What does this battleship symbolise? One could say that it stands for America’s refusal to critically introspect-cum-retrospect after the attack on the said towers and its leading the world to war to protect its right to assail without being assailed. One could say that the steel is priced at half a million child-lives that were lost due to U.S. sponsored embargoes on Iraq prior to 11/9. One could say that this steel was in transit ever since the west decided to hand Palestinian land over to the Jews as reparation for the persecution of the Jews by the w.Europeans, and which Hitler, the most blatant example of western persecution, was a systematic articulation of. One could even say that the steel was en route since the first crusades in 1095 a.d.
But perhaps, it would be more accurate to say that it comes at the price of every opportunity to correct past wrongs for more than a 1000 years being cast aside in favour of efforts to make the best out of the consequences as opposed to eradicating the source of these consequences. I suppose, for the short-sighted and self-absorbed, that is ‘pragmatism’
If my heart and compassion was to go out to the American people for their loss, does that necessarily require me to agree with their identification of ‘cause’? And if my heart and compassion was to go out to the Palestinian people, half a million Iraqi children……, does that require me to agree with their identification of ‘cause’? What I do know is that these are separate issues. My empathy is one thing, and objectivity is another. The human comes with the former, and the scientist with the latter. But the former is best served with the aid of the latter, and not despite it. It is when we to seek a solution along the latter lines, that we end up with little choice but to make the best out of the consequences of a self-serving empathy that isn’t complemented by scientific objectivity. At the end of the day, empathy without objectivity leads to the localisation of empathy and the globalisation of apathy. That is the equation that casts doubt on the notion that human history is an illustration of progress.
And hence, we now see steel mangled into the shape of a battleship - a symbol of recidivism, and a monument to the monstrous consequences that results when empathy is divorced from objectivity. It is said that the ship is made out of the wreckage of the twin towers, but it seems that it makes a wreckage out of that which we could have learnt on 12/9 and thereafter.
I’d rather the melted steel of the towers ossified into a monument of peace and empathy rather than one of uncompromising brawn.