Why am I not at all surprised by these reports today? First up, from Reuters:
New York’s Sept 11 museum to display hijacker perspective
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A museum dedicated to the September 11 attacks will display written quotations drawn from “martyrdom” videos made by the hijackers, along with witness testimonials that will be screened to prevent sympathizers from praising the perpetrators, museum officials said on Thursday.
Previous attempts to put into context the motivation of the men who used hijacked passenger planes to attack the United States on September 11, 2001, have been met with emotional public opposition, with politicians canceling plans for an “International Freedom Center” in 2005.
But the president of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum said photographs of the 19 hijackers would be displayed along with the quotes as part of the “witness testimony” in the museum.
The memorial and museum are planned for the World Trade Center site undergoing reconstruction in lower Manhattan. The underground museum should open by 2013.
The current effort at what po-mo professors call “contextualization” will include photographs and quotations drawn from “martyrdom” videos made by the 19 terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center, damaged the Pentagon, and slaughtered 40 people on United flight 93. Joe Daniels, president of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, said that “No one will come to this museum and leave with a feeling of heroism” for the terrorists. Still, he wanted to “Let the perpetrators speak for themselves.”
As in: “Let’s hear your side of the story, Mr. Himmler,” “What were you trying to accomplish, Pol Pot?” “I’m sure you had what you thought were good reasons — not of course that we necessarily agree — for detonating those bombs on the Madrid train in 2004: please, give us your perspective.”
It seemed appropriate that it was Reuters which reported this story. Just after 9/11, Steven Jukes, Reuter’s global head of news, told his staff that because “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” “Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist.”
On this anniversary of the worst terrorist atrocity in U.S. history, I hope we will 1) take a few moments to remember the 3000 innocent people who were slaughtered that day, 2) remind ourselves of the intractable evil that perpetrated that slaughter, and 3) admonish ourselves with the home truth that calling things by their real name is a prerequisite of true understanding.
Meanwhile, from the Associated Press, “8 years later, 9/11 still no ordinary day for US Muslims who fear anniversary backlash” — “And 8 years later there still hasn’t been one”, Orrin Judd adds.
Here’s the AP report:
[M]any American Muslims say Sept. 11 will never be routine, no matter how many anniversaries have passed.
“I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach every year,” said Nancy Rokayak of Charlotte, N.C., who covers her hair in public. “I feel on 9/11 others look at me and blame me for the events that took place.”
Rokayak, a U.S.-born convert, has four children with her husband, who is from Egypt, and works as an ultrasound technologist. She makes sure she is wearing a red, white and blue flag pin every Sept. 11 and feels safer staying close to home.
Sarah Sayeed, who lives in the Bronx, said that for a long time, she hesitated before going out on the anniversary. The morning the World Trade Center crumbled, she rushed to her son’s Islamic day school so they could both return home. The other women there warned that she should take off her headscarf, or hijab, for her own safety. She now attends an interfaith prayer event each Sept. 11, keeping her hair covered as always.
“There’s still a sense of `Should I go anywhere? Should I say anything?’ There’s kind of that anxiety,” said Sayeed, who was born in India and came to the U.S. at age 8. “I force myself to go out.”
The anniversary brings a mix of emotions: sorrow over the huge loss of life, anguish over the wars that followed, but also resentment over how the hijackings so completely transformed the place of Muslims in the U.S. and beyond.
As Orrin asks, “No pride that their country liberated tens of millions of Muslims?”
Finally, the conclusion of a Gawker post today by Alex Pareene takes the cake. (Apologies in advance for my redaction of a barnyard epithet):
So thank f***ing christ that the Commander in Chief is no longer subjecting the nation to death porn.
No, this year it’s limited to a nutty little cult leader on basic cable who is encouraging his radicalized band of fanatical followers to invade the cities where the tragedy actually happened in order to shock the populace back into fear.
Glenn Beck is an actual terrorist, and the people attending his rally in DC tomorrow are al-Qaeda in America.
Huh. I thought it was helpful to see things from their perspective.