About three weeks ago, I was sitting on the stairway in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, listening to the various tour guides discussing a curious ladder on the second story window on the right. It was different every time, but they agreed on one thing, The ladder had been there for about two and a half centuries and it remains to this day because the clerics who run the place hate each other almost as much as ISIL/Daesh hates them.
Nobody, it seems, knows exactly who put the ladder there and who has the right to move it. So, this “ladder of the status quo” remains, a symbol of Christian hate for all to see, which brings us to the good news from there in ages (and no, the ladder isn’t being removed)
The tiny temple over Jesus’ tomb, called the Aedicule, allegedly is older than Islam. Millions of pilgrims have lined up to take a look inside over the centuries, and since Israel took over millions more have done so. Still the clerics had argued and debated which of them owns the thing, and who has a right to whatever, and the Aedicule has been falling apart since before the Ottomans got there in the 16th century.
This has put thousands of tourists in danger, which is why the Israeli Antiquties authority had repeatedly warned that if something isn’t done, and soon, they would shut the church down and do it themselves.
On Feb. 17, 2015, the Jerusalem police threw out the monks who guard the place and preventing hundreds of pilgrims from entering, telling them that UNESCO or no UNESCO, they would fix the thing themselves, unless something was actually done.
On November of that year, the UN General Assembly condemned the action: Amazing, huh?
Did the UN actually WANT the Aedicule to collapse? Did the Palestinian Authority, on whose behalf the condemnation was passed, actually WANT the Aedicule to collapse?
Of course, not, this was just an exercise in sleep voting.
About a year and a half later, monks actually decided to actually repair the damn thing. Funding has come in from all over the world, and Some time this week, the iron brace that was but there by the British in 1947 will be taken down, and the extensive renovations will begin.
…and oh yeah. There’s a chance that notorious ladder isn’t original. There have been reports that it was removed and replaced several times over the years, most recently in 2009. But who knows….