Holy Ground U.S.A.

Susan Jacoby has written another Spirited Atheist column about the GZM; is she, too, fetishizing? This time she splendidly put words to my own spirited kvetchings on the matter of the supposed sanctity of Ground Zero. She’s bound to piss off a few people with the following assertion.

I hate to break it to everyone who is making a fetish out of this site, but 500 years from now, if our civilization endures, Ground Zero will be will be no more relevant to contemporary than memories of the 1572 St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of French Huguenots by Roman Catholics. That is, the 9/11 atacks will be a footnote in the long history of religious and cultural hatred.

It’s almost September 11, 2010 and I’m already being asked, “Where were you when it happened? Weren’t you in New York?” I was in my apartment in Brooklyn, reading Giacomo Leopardi (I recall this detail), when my sister phoned and told me to turn on the television because one of the Twin Towers had been hit by a plane. Nine years later I still get worked up talking about that day, and how none of us had any idea whether the rest of Manhattan would have been targeted as well. For days it seemed certain that the Empire State Building was next. Or the water system. Or the subway. And, to an extent, some of us are still waiting for the next attack to catch us off guard so we can scream, “Told you so!”

The Glenn Becks and Sarah Palins are, anyway. The rest of us wish to get on with our lives. 9/11 will endure as a chapter in history books; and that is as it should be. Otherwise we are headed toward the making of another Temple Mount-Al Aqsa Mosque in the heart of New York City. Do we really think the best response to religious warfare is importing it whole hog from the Middle East into our daily lives? Are we really like those people in “Jesus Camp“?

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