Two days ago the 9/11 Memorial and Museum opened to the public, and the Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition held a protest of the museum’s exhibits. Michael Smith, co-author of Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA, was there. –Ed.
You asked me how the Coalition against Islamophobia’s event went Wednesday. It was super. We all showed up with signs inside the plaza. A lot of uniform cops and three nonuniform cops told us we couldn’t be there with signs. Why? Because it was private property. The same ruse they used against us at Occupy. We were told we could not display the signs or we would be arrested. The museum, in fact the whole goddamn thing, is an evidently successful effort at boosting. Nationalism and super patriotism.
The specific thing that we were protesting was a six-minute video blaming 9/11 on Muslims. The museum is a misuse of 9/11. The first misuse after 9/11 was the war against Afghanistan, the second, the war against Iraq, the third was the use of torture, renditions, avoiding habeas corpus, and setting up Guantánamo. The fourth was the construction of an even larger surveillance state.
This museum is the Fifth Misuse of 9/11, but its effect will be to carry forward the rationale for the other four.
We have made the point on our radio show (Law and Disorder) with the interviews of Deepa Kumar and Arun Kandanati, that the ideology in the United States is that the Muslim religion tends towards fanaticism. It is the Muslim culture that is at fault, they say. The truth is otherwise. There were real political reasons for the assault of 9/11, but those have never been discussed. This museum perpetuates that suppression.
So we all marched in a group holding Signs so they could be seen and walked out of the plaza and onto the street. There we stood on two different levels while reporters and photographers took photos of us and interviewed us. I was able to make a point to the Daily News reporter how ironic it was that in this plaza, which was supposed to stand for freedom which America pretends to support, we were not even allowed to hold up signs and were evicted under the pretext that the plaza was private property. This is a project that relied on a lot of public funds, is continually supported by public funds, and patrolled by police officers paid with public funds. Truly, freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.