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Height of Hubris


Let me start by saying that I'm not an especially religious person. Sunday evening, I was watching Bloomberg TV, and a segment appeared with an on location report of the official opening of the Burj Dubai. As the camera pulled away from the reporter to show the tower behind him, I was suddenly reminded of the Biblical Tower of Babel. As I seem to recall, the Tower of Babel was built somewhere in what is now Iraq, rather than anywhere in the Emirates, but there are at the very least some similarities between the two structures.


Both structures were built as monuments signifying aspirations of power, and for the aggrandizement of the builders. Of course, unlike the Tower of Babel, the Burj was actually completed. In a somewhat ironical note, the Tower of Babel wasn't completed because by way of showing displeasure, God “confused their languages” (referring to the builders), and they were scattered  throughout the earth. In the case of the Burj, given that the Emirates rely on immigrant labor, because of a small population, I think it can be safely assumed, the builders did not share a common tongue. Because of the collapse of the economy, many immigrant workers can’t find work, and can’t afford to return to their native lands.


Depending on which source one reads, there’re conflicting stories as to what befell the Tower of Babel. According to the Bible, it was abandoned, but other accounts speak of it being destroyed.


It’ll be interesting to see what the ultimate fate of the Burj will be.



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