Using the innocents

Using the innocents

: We should be ashamed of ourselves. The great tragedy of 9/11 is almost three years gone and still the hole stares at us because we are too political and incompetent to fill it and, worse, we are allowing the innocents and heroes of that day to be used to fulfill political agenda. The latest:

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal carried an op-ed by Debra Burlingame, sister of a pilot of one of the 9/11 jets, that paints an enraging picture of the work behind the so-called International Freedom Center being planned for the site.

I smelled something bad there when The Times — in a review of the plans filled with the writer’s own political agenda — revealed that a picture of Iraqis holding up their purple fingers of freedom — a picture worth well more than a thousand words about freedom and democracy — was taken out of the presentation.

Burlingame says that the center is practically being turned into what Bill Maher has wanted: a Why They Hate Us Pavillion.

The organizers of its principal tenant, the International Freedom Center (IFC), have stated that they intend to take us on “a journey through the history of freedom”–but do not be fooled into thinking that their idea of freedom is the same as that of those Marines. To the IFC’s organizers, it is not only history’s triumphs that illuminate, but also its failures. The public will have come to see 9/11 but will be given a high-tech, multimedia tutorial about man’s inhumanity to man, from Native American genocide to the lynchings and cross-burnings of the Jim Crow South, from the Third Reich’s Final Solution to the Soviet gulags and beyond.

Why? And why here?

On my grave, please do not build a memorial to the mistakes of my neighbors and ancestors. Don’t stand on the grass above me and flagellate. Just let me lie there in peace, please.

Oh, and by the way, when you build this center, will you include the atrocities of the Saudis and Saddam Hussein and the PLO and all the tyrants of the Middle East? Will have you have an exhibit about the women there who do not have the freedom to vote or even drive?

Will you build a special wing for the special sickness that is suicide terrorism — in Israel and in Iraq and at the World Trade Center? Or will you be afraid of offending Muslims?

Well, I’m offended.

The World Trade Center is a place for remembrance of the innocents and victims of that day and for a return to life.

: Burlingame has problems with many of the people behind the center but here is the gem:

Eric Foner, radical-left history professor at Columbia University who, even as the bodies were being pulled out of a smoldering Ground Zero, wrote, “I’m not sure which is more frightening: the horror that engulfed New York City or the apocalyptic rhetoric emanating daily from the White House.” This is the same man who participated in a “teach-in” at Columbia to protest the Iraq war, during which a colleague exhorted students with, “The only true heroes are those who find ways to defeat the U.S. military,” and called for “a million Mogadishus.”

: Michele Malkin is also angry. More blog ire under Burlingame at Technorati.

: Roger Simon has a few suggestions.

: Update: An emailer wants to point out that Foner called the colleague’s Mogodish remark “idiotic.”

  • JM Hanes

    There is one reason, and one reason only, that an appropriate memorial does not already exist at Ground Zero. While each of us might ultimately prefer one possibility over another, who among us could not admit, for example, that two simple, extraordinary, beams of light cast upward in the night defined the New York skyline — and our national memory — more powerfully than any self-important, pseudo-referential spire ever could.
    The International Freedom Center is a sop to the consciences of those who are unwilling to sacrifice usable commercial space, no matter how compelling the cause. They can be shamed, but they cannot be deterred — save by litigants or Iegislators.
    What’s required is a national deus ex machina moment commensurate with the truly national interest at stake. I personally will be looking for ways to help make that happen, despite the demoralizing sense of having come too late to this party which, till now, I’ve allowed to stand in the way of personal involvement and active protest.