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Can A New Wall Shield The Eiffel Tower From Terror?

Rendering of the Eiffel Tower's glass wall project
Rendering of the Eiffel Tower's glass wall project


The blueprints of the Middle Ages are back. Even as metal and glass have long since replaced stone and mortar, there is an unmistakable parallel to be drawn between medieval fortifications and the walls rising in all corners of the world: from the U.S.-Mexico border to Hungary, from São Paulo to the West Bank.

There's one more in Paris, as incongruous as it is emblematic, to be added to this growing list. By next summer's Bastille Day, the Eiffel Tower, the most-visited paid monument in the world, will be surrounded by a three-meter-high bulletproof glass wall. Construction work begins today on what Le Figaro reports is a 25-million-euro ($30 million) project.

The wall's professed purpose, as for virtually any other such construction in the past and present, is protection. In this case, to protect the site and its annual flow of six million visitors from a very real danger that the French capital knows only too well: potential terrorist attacks. The monument is one of the world's singular symbols of Western progress, and as such, it has long been figuring prominently on ISIS" list of targets.

Though "necessary, these measures don't remove the risk of an elaborate attack."

According to Le Figaro, the glass wall will be erected on the northern and southern sides of the monument, along the main avenues. Meanwhile, its gardens on the western and eastern sides will get ornate fencing — in Eiffel-Tower-like fashion — to replace the unappealing metal barriers that have been surrounding the site for many months now, as France remains on high alert after two major attacks in Paris and one in the southern city of Nice over the past two years.

Quoted in the Le Figaro"s article, a former member of France's National Gendarmerie Intervention Group already warns that though "necessary, these measures don't remove the risk of an elaborate attack."

Even with architecture becoming an anti-terror weapon, the threat remains and the potential downside of such drastic measures is to create a false sense of security. After all, the Middle Ages taught us that even the strongest walls have their weaknesses — and after Sept. 11, no one can look at towers quite the same way.

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Shame On The García Márquez Heirs — Cashing In On The "Scraps" Of A Legend

A decision to publish a sketchy manuscript as a posthumous novel by the late Gabriel García Márquez would have horrified Colombia's Nobel laureate, given his painstaking devotion to the precision of the written word.

Photo of a window with a sticker of the face of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with butterfly notes at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Poster of Gabriel Garcia Marquez at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Juan David Torres Duarte


BOGOTÁ — When a writer dies, there are several ways of administering the literary estate, depending on the ambitions of the heirs. One is to exercise a millimetric check on any use or edition of the author's works, in the manner of James Joyce's nephew, Stephen, who inherited his literary rights. He refused to let even academic papers quote from Joyce's landmark novel, Ulysses.

Or, you continue to publish the works, making small additions to their corpus, as with Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett and Clarice Lispector, or none at all, which will probably happen with Milan Kundera and Cormac McCarthy.

Another way is to seek out every scrap of paper the author left and every little word that was jotted down — on a piece of cloth, say — and drip-feed them to publishers every two to three years with great pomp and publicity, to revive the writer's renown.

This has happened with the Argentine Julio Cortázar (who seems to have sold more books dead than alive), the French author Albert Camus (now with 200 volumes of personal and unfinished works) and with the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The latter's posthumous oeuvre is so abundant I am starting to wonder if his heirs haven't hired a ghost writer — typing and smoking away in some bedsit in Barcelona — to churn out "newly discovered" works.

Which group, I wonder, will our late, great novelist Gabriel García Márquez fit into?

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