A Facebook documentary rewrites 9/11

On the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, the effort by much of our cultural elite to rewrite history, which started on September 12, continues ever on.  The point is to distract from the attacks carried out by the non-Western, non-Judeo-Christian, non-democratic terrorists and impart the message that nothing has changed: America is still the bad guy, same as it ever was.

The latest effort concerns the Facebook documentary The Outsider, by filmmakers Steven Rosenbaum and Pamela Yoder, which manufactures a "controversy" about the creation of the National September 11 Museum at the World Trade Center.  Its purpose is to give weight to the filmmakers' opinion that the memorial should be less about the September 11 attacks and more about the political and moral rot of America.

"It's nationalistic, belligerent, and grievance-based," is how Rosenbaum describes the museum without a hint of irony.  He means that the museum recognizes that the attacks happened and implies that America was wronged.

Imagine the cluelessness required to complain that the 9/11 museum at the WTC is "grievance-based."  Not to mention "belligerent."  Yet that pretty much encompasses a certain cultural and intellectual take on 9/11.

This view holds that America has no grievance, making any belligerence unjustified.  The only questions are, how were the attacks America's fault?  And what are the lasting lessons of 9/11 as regards America's misconduct?

"If you went," Rosenbaum continues, speaking of a visit to the museum, "you wind up feeling sad and angry, and is that what a museum is supposed to do?"

I would suggest that if a visit to the National September 11 Museum at the WTC did not leave you feeling sad and angry (along with, say, proud and hopeful), either the museum failed or there is something sadly wrong with you.

Along these same lines, the filmmakers — disregarding the momentous effort and ultimate sacrifice made by so many that day to save and help others, regardless of race, creed, color, or any other artificial divisions — complain that there are no exhibits dedicated to the hate and intolerance they know is inherent in the American DNA.  In this case, they speak of the infamous "Islamophobia."

In the same vein, Time Magazine tells us of a "recently published call to reform the September 11 Museum" by Asad Dandia, a "Brooklyn-based Muslim writer and organizer" who writes that "there is a real danger that visitors stop at the word Islam and assign collective responsibility.'"

Collectively assigning bigotry and ignorance to Americans, Time summed up what Dandia told it by saying that "the average American may not be able to parse the nuanced differences between Islamism, jihadism and Islamic law when they hear references in the museum."  And then, quoting Dandia directly, Time writes, "'So where do they direct their anger?  Often at Muslims.'"

Except that in the eight years since the museum has been opened, not one simple-minded American, incapable of parsing those nuances, and triggered by the sight of a destroyed fire truck or a twisted piece of WTC steel or a film of innocents falling from the towers, has assigned collective responsibility for the attacks and then gone out and assaulted Muslims.

Those same Americans, however, may have stopped at the "Halal Guys" for lunch.

What did happen in America following 9/11, though?  A series of brutal attacks by immigrant and home-grown Muslim terrorists on Americans (and worldwide, on Westerners in general).  The last occurred on October 31, 2017, just steps from the WTC site and the museum.  Muslim Uzbekistan immigrant Sayfullo Habibullaevich Saipov, 29, in America since 2010 as a winner of our "Diversity Immigrant Lottery" (there's that "Islamophobia" in action), and evidently unable to parse those nuances between jihadism and Islamic law, was so inspired by ISIS to kill Americans in the name of Islam that he drove a rented pickup truck into the crowd on the West Side Highway bicycle path, killing eight.  That's more than were killed at the '93 WTC bombing.  Eleven more were injured.

Further ignoring minor annoying nuances, six of his murder victims were foreign tourists, including a 31-year-old Belgian woman who was the mother of a months-old infant.

The effort by Rosenbaum and so many of our cultural and academic elite is not guided by a desire for mutual understanding or world peace.  Nor are they free-thinking warriors gallantly taking arms against censorship.

Instead, they want to deny, diminish, and obfuscate — that is, censor — the memory and history of 9/11 in order to impose their viewpoints.  Their special targets are the coming generations who have no memory of the attacks.

The disaster in Afghanistan, conducted in a way that was blatantly oblivious of history, has again demonstrated how much we need to appreciate, preserve, and honestly convey the history of September 11.

"How we ended up" with a 9/11 WTC museum dedicated to 9/11 "will be a source of debate for years to come," Rosenbaum claims.  "But we can fix it."

"Who controls the past controls the future."  That's the goal.  For the sake of truth and our security, we cannot let that happen.

Note: On 9/11, my brother, Capt. William F. Burke, Jr., FDNY, gave his life.  His half burnt-out rig, Engine 21, is a permanent exhibit in the museum.  I served on the family advisory committee to the museum.  I won the return of the iconic WTC Sphere to Ground Zero and co-founded the annual 1 WTC Stair Climb in honor of Captain Billy Burke.

Image: Firetruck at the National September 11 Museum at the World Trade Center by Gabichan2020.  CC BY-SA 4.0.

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