What is it about this family and tall buildings? Mamoun Fandy writes today in the Pacific News Service that, despite the permanent blot on their family name, the Bin Laden Construction Group recently won a bid to build the tallest skyscraper in the world in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The building is scheduled to rise 2,300 feet, with 161 floors – making it a whole 820 feet higher than the current world's highest, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Bin Laden group will handle all aspects of the building, from financing to construction.
Fandy also notes that the computer-generated picture of the proposed tower, as shown in Ash-Sharq al-Awsat, appears intentionally to bring the World Trade Center to mind, adding to his disquiet.
The tall, sleek structure is shown against an evening sky. From two smaller buildings flanking the tower, two white beams shoot to the sky. For me, these are vivid reminders of the beams of light that served as a temporary memorial near Ground Zero, starting on March 11, 2002, the six-month anniversary of the World Trade Center attack. Could one evoke the destruction of the Twin Towers by the "other" bin Laden more directly? Are we to understand this new project in Dubai as a kind of replacement for the buildings Osama bin Laden destroyed?
As Fandy helpfully suggests, "Perhaps the Bin Ladens should get out of the skyscraper business." (May 10, 2004)