Sunday, August 22

Mosque at Ground Zero: Rima Fakih versus hot air

I warn that Rima Fakih, who holds the 2010 Miss USA title, is very poorly informed about President Obama's track record as a wartime president. You can tell this because of her comment about Obama in relation to a costume she commissioned to wear in the August 23 Miss Universe competition. It's "an unusual winged, gold and silver eagle outfit" that she calls a tribute to Obama. "The symbolism of this costume is a tribute to your work to bring peace to the world," Fakih said. "The amazing costume ... represents the celebration of life, liberty and all that is American."(1)

Thank goodness she added that last part because a U.S. President with polling organizations for a spine, and who should be indicted for war crimes with regard to his version of drone warfare, should not be held up as a peacemaker.

Setting aside her many gaps in knowledge about Obama's actions since taking presidential office, Rima Fakih has taken on the role of the child in the Emperor's News Clothes with her comments about the planned mosque near Ground Zero. She said that the mosque shouldn't be so close to the World Trade Center and added, "We should be more concerned with the tragedy than religion."

With those 10 words Rima cut through the hot air uttered by pundits, politicians, religious leaders, and self-termed defenders of human rights who've held forth on the mosque issue. She also inadvertently cut through her hero's poll-straddling utterances about the mosque:
According to ABC News, U.S. president said Friday that he believes Muslims have "the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan," but the following day said that he would not comment on "the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there."(1)
Moving along, Rima's observation goes to the heart of the matter, which has become a referendum on the motives of Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam who put forward the mosque plan.

It's not about Rauf, who is as phony as his defenders. Everyone knows that if the family of a drunk driver who ran down your relative shows up outside the memorial service to tell you the murderer doesn't represent the family, they're not sorry for your loss or the victim.

You don't force mourners into the role of a saint, and to do so is cruel and inhumane. Again, everyone knows that -- and those who refuse to acknowledge they know are pursuing a political or religious agenda.

Yet it took a beauty queen who characterizes herself as spiritual rather than religious to point out the obvious in one sentence to the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious leaders that upbraided Americans who just want to mourn their dead without being forcibly reminded the murderers did their evil in the name of Islam. If that's not the Cosmos making an editorial comment on religion, I don't know what is.

In closing I'd like to thank Rima for setting my own thinking straight.

As I watched the collapse of the World Trade towers I said, "Start rebuilding tomorrow, and rebuild them exactly as they were."

I was so full of rage at the moment that I was thinking of only one thing: sticking it to the enemy. However, I never revisited my opinion until Rima spoke out. After pondering her words I asked myself whether I'd like to see the Vietnam War and World War Two memorials on the Washington National Mall bulldozed to make room for office buildings.

Let's be clear: if the Americans who died in the 9/11 attack had been working in office buildings in Mashed Potato Falls, Wyoming there would be no question about making the entire site into a memorial. But because the buildings were situated on one of the world's hottest real estate properties, all the decision-makers twisted themselves into the shape of a pretzel to rationalize returning commercial office space to the site.

So if one wants to be brutally frank Rauf is simply taking a page from the planners who are returning commercial office space to the place where thousands of Americans were ground to dust by proposing an Islamic center two short city blocks from Ground Zero that includes "recreation facilities, a restaurant, swimming pool, fitness center, auditorium, a culinary school" and a mosque.(1)

I now wonder if it ever occurred to Congress to ask all Americans if they'd mind adding a few cents to their taxes in order to compensate New York City and New York State for the loss of revenue that would entail by keeping the entire World Trade Towers site as a memorial.

It would be up to a future generation to consider converting part of such a memorial to commercial office space. But I venture the present generation of Americans should be able to put the tax idea to a vote.

1) Quotes are from Natalie James's August 21 report for The Money Times, First Muslim Miss USA Rima Fakih opposes Ground Zero mosque.


Unknown said...

I take exception to your dismissive reference to President Obama's peace making efforts as illusionary because he lacks conviction.

In a democracy, an elected leader has to balance the constitutional rights of the majority of electors against the disengaged or disenchanted minority - because the amendments to the constitution grant equal rights to minorities and the President takes an oath to uphold the Constitution.

Obama was elected because the nation had been led into two increasingly unpopular wars which he promised to end. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize because he immediately took action to wind down those wars, is attempting to bring peace to the middle east, and, in the proximate case has reiterated the American tradition also based on the Constitution, that all religions can be freely practiced without government interference.

If he had only a "poll-driven spine" he would have railed against the disrespect shown to the memory of 9/11 by the placement of the site - since most Americans seem to feel that way.

But outside of an obvious bias against Obama and a casual disrespectful insult to Ms. Fakih, your blog was okay.

Pundita said...

EStein -- I sometimes overlook that many people who arrive at this blog are not familiar with my earlier posts, or have read only a few, and that they do not follow the war or the actions of national leaders as closely as I do. Your comments about Obama sharply reminded me of this. So, after consideration I have revised my chiding remarks that Rima Fakih was "missing a marble" and "not entirely well in the head" for believing that Obama is a peacemaker. It was also an unnecessary jibe, given that my intention was to praise her common sense and forthrightness on the matter of the Ground Zero mosque issue. So thank you for your criticism, which caused me to rethink.

With regard to your comments about Barack Obama, and my view of him, they are poorly informed. I assure you that bias is not any part of the reasons that caused me to criticize him.

I can also assure that if the Nobel committee had known at the time that Obama's war policy would be to vastly escalate drone warfare in Pakistan and allow the Pakistani military to use the CIA to assassinate enemies of the Pakistani military's own choosing, they would never have awarded him the peace prize. Never.

And by the current reading of U.S. laws pertaining to warfare, President Obama should be impeached and charged with war crimes because he allowed a foreign military to use the CIA as their private assassins.
That this hasn't happened, and that Obama hasn't even been threatened with such actions, is an indictment of the U.S. Congress -- and the American mainstream news media, which for the most part studiously ignored and even distorted the facts with regard to Obama's version of drone warfare. The upshot is that outside those Americans who closely follow war news and specifically news regarding drone warfare, the American public is tragically ignorant of the facts.

With regard to your other comments about Obama; again, they are poorly informed. And with regard to my comment about his "poll-driven spine," he is notorious among Democratic and Republican party insiders for his "poll-driven spine." His attempt to pander to both sides of the Ground Zero mosque issue is a perfect example.