View Full Version : Raina Wallens Speaks For Her Husband, and For Me!

Gayle in MD
09-11-2010, 09:47 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><span style='font-size: 14pt'>This time of year is always very hard for me. The rapid drop in humidity, the crispness of the air and clear blue of the sky that prior to September 11, 2001 could only be described as deliciously divine now catapult many 9/11 victims and family members, such as myself, immediately back to the sheer horror of that day nine years ago, and the weeks, months and years following. The actual anniversary day is the most harrowing for many. I say "for many," because unlike the leaders of the organizations protesting what they've coined the "Ground Zero mosque," I don't claim to speak for all 9/11 family members. We are an enormous and diverse group, with varied opinions. But for many, the anniversary can be a day of sacred remembrance, of relived visceral terror (not helped by the bombardment of crass media coverage), and of many, many other private rituals and feelings 9/11 family members have.

Now, if the likes of Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, conservative bloggers and founders of an organization called Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), have their way, the anniversary will also be a day for their anti-'mosque' rally near Ground Zero. (Notice I say "near" and not "at" because little details like the truth actually matter to me.) SIOA, the organization largely responsible for making the "Ground Zero mosque" a national issue, will seize upon the opportunity to exploit our devastating losses to promote their agenda of hate.

Here's an excerpt from a press release on SIOA's website, condemning President Obama's statement that Park51 developers have the right to build a mosque on private property: "This is an issue of national dignity and respect for those who were murdered at that site in the name of Islam... Where is the Muslim compassion for the grief and the pain of not just the 9/11 families but of all Americans?"

Really? Is this "human rights" organization really concerned with honoring the memory of my late husband, Blake, and the thousands of others who were killed on September 11, 2001? Are they truly outraged over Park51 developers' insensitivity to my grief and pain? If Geller and Spencer proceed with their planned 9/11 rally, they are doing exactly what they accuse the Park51 backers of: showing an utter lack of sensitivity to the emotions of 9/11 family members and victims. If you want a true picture of how sensitive Pamela Geller is to 9/11 family members, read how she describes her horror at not being able to run a bus ad with an image of the burning towers and a plane about to strike. She filed a lawsuit and the MTA has consequently agreed to let her run the ads, which may be legal, but are sensational and completely insensitive to the fact that many 9/11 victims and family members might not want to glimpse those painful images on their morning commute.

I know there are 9/11 family members who are opposed to the development of Park51, and of course that's their right, as it's also their right to speak out against it. When I first heard about the mosque (and not everything I heard was true), a tight, prickly knot rose in my throat. I wondered why anyone would want to build a mosque so close to the World Trade Center site. I questioned the motives of the developers. But the more I read about Park51 and its backers, the clearer it became to me that their decision showed immense naiveté and their planning displayed a poor sense of judgment. Regrettable? Yes. But not reprehensible. Like many New Yorkers, part of me wishes that Sharif el-Gamal had never come up with the plan for this location in the first place. But also like many New Yorkers, I understand the city's, and the neighborhood's, geography. The proposed Park51 building is two blocks from the World Trade Center site - there is already a mosque four blocks away. What's more, Imam Rauf has been leading prayers at this very location for months. And of course, the backers have the legal right to build Park51. Which, in the name of accuracy, is planned to be an Islamic community center with a mosque within (sort of an Islamic JCC or Y), and not an "Islamic supremacist mega mosque," as others would have you believe.

What is reprehensible is fomenting and perpetuating the same type of bigotry and hatred that fueled the terrorists to kill my husband. I'm flabbergasted as I read websites like SIOA and Atlas Shrugs. How can Geller pass off her hate-fueled hyperbole and lies as facts? (If there's any doubt that my question is rhetorical, please note that one of Pamela Geller's great claims to fame is her propagation of the claim that President Obama might be the illegitimate son of Malcolm X.)

Although she was once a marginal figure, Geller has now attracted a national and international audience and has achieved some mainstream notability, or at least notoriety. The planned September 11 rally will have not only Pamela Geller in attendance, but also the truth-seeker Andrew Breitbart (of Shirley Sherrod edit-and-splice fame) and Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders (who proposes taxing Muslim women who wear head coverings, wants to ban the Koran, and was banned from entering the UK for a period in 2009 because he was seen as "a threat to one of the fundamental interests to society").

All of the anti-Park51 rhetoric is filled with concern for 9/11 family members, and an insistence on honoring the memory of the people that died that day. If that were really their mission, these "concerned citizens" wouldn't come anywhere near the World Trade Center site on the 9/11 anniversary. There have been rumors, but none that I've been able to substantiate, that some Park51 supporters plan to hold a counter rally on the anniversary, which I would oppose for the same reasons as stated above. It should also be noted that while at least two 9/11 families groups have publicly stated their opposition to the anti-Park51 rally on September 11, members of another 9/11 organization plan to attend it. As I said, we're a diverse group, which is why no organization should purport to speak for all of us. Blake was, amongst many other things, a man of great integrity, intelligence, and acceptance. Associating him with extremist movements like SIOA and their false claims and bigoted attacks is an insult to his memory.</span>