by the public than his predecessors.

It is very plausible that the devastating blaze at Notre-Dame this week was caused by under-financed restoration work. The cathedral has been undergoing a revamp over the past two years, and several experts have speculated that the centuries-old wooden vaults may have caught fire from electrical repair equipment. In short, Macron’s policies of gutting public investment while boosting the wealth of billionaires and splurging €50 billion a year on militarism have manifested in the desecration of the country’s national treasure at Notre-Dame.

The person and people to blame for this obscenity is President Macron and his pro-rich policies leaving the nation in neglect and deprivation.

Audaciously though, Macron is trying to turn the tables by presenting himself as the Consoler-in-Chief and “leading” the country to restore the cathedral as if that project is a unifying exercise under his “patronage”.

The reality is that the Notre-Dame calamity is a condemnation of Macron and previous French governments in their pursuit of enriching the super-rich, banks and corporations at the expense of ordinary citizens. And from pursuing imperialist wars across the Middle East and Africa.

Another edifying point is how France’s official mourning over Notre-Dame sits incongruously with the French state’s responsibility in wantonly destroying the heritage of many other nations. French governments, including Macron’s, have in recent years been complicit in the decimation of Libya, Iraq, and Syria through sponsoring covert and overt wars for regime change. NATO-backed jihadist terror groups ransacked Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra which dates back to the Roman Empire. The apparent concern from Macron over Notre-Dame doesn’t extend to the looting and violation imposed on other nations with the help of French militarism.

However, Macron’s cynical exploitation of the Notre-Dame tragedy may well backfire. The real opportunity in this crisis is for the French people to see it as a symbol of ruinous government policies. The nation should rally alright – to kick out Macron and his crony capitalism and imperialist warmongering.

Macron’s cynical exploitation of the Notre-Dame tragedy may well backfire. The real opportunity in this crisis is for the French people to see it as a symbol of ruinous government policies.

As the old saying goes, don’t waste a crisis without finding an opportunity. French President Emmanuel Macron is cynically seeking to do just that in the aftermath of the horrific blaze at Notre-Dame Cathedral.

The 850-year-old Gothic cathedral on the banks of the Seine in the capital Paris was nearly completely destroyed by a fire which tore down its famous spire and gutted a large part of its interior, including priceless works of art. Parisians and the rest of the world watched in horror as France’s national treasure went up in smoke.

Macron made a nationwide televised speech aimed at consoling French citizens over the tragedy. Notably, he asked them to put aside political divisions and rally together to salvage the ruins of Notre-Dame in a project of national renewal. Macron promised to restore the landmark church within five years – a feat which most experts doubt as realistic. Instead, it is estimated, a proper restoration will take several more years and multi-billions of euro.

What the French leader is doing is cynically using a moment of national mourning to suppress the widespread popular opposition to his government and its pro-rich economic policies. For nearly five months now, the country has been in a virtual revolt against what many French citizens despise as “the president of the rich”.

Macron, a former investment banker, has soaked the super wealthy with billions of euro in tax cuts, while the majority of French workers and their families are struggling under relentless economic austerity, wage freezes and failing public services. After two years in Elysée Palace, this president is held in even more contempt by the public than his predecessors.

It is very plausible that the devastating blaze at Notre-Dame this week was caused by under-financed restoration work. The cathedral has been undergoing a revamp over the past two years, and several experts have speculated that the centuries-old wooden vaults may have caught fire from electrical repair equipment. In short, Macron’s policies of gutting public investment while boosting the wealth of billionaires and splurging €50 billion a year on militarism have manifested in the desecration of the country’s national treasure at Notre-Dame.

The person and people to blame for this obscenity is President Macron and his pro-rich policies leaving the nation in neglect and deprivation.

Audaciously though, Macron is trying to turn the tables by presenting himself as the Consoler-in-Chief and “leading” the country to restore the cathedral as if that project is a unifying exercise under his “patronage”.

The reality is that the Notre-Dame calamity is a condemnation of Macron and previous French governments in their pursuit of enriching the super-rich, banks and corporations at the expense of ordinary citizens. And from pursuing imperialist wars across the Middle East and Africa.

Another edifying point is how France’s official mourning over Notre-Dame sits incongruously with the French state’s responsibility in wantonly destroying the heritage of many other nations. French governments, including Macron’s, have in recent years been complicit in the decimation of Libya, Iraq, and Syria through sponsoring covert and overt wars for regime change. NATO-backed jihadist terror groups ransacked Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra which dates back to the Roman Empire. The apparent concern from Macron over Notre-Dame doesn’t extend to the looting and violation imposed on other nations with the help of French militarism.

However, Macron’s cynical exploitation of the Notre-Dame tragedy may well backfire. The real opportunity in this crisis is for the French people to see it as a symbol of ruinous government policies. The nation should rally alright – to kick out Macron and his crony capitalism and imperialist warmongering.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

Audaciously though, Macron is trying to turn the tables by presenting himself as the Consoler-in-Chief and “leading” the country to restore the cathedral as if that project is a unifying exercise under his “patronage”.

The reality is that the Notre-Dame calamity is a condemnation of Macron and previous French governments in their pursuit of enriching the super-rich, banks and corporations at the expense of ordinary citizens. And from pursuing imperialist wars across the Middle East and Africa.

Another edifying point is how France’s official mourning over Notre-Dame sits incongruously with the French state’s responsibility in wantonly destroying the heritage of many other nations. French governments, including Macron’s, have in recent years been complicit in the decimation of Libya, Iraq, and Syria through sponsoring covert and overt wars for regime change. NATO-backed jihadist terror groups ransacked Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra which dates back to the Roman Empire. The apparent concern from Macron over Notre-Dame doesn’t extend to the looting and violation imposed on other nations with the help of French militarism.

However, Macron’s cynical exploitation of the Notre-Dame tragedy may well backfire. The real opportunity in this crisis is for the French people to see it as a symbol of ruinous government policies. The nation should rally alright – to kick out Macron and his crony capitalism and imperialist warmongering.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.