[T]his is not really a campaign about money or space. It is a campaign about political purity -- about how people remember 9/11 and about how we choose to read its aftermath, including the Iraq war. On their Web site, www.takebackthememorial.org, critics of the cultural plan at ground zero offer a resolution called Campaign America. It says that ground zero must contain no facilities "that house controversial debate, dialogue, artistic impressions, or exhibits referring to extraneous historical events." This, to us, sounds un-American.
They give themselves some wiggly room ("sounds to us"), but their point is clear: the NYT considers it "un-American" to oppose building a come-one-come-all political venue at the Ground Zero memorial. They continue blowing a "free speech" smoke screen to obscure the controversy: public funds are to be used to build a permanent institution at Ground Zero dedicated to airing political discourse, some of which will no doubt be sympathetic to the terrorists who murdered thousands there. Why else would the NYT be so concerned about "how people remember 9/11 and about how we choose to read its aftermath, including the Iraq war"? Is the NYT afraid that a memorial site dedicated solely to 9/11 will lead visitors to "politically incorrect" conclusions?
If the publicly funded "cultural facilities" are built, it would be censorship to regulate what artists and speakers say. That is why the "cultural facilities" must not be built at the WTC memorial site. Take Back The Memorial continues its petition drives (details here).
The 9/11 memorial at the World Trade Center should be a place for remembrance of those we lost and 9/11 should be allowed to speak to each visitor to Ground Zero, uninterrupted. At Dachau, I saw no debate being held about Chilean refugees. At Gettysburg, I saw no Holocaust "art" center overlooking Little Round Top. At Martin Luther King Jr.'s memorial in Atlanta, I saw no "public square" where the discussion might include the merits of segregation nor would anyone need to be reminded how wholly inappropriate such a discussion at that marker would be. 9/11's history should not be up for grabs and holding political discussions at Ground Zero is not appropriate for that site or any memorial site. Placing unrelated activities upon hallowed ground is disrespectful to those who fell at such places and everyone who remembers them.
UPDATE III -- Aug. 2: From the New York Daily News: Honor only the 9/11 dead by Dennis Smith.
I cannot speak for the families of 9/11, but I do have many in those groups who are my friends, and I believe my measure of their views to be correct. They see the Drawing Center and the Freedom Center to be inappropriate institutions for a site where so many have died. The First Amendment rights of such institutions would always prevail, and consequently the possibility would always exist for an exhibition to be an affront to the reverence that should be felt at Ground Zero.
Speaking of 9/11 families, I noticed that The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund is holding a raffle to benefit the 953 9/11 children covered by the fund. It was a reminder to me that thousands of children lost parents and loved ones on September 11, 2001. What do we want them to see at the WTC memorial?
Posted by Forkum at July 31, 2005 06:46 PM