From The Wall Street Journal: The Great Ground Zero Heist; Will the 9/11 “memorial” have more about Abu Ghraib than New York’s heroic firemen? by Debra Burlingame:
The World Trade Center Memorial Cultural Complex will be an imposing edifice wedged in the place where the Twin Towers once stood. It will serve as the primary “gateway” to the underground area where the names of the lost are chiseled into concrete. 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 [mentioned earlier in the editorial]. 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. This is a history all should know and learn, but dispensing it over the ashes of Ground Zero is like creating a Museum of Tolerance over the sunken graves of the USS Arizona.
The public will be confused at first, and then feel hoodwinked and betrayed. Where, they will ask, do we go to see the September 11 Memorial? The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation will have erected a building whose only connection to September 11 is a strained, intellectual one.
There have been two responses to this editorial that I’ve seen. GOP Blogger has communicated with a Lower Manhattan Development Corp. representative who claims the memorial board members and the memorial itself will not be, contrary to the editorial, a lopsided, left-leaning presentation.
However, a new op-ed in today’s The Wall Street Journal in defense of the IFC’s approach to the memorial is more revealing. In A Fitting Place at Ground Zero, Richard J. Tofel throws around a lot of quotes from Bush to Lincoln about “freedom” as if the concept will be important to the memorial, but then he admits that it really won’t be:
To be sure, the International Freedom Center will host debates and note points of view with which you — and I — will disagree. But that is the point, the proof of our society’s enduring self-confidence and humanity. Moreover, the International Freedom Center will rise above the politics of the moment. It will not exist to precisely define “freedom” or to tell people what to think, but to get them to think — and to act in the service of freedom as they see it. And it will always do so in a manner respectful of the victims of September 11.
Keep in mind the context here: the “sue Rumsfeld for torture” ACLU and other leftists groups are involved in the memorial. How can the memorial be “respectful of the victims of September 11” if, like the ACLU, we do not “precisely define ‘freedom'”? True political freedom is not a matter of opinion. After all, didn’t Mohammed Atta and his fellow Islamic mass murderers “act in the service of freedom as they [saw] it“? Didn’t they want the Islamic world to be “free” from Western culture and “globalization”? Isn’t that the very reason they chose to attack the capitalistic World Trade Center in the great New York City? Will views sympathetic to Atta’s “point of view” be allowed on the hallowed ground where thousand were slaughtered by him? Have they already?
If one iota of appeasing, multicultural, moral-equivalence, anti-freedom ideology is allowed to desecrate the 9/11 memorial, it will be a victory for the very monsters who brought down the towers. Ask yourself: would it prove our “self-confidence and humanity” if we rose “above the politics of the moment” and allowed Nazi-sympathizers to express “freedom as they see it” at Auschwitz, or even the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum? No, it would not. It would be an insult to the victims. And likewise we must not allow terrorist-sympathizers and apologists any platform at the WTC memorial.
In fact, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., should serve as a model for the WTC memorial, as a guiding principle on how to create a real tribute to the 9/11 victims that does not shy away from naming the enemy, its anti-freedom ideology, and telling the full, horrible story. It’s not a matter of scale but of content and presentation. Not only does the Holocaust Museum explain how and why Nazism came to power but also how and why the Nazis systematically murdered millions. It tells survivors’ stories and how the free state of Israel was born. It shows how life was reclaimed from a culture of death, destruction and tyranny. There are even television monitors — conscientiously shielded from children — that unblinkingly show the true horror committed against Jews and others.
Will there be such a presentation at the World Trade Center memorial? Will there be, as Burlingame put it, “a memorial that … acknowledge[s] the yearning to return to that day”? There won’t be if we can’t even stand up, define and defend what is morally right about American freedom. That is the only way to respect the victims of 9/11, because that is why they were murdered.