“What was the aim of the construction of the Great Pyramid-none! In essence, it was a structure without any meaning… This ‘urge’ to use technology to create huge monumental structures, which one could call the ‘pyramid syndrome, continued to prevail in the centuries that followed the building of the Great Pyramid and still prevails to this day.” (Commentary Sept. 30,’01)
When I wrote the above cited passage, in 1998, I did not know that the most technologically advanced, the most powerful (and the most murderous) institution on earth, the US Department of Defense (DoD), had come to the same conclusion!
In a very cleverly designed poster, sponsored by the DoD (Directive 5000.57) bearing the title “Program Management and the Great Pyramid” one finds “A fictional account of why the Great Pyramid was built-with drawings to show its design evolution”.
Drawing No. 1 shows a one-story square structure with this text under it: “Pharaoh requests a small square building of wood to sit on, with lots of storage inside, for star-gazing in the desert.”
Drawing No. 4 shows a pentagonal building with this text under it: “His (Pharaoh’s) military leaders design a stone building with 5 sides so that it can be more easily defended in case of invaders.” (Obviously, the poster was designed before 9/11.)
Finally, the story ends with drawing No. 10 with the following text under it: “After major coordination and much aggravation, pharaoh builds a pyramid with limited storage and no platform for star-gazing. To this day, we are not sure why the Pyramids were really built.”
Unfortunately, many people do not agree with this conclusion. Take Gustave Eiffel, the engineer that designed the Eiffel tower, who said: “There is an attractive element in the colossal… [What] visitor is insensitive before [the Pyramids]?” Or, listen to what William Lim, a Hong Kong architect involved in skyscraper design, who says: “It’s an ego issue and a status thing. High-rises are the Pyramids of our time.”
So, if the World Trade Center twin towers, were as important as the Great Pyramid, it is only “natural” (and patriotic) that they be rebuilt in their original form and height.
Let us listen to what the population of the New York area say about this: “‘Please do not diminish the memory of all the people who died there by building 50-, 60-, or 70- story mediocre buildings on the site,’ said Jonathan Hakala, a Hoboken, N.J., resident who worked on the 77th floor of 1 World Trade Center, at a public hearing sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Citing a Quinnipiac University poll in February showing that three out of four New Yorkers favored rebuilding on the site, Mr. Hakala said, “If you’re going to put buildings on that site, build one of the seven modern wonders of the world, and please give us a skyline that will once again cause our spirits to SOAR.’ ” (Edward Wyatt, New York Times, May,26, ’02. Emphasis added.)
It is not clear what Mr. Hakala means by the word “soar”. It might be that he tacitly means that the US should soar “ueber alles”, preferably soaring in killer F-16, or Apache copters, etc over helpless peoples, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Kosovo, in Palestine (through its Israeli proxy), etc.
[Note: Does the victim of violence by the powerful or by some other brutal agent has the right to demand (or seek) moral respect or material rewards for the pain or injury suffered? Using a more colloquial expression, does the victim have the right to"cash in on" the pain suffered? Mr. Hakala has the right to express his opinion, but does Mr. Hakala's opinion have more weight because he has being a victim of the 9/11 violence?
Up to quite a few years ago, I thought that people who had suffered for a noble cause ( Nazi Resistance fighters, freedom fighters, etc) deserved unconditional respect and rewards. However, life itself pushed me to reassess the situation more rationally.
Take the following cases: 1. Suppose that two anti-Nazi Resistance fighters jointly cause harm to the Nazis, are arrested, tortured, etc. Subsequently, in peace time, one of them turns himself into a "heroic star" , etc (i.e. he cashes in on his heroism), the other one chooses to remain all his life in obscurity and out of the limelight. Are both men worthy of equal respect?
Or 2., take the more recent Greek case: Some of the young students that resisted the 1967 (US supported ) military dictatorship have turned into fascistoid members of a (US controlled) Greek government.
Furthermore, what happens if the victim became a victim (or a hero) by chance and not by a worthy act? Why did the firemen and the policemen of New York become victims of the violence of 9/11? Because of : a) The monstrous height of the skyscrapers (the Pyramids of our time), b) The inexplicable entering by them into the buildings (Do people enter buildings after an earthquake? And 9/11 had the characteristics of an earthquake: horizontal forces during impact, oscillations following the impact, horizontal forces due to deformations of structural members because of deferential absorption of heat, etc).
So, one does not have to accept Mr. Hakala's ideas about "soaring spirits", because he has become a victim by chance. End of Note.]
