Over the past couple of weeks, the so-called “Ground Zero” mosque and Pastor Terry Jones’s “Burn the Quran” campaign has taken over the airwaves – everywhere. Neither issue deserves much attention.
Pastor Terry Jones, from Gainesville, Florida (which I feel the US should sell to Cuba ever since the 2000 elections recount – it could’ve saved everyone from Bush), holds a parish of 50 people. Florida is popular for a few things Disney World, Miami (well not so much anymore), Universal Studios, the Bush-Gore recount elections, oranges, and alligators – not much going on there.
Just because Florida decided the fate of the presidency by default in the 2000 Bush-Gore elections does not mean it gets to produce people who just can't seem to mind their business and decide on where and what can be built in New York - I mean, who died and made him real-estate guru?
Clearly, Pastor Jones has an attention-seeking disorder of some sort drowned in his ‘I-am-white-Christian-and-mighty’ attitude. Would he have burned the Holy Quran if there were no cameras – probably not – if he couldn’t do it with the cameras on him then he will never do it.
If Pastor Jones received more than a second of media attention these past weeks then he got too much media coverage – ignorant people don’t need attention they need redemption.
As for the “Ground Zero Mosque” better known in the real world as Park51, originally known as the Cordoba House, is a cultural center which will have recreation and fitness space, an auditorium, restaurant/culinary school, cultural amenities, educational programs, a library, childcare services, a prayer space open to all members, visitors and the community and a September 11th memorial and quiet contemplation space, open to all.
Its sounds all fancy and what not but in true New York spirit – who cares?
There are many mosques in New York, near and far from Ground Zero, what’s the big deal? It wont change nothing in New York except that pool might come in handy during those humid summer days, but they will probably charge some membership fee and I ain’t gonna pay, period.
And just like Papa Lobello from Lobello’s pizzeria from my old hood in Ozone Park, Queens would say, “They ain’t doin’ me no favours – so fuggedaboutit – have a calzone.”
While I watched the news unravel in my city – yes I am a typical egocentric, sarcastic and cynical New Yorker – I could not help but remember September 11th. There is something grand about New Yorkers – do you how many times I have seen a naked man streak through the subway – twice – and no one flinched or cared except for the tourists, of course.
And on the most awful day for the world – because the world still feels the ramifications of September 11th – New York was just as stubborn. The next day coffee shops were open, people went to work, they went to help, no one stopped – this is the legitimate 24 hour city. Go ahead and take a day off in New York after two feet of snow – your boss will laugh in your face and then tell you make sure you come in on time.
New Yorkers are resilient people because we don’t care about what anyone else thinks…so why do these things suddenly matter now?
The elections are coming up soon; the Republicans and Tea Party supporters are gaining favour among the polls – President Obama’s ratings have dropped by nearly 40 per cent in the last few months.
The only reason Pastor Jones and the cultural center are an issue is because they are getting the attention neither deserves.
Pastor Jones’ parish of 50 something will get donations from right-wing and supremacists groups to expand his anti-Islam ideology and church – he might buy a new car and/or trim his moustache.
Park51 just got all the publicity it will ever need as well – it will never have to pay a public relations fee or set up a fund raiser.
Support for different political parties will shift, then something else will happen and it will explode all over the airwaves – then another shift will occur. In the meantime, I won’t waste another minute thinking about these issues because I want to dream about my calzone…
Sadef A. Kully is a reporter for Dawn.com
The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.