The photographs above correspond to Brook's three pieces published by Slate. The items labeled "Dispatch 1" are associated to his 9/08 piece, "Dispatch 2" to 9/09, and "Dispatch 3" to 9/10.
Mohamed Atta became an architect at Cairo University, in the city where he came of age. The Egyptian capital is a fascinating, albeit poorly maintained, open-air museum, spanning 5,000 years of architectural history. In its recent past—since Napoleon's 1798 invasion, in Egypt's near-geologic time frame—the city has lurched from Western model to Western model, trying in vain to reclaim its lost glory. In the Abdin neighborhood where Atta grew up, grand Parisian apartment buildings constructed in the 19th century now sit caked in dust, their windows shattered.
A month after 9/11, Fouad Ajami wrote in the New York Times Magazine, "I almost know Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian [at] the controls of the jet that crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center." While the Middle East scholar had never met the lead hijacker, Ajami knew his type: the young Arab male living abroad, tantalized by yet alienated from Western modernity, who retreats into fundamentalist piety.