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Jens Christian Brandt: The past seems more fragile than ever

When the ash is out and the fire department rolled up its hoses, you can start to think about what we really witnessed that evening, the Notre-Dame cathedral burned.

For the big drama was perhaps not the spire which toppled, fall dance about the blackened towers or rökmolnet that rose over the river, and spread itself out over the skymningshimlen. Without the other, the sight of the grieving behind the barricade, radbanden and the tears, the hymns taken up and would persuade the fire; all of the powerlessness and despair that we ourselves experienced when the tragedy through the apps and screens were broadcast to the rest of the world.

And how we then leaned forward, suddenly serious, how we forgot the vardagscynismerna and tried to understand what we saw, the unimaginable, at the same time as we were groping after memories of how the light fell and it rained the last time we queued in front of the where the facade out on the almond-shaped island in the heart of Paris.

so aghast? Why tweeted a former Swedish foreign minister, ”Europe is crying”? Why defined Emmanuel Macron, the president of a country that is far ahead of the rest of christianity separated church and state, the burning of the cathedral as the ”epicenter”?

This was posted on the same account, as acts of terrorism, natural disasters and stormfloderna

While the cathedral still stood in the flames added ”Der Spiegel” released a article on the net, and the headline read: ”another trauma”. A formulation which is then not further explained in the article, because the explanations were unnecessary. They understood anyway. Even a trauma. It probably was technically negligence played no role; the desolation was recorded on the same account, as acts of terrorism, natural disasters and stormfloderna.

When you add them, all of these roses as the last decade added on a curb, all the light which has been lit for someone who does not come back, will be the total crushing. Each new smoke in a european city adds to the concern that we have now accustomed us to live with. And hand in hand with the feeling that perhaps living on borrowed time is the realization that our cities have become fragile.

hit many cities of the topographic phantom limb pain. In the East, blew up the DDR-regime, the imperial castle, which was considered to symbolize centuries of oppression. What was left was a void, a centrally located spöktomt where utkommenderade subjects stood and shivered under their banners, and then, as soon as may 1-the demonstration was over, dispersed like a startled duvflock.

to the West of the iron curtain, it was not ideology, but the wallet is decided which monuments would be built up again and what that would forever remain gravel. I remember in particular from the seventies Hamburg how strange it was that the shopping streets bordering on the church ruins. You walked out of the store, crossed the street and ended up in a place where time has stood still since 1943. Some murrester stood, stone slabs on the ground, red lines marked where the altar stood, otherwise, only the wind and the tomflaskorna.

When our habitual concern suddenly is threatened, we are reminded that this was the only reality, we had

A european experience for sure, these cityscapes are marked by that the zones of the hustle and bustle right next to the dead lenses. But how melancholy some of the wings was disrupted, they were not post-war with the assurance that the worst was behind us. The future could only be brighter. Today, the vitality slowly slipped over in the idea that the security that we grew up with is already history. A range of unpleasant days ahead of us.

suddenly is threatened, we are reminded that this was the only reality we had. It doesn't matter if you live near first church was built or a stone's throw from Mosebacke. The changes affect one, in the same way. Out in the country looking at the gnarled äppleträden, which fruit is long-just enough to musts, and wondering how many seasons the bees will return. And in the cities it happens, just as you sneddar over a square you passed a thousand times before, that even the most brutal betongarkitekturens worst excesses fills one with tenderness; a empathy for the actual space of the city.

In may, it is fifteen years since I moved to Stockholm. The first time, I remember above all the horrific moments in late January, and december, when the afternoon turned to evening, and the daughter went lap after lap along the ice skating rink at Medborgarplatsen.

I would have frozen to death there and then, a victim of the siberian gusts, if I do not each time been rescued by friendly strangers. There was a certain kind of older men who always used to come up and after a tentative introduction, ”Chilly today”, without mediation went on to tell a single story. To me, they must have identified as nonresidential, for what they wanted to talk about was always about the neighbourhood transformations. In particular frambesvor the South of the station area, the wild place it had been and so far-reaching.

where the impulse to inform a new arrival, during the visible city, there was another map, the whole block, perhaps, that now was gone but lived on in the memory, is also a part of the urban identity. Cities change constantly, and as you age occurs inevitably disparities, our internal street system differs from the stadsplanerarnas, our compasses pointing towards the places younger people can't see.

Maybe it is ourselves we discover when we walk under the arches of Notre-Dame,

The wedges of the present folktribuner than trying to drive in between the country and the city, between the riders and elsparkcyklar, are these experiences common. You don't have to travel further than to The villages to experience the same testimony of all who have disappeared. People stop at the mailbox and pointing out everything that no longer exists, was the bakery low and the village school, where the shoemaker was, and to the fewer rucklet gone in the fork until very recently was the local grocer.

us places where we were. And living a double life where we are moving as much in the past as in the present. Perhaps it was always so. But today, when so much demands our attention, the past can seem more fragile than before, a mirage that appears only sometimes and that we miss when it was gone for a long time. And then we pack the bags and depart to places like Rome and Paris, the eternal cities, where we believe that history will receive us with outstretched arms.

Perhaps it is ourselves we discover when we walk under the arches of Notre-Dame. And therefore, they need to be rescued from the eldhavet, Christ's crown of thorns, the nails from the cross, the relics of the saint whose name we have forgotten but which affect us in the moment they threaten to disappear.

Read more articles by Jens Christian Brandt here.

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