I’ve been asked by AndromedasWake to say a few words on the entire 9/11 Ground Zero debate and give a New Yorker’s perspective. I thought it would be appropriate to wait until time has passed since the Ground Zero anniversary, considering the content of this blog post.
I have lived through a decade of Ground Zero controversy. From the moment the dust settled, individuals and groups with political agendas descended on the wounded carcass of lower Manhattan, cutting out and dishing up great slabs of suffering to serve at the gluttonous feast of their ambitions.
“All of Ground Zero should be declared hallowed ground’, “The memorial in light should remain until the towers are rebuilt’, “it should be called the Freedom Tower’, “THIS tower design is a better memorial than that one’, “A design contest will show the true spirit of American freedom’, “The stairway to heaven can’t be moved, it would be disrespectful!’, “The beams that form a cross cannot be moved, God placed them there!’
It has gone on and on, year after year.
Politicians and activists stand in the shadow of the ruins, strike noble stances, bow their heads sorrowfully and then declare; “Vote for me! Support me!’
This is what angered me so much about Thunderf00t’s video. It was clearly yet another attempt to ride the emotional tide of Ground Zero. The great Thunderf00t, long known as a scion of education, reason and logic on YouTube, had spoken out on the issue and had not addressed any of the real facts, had not applied his supposed keen, razor sharp intellect to the falsehoods and bigotry flying about; instead he had created a video that in my opinion, was total, absolute shit. Like many others before him he had gone the base, common route of indulging himself in fallacy and hate at the expense of reason; at the expense of the people who call that neighborhood’¦ “home’.
I won’t bother to repeat here any of the facts that destroy the many fallacious arguments against the Park 51 Center. But suffice it to say; there has not been a single “factual’ argument put forward that has not turned out to be a lie – and in each case it was a lie that could be traced back to some Republican/neo-con right wing source.
I will address one argument that I keep hearing raised time and again.
“Why don’t they just place the Center somewhere else?’
This appeal to emotion, to supposed sensibility and rationality, is one of the most insidious arguments put forward. It totally ignores fact and reality, attempting to portray the opposing side as inconsiderate and unreasonable.
The Downtown Muslim community has existed since before the building of the World Trade Center. Since that time, it has grown. After 9/11, when businesses and families fled Downtown and moved elsewhere, the Muslim Community continued to grow. They are a part of Downtown. They live there, shop there, own businesses there, send their children to local schools. And they already have a mosque right there, a couple of blocks away, that has been there for years. It is now, however, too small for their community, insufficient for their needs in many ways, and needs to be replaced.
So I ask back to those who raise this question;
In a time when economic hardship is the norm, why should they NOT have their Center located where they live and work instead of at another location where the trip would cost them a few hundred dollars a month in transportation expenses not to mention an hour’s time round trip?
Why should they have to raise the additional funds to purchase a building at greater cost when they already have one?
Why should you, who have no connection to the area, with your offended sensibilities, based on your irrational emotional response, dictate how these people live their lives?
And why should the entire neighborhood, Muslim and non-Muslim, be denied the much-needed business and income that will result from the existence of the new community center?
September 11th has passed. On September 12th the politicians, the activists, the bloggers, the news sources put away their fiery rhetoric, set aside their somber expressions, wiped away their crocodile tears and for another ten months Ground Zero will be forgotten. The tourists will still come in droves to view the site where one of the greatest tragedies in American history took place. But just blocks away, streets that were once teeming with pedestrians now contain only a ghost of that once busy traffic. Businesses will continue to struggle. Some will survive. Others will not. Life in Downtown Manhattan will continue – Until next year, when some new controversy will be fabricated and the whole circus will begin again.
Someday, the Two Towers will stand again. But we must ask ourselves now;
“What do we want these Towers to mean?’
Do we wish them to be a symbol of the freedom and equality that we have always been told embody the American spirit?
Or do we wish to build an icon to the fear, bigotry and hatred that now dominate the American landscape?
This is TheTruePooka, writing to you from Hell’s Kitchen, NYC. And Remember; if you find these words upsetting; Pet the Cat.