Some thoughts on 9/11 ten years on

9/11. Is there any other one-off event that is known throughout the western world by its date?

Of course, if it had happened anywhere else, it would have been called 11/9.

But it didn’t happen anywhere else. Only the USA is big, brave, brash, bold and independent enough that it would buck the trend and stick with its own measurements and date format — perhaps the same qualities that have also made it such a symbol of freedom, democracy, enterprise and globalisation (and imperialism?) that in turn made it such a target for the terrorists.

Other places, other cities and countries have been attacked since by terrorists, but none with such force. Nor has any other single attack any incurred such a response.

I was watching a programme on SBS2 the other night on the World Trade Center: the building of it, the Frenchman who walked between the towers on a rope, its effect on the city, and its eventual destruction. The footage of the day replayed now is as horrific as it was when it happened.

A friend of a friend, who I don’t know, lost a sister in the WTC. I hope all those directly touched by this anniversary, and its aftermath, are doing okay this week.

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10 Replies to “Some thoughts on 9/11 ten years on”

  1. One of the substitute teachers at my old secondary school, who only taught me for one lesson, Paul Gyulavary, whom many would have seen on Nine News tonight, lost his twin brother Peter in the WTC, one of the two Victorians who died in the attacks.
    My prayers and thoughts to all those who lost loved ones that horrible day- I hope we never forget.

  2. Its a shame that no documentaries I have seen about the WTC discuss one of the most amazing and ironic factors about the building – That its architecture and design were modeled on the Grand Mosque of Makkah (Mecca).

    Its a point that really does stand out and should make people think twice about the history of the building and its legacy, as well as really silencing any critics of the ‘Ground Zero mosque’, since the WTC itself was modeled on the world’s most famous mosque!

    http://www.aolnews.com/2010/08/20/world-trade-center-was-influenced-by-islamic-architecture/
    http://www.slate.com/id/2060207/

    10 years on there are so many things to ask about the legacy of 9/11, the least we should hope for though is to be able to reevaluate what it meant starting with the building itself and its Islamic-inspired design. Let’s not even get started though on whether or not it was hit because of ‘freedom, democracy or imperialism’ as the post puts forward ;)

  3. What aspect of its architecture and design were modelled on the great mosque of Makkah ?

    Its not “a shame there are no documentaries” about this at all, because it is an entirely spurious idea.

  4. I saw an interesting doco, probly on SBS about the design and building of the towers; apparently they were not very popular and caused a lot of controversy when they were built. They caused a glut in office space and had a detrimental effect on property values in NYC for many years.

    The gist of the doco was that the towers were poorly designed and much too large, but I guess in the U.S biggest is best.

    Certainly 9/11 was a terrible tragedy with many lessons to be learnt.

  5. @ Philip – Paul Gyulavary was a maths and computer teacher at our secondary school in the days before September 11 back in the early to mid 1990’s (I was in the same year level as Andrew V – like him I only had him for a fill in a couple of times around 1995) – from that expeience I’d be curious to know by what you meant ‘interesting fellow’!!

    All I’ll ask is: Were you given permission to use a calculator by Gyulavary?

    @ Dogs Breath – Yes I saw a doco on SBS a year or so after 9-11 on the building design. Amongst other problems the two stairwells were relatively closely spaced around the central core and prevented escape from the upper floors as the damage took them out. Another problem centred around the relatively light trusses supporting the floors and their minimal fire resistance.

  6. @enno – Follow the 2 links I provided. They both show how the WTC towers and WTC plaza were inspired by Islamic architecture and the Grand Mosque of Makkah.

    If you want to know specifically what the features were they are the arches used at the base of the WTC, the 2 towers close in proximity mimicking the dual minarets of the mosque, the WTC plaza which resembled the centre of the Grand Mosque and had at its centre a sculpture known as ‘the sphere’ which was meant to mimick the Ka’bah (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sphere) and rotated once every 24 hours in an anti-clockwise fashion to imitate the circumambulation of the worshipers in Makkah. There are others, just follow the links if you really are interested.

  7. The structure of the twin towers was poorly designed as most of the support structure was composed of raw steel beams which buckled under heat. I’ve read that if the same thing were to happen to towers in Melbourne such as Rialto/Eureka (god forbid) chances are they wouldn’t collapse as most of our towers are composed of a concrete shell with steel reinforcement which are better at handling torsional strain.

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