New York City
A few months ago, Bill, the owner of Rainbow Music, spent several hours trapped under collapsed piles of CDs in the tiny back storeroom of his tiny music store in lower Manhattan.
He wasn’t pinned down by the weight. Rather, he was trying to carefully extricate himself, like a human Pick-Up Stick, so he would not upset the “order” of the CDs that had fallen around him.
Bill, who declines to give his surname (“I never give it to anyone”), claims everything inside Rainbow Music, located in the East Village just off St Mark’s Place, is carefully arranged. If so, the filing system is Mayan. Or Byzantine. Possibly Han Dynasty. It is not any known western methodology.
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On this sad anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in post-war history I am reminded of the prophetic words spoken by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address to the nation in 1961: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist”.
Eisenhower was the supreme commander in western Europe who had led America to victory against one of the most evil regimes in history, a man who had witnessed the depths of human depravity, and wanted finally to warn us that the war machine which had been created to defend freedom in WWII could equally be used for the opposite purpose, and that it was up to the American people to guard against this possibility.
Eisenhower coined the phrase “military industrial complex” which became the catch-cry of the anti-war movement of the 1960s, describing an economic and political fusion of power involving armaments manufacturers, construction companies, banks, democratic governments and puppet dictatorships.
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For the vast majority of people, images of the World Trade Centre in New York, and in particular its destruction, are permanently etched into their psyche.
While we understand a great deal about why the towers collapsed structurally, and the political motivations behind the attack, curiously very little is known about their architect and architecture.
So who was the architect of New York’s World Trade Centre, and what did his building represent at the time it was built?
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It’s a brave or foolish American who turns his back on God. But that’s what New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg has done.
He’s told security at the official 9/11 Ground Zero ceremony, on Sunday morning, to watch for an eccentric yet convincing bearded gent, possibly wearing flowing robes, who’ll be looking to crash the party.
It is a strange day when God is not invited or invoked at a day of national mourning or celebration in the US. But Bloomberg has decreed that no religious leaders will attend the ceremony, where the names of the 2,983 who were killed on September 11 will be read aloud by family members.
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After months of controversy, approval has been granted for the construction of an Islamic community centre and mosque two blocks away from the site of the World Trade Centre in New York City.
But the $US100m dollar building that will boast a gym, childcare centre and a couple of restaurants has raised several questions about religious tolerance, cultural freedom and national healing, leaving many New Yorker’s divided and one of their biggest questions un-answered: when will the United States pull out of Afghanistan?
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