By now you may have heard that Fareed Zakaria has returned an award given him by the Anti-Defamation League because of the ADL’s backward position on the Islamic center near Ground Zero. It’s good to see someone display principle.
On the other hand, the “listen to us DFHs next time, bozo” prize goes to Joe Klein, who has concluded he was wrong to support the invasion of Iraq. what he says is mostly right, and it would have been brilliant if he’d written it eight years ago. It would have been commendable if he’d written it six or seven years ago. Now it’s just — yeah, Klein, right. Thanks for catching up.
And the “WTF?” prize goes to a person named Neda Bolourchi, who claims to be a Muslim opposed to the building to a mosque (it’s not a mosque, bleepit) near Ground Zero. Her mother was on one of the planes that slammed into the towers, and no doubt she has profoundly deep emotions about the 9/11 attacks. However, she writes,
From the first memorial ceremonies I attended at Ground Zero, I have always been moved by the site; it means something to be close to where my mother may be buried, it brings some peace. That is why the prospect of a mosque near Ground Zero — or a church or a synagogue or any religious or nationalistic monument or symbol — troubles me.
This is puzzling, Ground Zero is surrounded by prominent churches. I can’t see how anyone could go there and not notice. Some of the larger churches are marked on this satellite image of lower Manhattan. The churchyard of St. Paul’s Chapel is directly across the street from Ground Zero, for example. Unlike where the Islamic center will be, St. Paul’s is very visible from Ground Zero, and Ground Zero from St. Paul’s. Likewise St. Peter’s Catholic Church and several smaller churches.
And if we want to talk about nationalistic symbols — again, going back to the satellite image, you see that right across Vessey Street from where the World Trade Center used to be is a big huge honking and fairly ugly federal building that houses the New York offices of several state and federal agencies. That building is festooned with nationalistic symbols, including American flags, as I recall.
So while I don’t want to disrespect anyone who lost a loved one on September 11, I have to question if Neda ever actually went to Ground Zero. Or maybe she went there just once several years ago and doesn’t remember it well.
“I know Ground Zero is not mine alone; I must share this sanctuary with tourists, politicians, anyone who chooses to come, whatever their motivations or intentions,” she writes. Well no, Neda, what you need to realize is that Ground Zero is a big hole in the middle of a vibrant and living city, and the people who live in that vibrant and living city, and who travel past that hole and have seen it every bleeping day, for nine bleeping years, are way past ready to bring that misbegotten bit of real estate back into the land of the living, and fill that barren space once more with the daily life of New York.
Life does go on, if we don’t get in its way.