|From Park51 Community Center Site & Vicinity, NYC|
I live in NYC. I have a blog. Hasn't almost every blogger around here had something to say about the whole "Ground Zero Mosque"/Islamophobia thing? Have I said one thing beyond "right on Mayor Mike"?
I'm occasionally opinionated, what's wrong with me?
Well, quite simply, I've just been too blown away by the bizarreness of people suddenly apparently thinking that it would be right and just for the government to throw the whole separation of church & state thing out the window & take up zoning by religious discrimination. It's so totally against one of the things I was brought up being told makes this country great, I just can't manage a coherent argument against it. Have spouted off a couple times on Facebook but that doesn't really require thinking in the same way. Every time I do try to think of something to say, all I can think of is one of the first TV interviews I saw with one of the people who are trying to create the Park51 community center - the poor guy was still clearly unrecovered from the total blindsiding their project has gotten at that point, and he just kept saying "It's a community center! With a mosque component!" with this horrified look on his face. Somehow I found his ineloquence terribly moving.
And last night I found myself echoing his words over on Facebook - and then carrying on with a little of what I had been thinking myself all along -
"It's a community center with a mosque component, and as far as I can tell it's only causing rifts with the people who are somehow holding an entire religion responsible for the nightmare actions of the lunatic fringe. That's completely & utterly unfair. Muslims were among the victims that day. Muslims were among those who ran to help that day, and Muslims are a part of the beautifully & blessedly recovered fabric of the downtown area. It's a blow to that healing to deny that the Park51 developers shouldt have just as much of a right to weave in this new thread because of their religion. They will have a million beauraucratic hoops to go through if they are to attain their goal anyways - I think they have just as much business trying to make it happen as anyone.
And then Carol Anne followed that up with -
The cultural center must go where it is planned specifically BECAUSE it is close to Ground Zero. It will be a symbol of reconciliation and freedom of religion, and an acknowledgement that the terrorists are NOT the true face of Islam.:
One obscure fact that makes it even more appropriate, in my mind: The building that will be replaced by the cultural center was hit by the landing gear of one of the 9/11 aircraft, and that is why it is vacant and uninhabitable.
God, she's amazing.
Anyways - at that point I decided that I was going to come home tonight & finally put up the photos I'd taken on Friday, on a special trip I had made downtown, just for the purpose. My thinking was - I don't know what to say. But here's what I CAN do -
I can go down there and I can take pictures, and maybe that way I can show people the difference between Ground Zero, and Not Ground Zero. Maybe they would like to have a better look at the neighborhood that they've been hearing so much about.
I came home that night & promptly lost all headway on the project. Chickened out a bit maybe. Felt like it was too big a topic for me...well, whatever. FWIW, though, here we go - allow me to share with you Ground Zero, and the very well-healed, lively neighborhood just to the north