Archive for August, 2017

“Why did I survive? I was a frail boy, didn’t be pushy…not strong…” Eli Weisanthal asked. His answer was that God needed someone to tell a story. That was his mission in life, why he was born, why he lived, to witness the horror and write about it and teach about it as a good educated man, with anger but also with a sense of justice. Of the thousands of voices who survived, his was the “tenor” for God. To sing the opera of evil, in words in 47 books, and to countless students through the ensuing decades.

So who is the “voice”, the story teller who witnessed and survived 9/11? Do we have a survivor who was there, trapped, went through it all, survived because God’s hand shielded him? And is this human being strong enough to walk, as Weisel did, to recount the story, to make sure we never forget?

Or has our world set up such a culture or society that an Eli Weisel survivor is not possible? Where are you, story teller for the damned of that day? Where are your words, your strength, your anger? How many people did Weisel help through his words to heal (if ever “healing” from such a wound were possible), how much evil did he hunt down to justice? Is there such a person walking our streets? Or were the WTC survivors all buried eventually in the dust of their own pain, voices muffled, not one cry to ever more be heard?

Advertisements

Quote of the Week

Posted: August 29, 2017 in Quotes
Tags: , , ,
“Why did I survive? I was a frail boy, didn’t be pushy…not strong…” Eli Weisanthal

“They’ve compared 9/11 to Pearl Harbor. In many ways that’s an accurate comparison. But it differs in a number of significant and psychologically important ways. After Pearl Harbor war was declared on ONE country and the ENTIRE Nation rose up to join in the efforts of defeating Japan. Today, we have the slippery world of the terrorists. They can exist anywhere. And we are not united in a war effort because this war is being fought on a higher technological and political plane. Those of us who can’t join our fighting forces have nothing to do except wave our flags and contribute to the many charities that have sprung up. There also is the fact that once we defeated Japan, there was an end. We had vindicated our dead, we could dance in the streets. We were once again safe. Not so now. If there was a beginning, there will be no definitive end. We will never be safe.”

I go on to write about how hard it is to escape 9/11 imagery and yet how I hunger for more and more of it:

“ And thus grief, the world, and my life has taken on an almost schizophrenic existence.

I think that what I have encountered is the emotional equivalent of AIDS. It is a virus lodged in my and others psyches. The usual balm will not route it out. At present there is no cure. Will I die from it? Like the AIDS patient who has lived with her disease for years, there are ways to cope. In time we will discover our alpha interferon. And it will not be a cure. But life will go on. Me and you, and the widows and heroes will learn to live with the reminders and the pain. And our lives will all be different. And in the end we will die. Some from not being able to cope, some from what surely will be other terrorist acts, and others from old age. Everything has changed…and yet…nothing. Life must go on. For the best memorial that I or anyone can erect, is a life well lived to the best of ones abilities. And to make that life count to the betterment of all humankind. Today’s generations and the ones of a tomorrow yet to come.” – from my WTC Journal post on March 25, 2002 “When Will It End – Part 2”

So 16 years in, have we? Are we living our best lives as a memorial to those who died? Are we bettering humankind?

Quote of the Week

Posted: August 23, 2017 in Quotes
Tags: , ,

Now that the spectacle of the Eclipse is over, listen to what painter David Grossman has to say about our beautiful world:

“Peace and beauty surround us. Take a moment to observe and listen.”

The 16th anniversary of 9/11 is less than 4 weeks away. What happened 16 years ago is overshadowed this year by continuing gun violence, attempted terrorist attacks, presidential problems, and the nuclear threat from North Korea. From now till Sept 11 2017, I will be writing about our love/hate affair with remembering America’s worse day in its history.

I would like to start off with this excerpt from my World Trade Center Journal.   I started that website in 2001 long before we had the blogs of today. For the first year it was my diary of what was happening along with my reactions and feelings and photographs of Ground Zero. This comes from my post on Oct 11, 2001 “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow”:

“Tomorrow will never be the same. You, me, NYC, the US, lost something that dreadful day in Sept. We lost our innocence, our faith that tomorrow will be like the ones that came before. What we need to find, amidst the rubble of our disturbed lives, is the spark of hope. Hope that we can continue to care about one another. Hope that this nation will not destroy itself through pride and arrogance. Hope that our phrase “in God we trust” will indeed bring the grace of the Lord (however we see him/her) down upon us. For only than can we move forward beyond grief and tears, beyond the self-absorption of endless memories of the past’s horrors. Only then can we rebuild….replace the City of Sorrows with the City of Hope.”

16 years later I wonder if we have…

It’s been all over the media, the story of the woman who egged her “friend” on to commit suicide. Through the use of social media she managed to convince him that that was the best option he had. And then there was the smart, pretty 12 year old girl who committed suicide due to all the bullying she received via social media.

I wonder, if Jesus Christ were to be crucified today, how many people would pull out their iPhones and snap a picture of his agony to post on Facebook. And yet that is what we do each time we post something negative about a friend, something private about a neighbor, tear down a politician, or post a photograph which never was meant to be shared with the world. These actions crucify and create agony in the target person’s life.

You don’t have to be a bully or psychologically impaired to have your e-mails or tweets wreck havoc on someone. Just look at how our President, yes the president of the United states, has negatively impacted not only the objects of his tweets but his own presidential image. Sometimes it’s not so much the content of a social media post that is the problem but the choice of words used to express an opinion.

For good or bad, social media in all its forms is here to stay. Maybe it’s time to stop and take a look at how our social media words and pictures pollute and demean our existence and hurt the ones to whom we send it. We have the choice to spread messages of hope and beauty rather than despair and ugliness. Let’s make life better by choosing to use it for good

This quote appeared in Vol 39 no. 5 of Ornament magazine’s article “Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture” reporting on exhibits of clothing from the 60s & 70’s

“…its clothing and jewelry no longer worn, becoming archival material, but it reflected an Earth-based spirit that was tolerant, kindly and welcoming. Its better nature expressed a sort of mantra deeply woven into the American origin narrative. (my emphasis) We the people are here to form an ever more perfect union, rising above and fixing our flaws, and that noble work is constant and never ends. It was a vigilant, passionate search fifty years ago that continues to this day.”