Volume 17, Number 49 | April 29 — May 05, 2005

Letters to the editor

Romanian opposition

To The Editor:
I read “On the road: Romania (feeling beat)” (The Penny Post, April 22 - 28).

There are a lot of things that can and need to be improved, deep holes and pollution are just two good examples. But, it would be unfair to depict my country only in such bad terms.

The article was resentful, too biased and thus unprofessional. That part, “...you can spend some pleasant hours in a windowless Bucharest basement with two chain-smoking intellectuals on either side of you...” was unfair (but funny for me). We Romanians have a lot of things to be proud of, starting with our well-prepared engineers (just ask Microsoft about their level of expertise) to very powerful and beautiful relationships within our families (that you as Americans should learn from).

If the intention of the article was to show us as a tribe just coming out of the Stone Age — it succeeded. But it is an exaggerated, incomplete description that sadness me. So, I have just one question for mister Andrei Codrescu: Are you so bloody ignorant sir, or is it just about bad manners (maybe because of some missing years of “home” education)?

Madalin Moise
Bucharest, Romania

Truth in the memorial

To The Editor:
Re “Overlooking the site where the father recovered his son” (news article, April 1 – 7):

Mr. Ielpi is precisely right; the history of Sept. 11, with of course, primary emphasis on 8:03 a.m., when L.A.-bound American Airlines Flight 11 made a left turn at the Hudson River toward N.Y.C., to 10:29 a.m., when Tower One of the W.T.C. collapsed, must be faithfully conveyed, both in fact and visceral impact. We are indebted to both those murdered 9/11 and to future generations to tell the truth.

It is this truth that must be etched in stone.

How do we do this?

In “Reflecting Absence,” memorial designer Michael Arad lists the names of those killed randomly without regard for the facts of the day: Lisa Egan, 31 and her sister Samantha, 24, worked together at Cantor Fitzgerald. They shared a “Flyer of the Missing” and were most certainly together when the end came, however it came. Arad would separate them.

This memorial is about us. And as such, its meaning and purpose will end with us. It is a memorial that disregards the past and the future; it is dedicated solely to the present. 

There will be, in fact, and by the jury’s directive, nothing of historical reference to the attacks of Sept. 11 visible at the site where the attacks happened.

Great space inside of “Ground Zero” is being turned over to large buildings to house a dance theater, a stage theater, and a museum of drawing. Also to traffic, the “Freedom Tower” and something called “The International Freedom Center,” centering on “humankind’s enduring quest for freedom,” “created expressively for the World Trade Center Site.” Ironically, the “memorial center” of Sept. 11 will be found beneath this building, virtually in its basement with any artifacts from the W.T.C. such as building parts and crushed fire trucks taken from view.

Vartan Gregorian, head of the Carnegie Foundation, past president of the New York Public Library and chairman of the memorial jury, wrote recently, (and generally accurately) that though we live in historic times, Americans are “ahistorical” and often unappreciative of history. Criticizing an effort to prevent college students from studying the Koran he wrote, “It would seem a self evident notion that gaining knowledge means gaining understanding, not rushing down the garden path to indoctrination.”

That spirit also applies to the place now called “Ground Zero,” and where visitors will go to attain knowledge and hopefully, truth. The truth — not what some would want to leave them with.

Michael Burke
Michael Burke’s brother, Capt. William F. Burke, Jr. of Engine 21, was killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

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