Back to the views of the population of New York:
“‘I think some people want to make a political statement, to say that the terrorists didn’t win… They see the towers as a symbol of the STRENGTH of America, and they want them back’ ” (Wyatt). Again, what, my engineering colleague Frank Lombardi chief engineer of the Port Authority, means by “strength” is not clear. Does he mean the strength of America to terrorize the peoples of the world (through Rumsfeld) and the population of the US (through Ashcroft)?
Yet, Lombardi thinks that “the interest in rebuilding the twin towers (is) based more on emotion than on practicality, but he goes along with the emotion by saying that “If the resources are there , I don’t see a problem.”
“Michael Whiteman, a New York restaurant consultant who helped create the original Windows on the World atop the World Trade Center… and helped open … the world’s second highest restaurant, on floors 68 to 72 of a Singapore hotel (after 9/11)”, exclaimed, ” ‘A finger in your eye, Osama!’… To aim for the sky shows the world that there is something more powerful than hate. And that is, of course, money.” (Newsweek, May 20, ’02).
But, as for all the peoples of the world, so too for the population of New York there is hope! “Not all speakers (at the Development Corporation public hearing, cited above) addressed the idea of rebuilding the towers… Others spoke of the need for more support by the development corporation of small businesses and low-income workers, or of rebuilding the transportation system that is essential to Lower Manhattan.” (Wyatt)
But leaving the world of “emotion”, “soaring spirits”, and the “finger in Osama’s eye” we should seek to enter the more serious world of technology and rationality. US engineers (those associated with the US economic elites) seek to “restore public confidence in tall buildings.”
I do not think they will succeed. The (technical) monstrosity of the tall buildings is by now apparent to the ordinary people. Also, the (tragically) important problem of fire in tall buildings little by little leaks out to public view. Since the late 60s and the early 70s, after some fires in tall buildings, civil engineers started to become conscious of the big problem of fire in such structures. After much discussion, publication of reports of relevant committees, etc today the (real) conclusion is that THERE IS NO (economic) SOLUTION to the problem of fire in tall buildings.
The people of New York, as all humans, wish to live in joy and not in hate and in blood as do the convoluted humans that serve the barbaric institutions of the economic-military elites of the West, who cause the 9/11s to happen. In reality, the New Yorkers do not even wish to have a monument at the site of the towers, as some of them say they do not wish ” to live close to a cemetery.”
Dionysus was the son of Zeus, the supreme God, and the daughter of Cadmus (mortal king of Thebes, a small town about 100 miles north of Athens). Hera, Zeus’s divine (and legal) wife, as expected, was furiously jealous. Zeus saved his son from Hera’s fury by sewing him up in his thigh keeping him there until he reached maturity, so that Dionysus was twice born. [Note: All religions need Public Relations tricks to impress their flocks. So, the Zeus-Dionysus story is no more improbable, though more "complex" than the birth of Christ, the son of another God (colleague of Zeus), by the Virgin Mary.]
According to western scholarship Dionysus represents the “sap, juice or lifeblood elements in nature.” Something that seems to be also a close (cultural) representation of the people of New York. It is important to note that the above qualities of Dionysus, “quickly won converts among women” as opposed to “the Athenian males that were punished with impotence for dishonoring the Dionysus cult.” There is no danger that male New Yorkers could suffer this kind of punishment.
The theater of Dionysus in Athens, on the south side of the Acropolis, visited by millions of Americans during the last 50 years, is the prototype of classical Greek theaters and is considered the BIRTHPLACE of public drama (which in our time devolved into Hollywood). This is where the plays of Sophocles, Aeschylus, and other Greek dramatists were performed. It also replaced the Pnyx (see Commentary of 11/07/99) as the meeting place of the POPULAR ASSEMBLY!
Now, if New York is a “Dionysian” city, it is only proper that the site where the twin towers stood should be the place to build a new Dionysus Theater, where the music played could be that of Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Friedrich Handel and the folk music of Ireland, the Andes, Crete, Russia, Israel, Palestine, Italy, Serbia, France, Scotland and so on. But most importantly it could be “a meeting place for a popular assembly”, not only for the people of New York and America, but also for all the peoples of the world.
A place of FREEDOM not of US control as in the UN, on the other side of Manhattan. This could also be a tribute to the people that were murdered in the towers through the hate generated by the evil elite of the world.
Ms. Anita F. Contini, a Merrill Lynch executive (!!!), seems to be the person to be chosen to oversee the 9/11 memorial effort. Imagine a white marble Dionysus Theater in Manhattan and Noam Chomsky delivering the inauguration speech analyzing the causes for 9/11! Certainly, Ms. Contini is endowed with imagination as all humans are.
P.S. There is plenty of white marble (the same one that the Parthenon was built of) in Penteli mountain, about 3 miles away from where I live. The Greek people can offer that to the American people as a gift for the creation of a “world assembly.”