Sunday, January 17, 2010

In the Shadow of the Kaaba – 130 Liberty Street NYC


I recently saw a YouTube of some Saudi VIPs walking around the inside of the Kaaba, an ancient and sacred building covered in a black silk veil, in Mecca. The doorway to heaven is supposed to be above this building that existed in Mohammed’s time.

The interior of the Kaaba is not like a place of worship as we in the west would understand it. It seems to me from historic comparison to be more like a Holy of Holies from the ancient second temple era in Jerusalem.

As such, I look and see that Islam has a different concept of sacred than the west. While this place is certainly sacred in culture, it is still just a building. People have different feels for sacred around the planet.

We in the west with its traditions of sacred and secular have a mental picture of what is and what is not sacred. The West’s idea of secular is perhaps too off the scale for Islamic cultures or too close to the money. Some of their mosques have grandeur and beauty as architecture.

If you look at the grand mosque in Cairo it has a grand plaza within the complex walls. As such in the middle of crowded city, mosques have much more of the secular feel of the original Roman empire basilicas as all purpose all weather public buildings.

But away from far away - We in America have our own Kaaba in America. It is in a sense sacred. It is part of the original World Trade Center complex. It did not have many valubles in it that day of 911 except mere people. So it still stands.

Eight and one half years and three hundred million dollars later, the “Black Widow” of the WTC (a dark building wearing a veil of mourning for over eight years), still stands and almost refuses to yield its final hours.

At the present rate of incompetence of the businessmen, bureaucrats and unions it will take another two years and probably another hundred million dollars to bring the grand dame finally down.

I worked in that building for six years once upon a time. I won’t bore you with those details now. But because I am sensitive to the energy of the building in question, I sometimes feel that it is not so much cursed as let down by America.

We were all let down on 911 in a way. We have not recovered yet. The taking down of 130 Liberty Street sliver by sliver and crumb by crumb is symbolic of failed American Enterprise and Ingenuity. As other projects and buildings are delayed waiting for the grand old dame to come down and make way for a ramp for underground parking, the old lady is telling a story of American Greed, Incompetence and possible Redemption.

I named the building “the American Kaaba” in another blog "ghosts-of-911" but eventually deleted it because the message I was trying to interpret out of that construction site was hateful toward the people who brought down the World Trade Center.

The old lady sits silent but is still telling a story as time drones on. She tells the story of the failure of the whole American Way as displayed in the failure of Americans to heal our wounds at the old World Trade Center. The WTC is a government boondoggle’s boondoggle for city, state and federal money to be wasted over and over again like water while the rest of American starves in the Great Recession.

There was a time when they said that they were going to take the 39 story building, clean it up, take out the asbestos, recycle it (how green) and redo the building as office space. But no. That was six years ago and two hundred million dollars ago. Why stop when the money well keeps flowing for the elites - New York Real Estate Moguls, a socialist crony class just like their Wall Street brothers. More money Uncle Sam! More Money! Mo' Money!

And the corruption goes on and on! Unlike the Mecca Kaaba that is only secular and just a building, 130 Liberty Street and the whole of the World Trade Center’s gaping wound is Sacred because it is all made of money - the only god some people worship.

I, at one point, thought that where it is at 24 stories, that maybe the last ten stories could be left in place and the remains turned into a much cheaper museum for vistors to memorialize the dead of 911 and still be part of the original fabric of that lost WTC.

At this point I would recommend that it, now clean as a baby’s bottom after a bath, be imploded to speed up the process of the new World Trade Center, bureaucratic nightmare that it is.

The old lady – the “Black Widow” - deserves a better ending than she is getting at the hands of 21st century American moronic business class thinking and full of disrespect.

I dare say Obama could send the Army Corp of Engineers in to coordinate private contractors to implode 130 Liberty Street within a few weeks. Onward America! Dare I dream???

I am reminded of an article from the Huffington Post before Christmas and the advice of Arron Zelinsky in the context of the Maccabbees and the spirit of renewal and rebuilding as part of the Chanukah story – and his advice to our Prez.

Judah the Maccabee's Five Lessons for Barack Obama
3) Rebuilding symbolic structures matters. The literal meaning of Chanukah is "rededication." Josephus recounts that Judah found the Temple in ruins, defiled and destroyed by Antiochus's military forces. Judah recognized the spiritual and political imperative to rebuild the Temple as a symbol of strength and unity. The Maccabees quickly rededicated the Temple, giving the holiday its name.

In contrast, our desecrated buildings are now but four stories tall. It has been eight years since the destruction of the World Trade Center. Freedom Tower could have been a symbol of our resilience and confidence, but has instead become a model of bureaucratic inefficiency and political bickering. Rededication of symbolic structures is not easy, but it is essential and it must proceed faster.
130 Liberty Street is symbolic of all that is wrong with America at present. It is also perhaps the touchstone of the future, of our redemption from sitting on own asses in these past thirty years of gluttony and consumption.

We can get back on track and get back to the common sense of our ancestors.

Forward America! Dust (from implosions) be damned!

Bless the Spirit of our Founding Fathers.

We need that Spirit now in America!

3 comments:

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

Had I known about this building I would have visited it. I respect you for not wanting to bash or hate people even when they have wronged us. I wish you could send this off as an article to the N.Y. times. Bravo! Maybe Washington Post even

Mike McShea said...

Thank you Debra for your thoughtful words.

Mike McShea said...

The Beast has finally been brought down to it's first story. http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3577&page=96