Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Deepening Gloom About Ground Zero's Future:

The Freedom Tower, promoted as an image of the city's resurrection, has been transformed into a stern fortress - a symbol of a city still in the grip of fear. The World Trade Center memorial has been enveloped by a clutter of memorabilia.

And the promise that culture would play a life-affirming role has proved false now that Gov. George E. Pataki has warned that freedom of expression at ground zero will be strictly controlled. ("We will not tolerate anything on that site that denigrates America, denigrates New York or freedom, or denigrates the sacrifice and courage that the heroes showed on Sept. 11," he has said.) The Freedom Center, the Drawing Center, the performing arts center that would house the tiny Signature Theater Company and Joyce Theater - all now risk being dumped, either because they are viewed as lacking in sufficient patriotism or because officials were only toying with them in the first place.

On this anniversary weekend, it may be time to face up to what few have wanted to acknowledge: that nothing of value can be built at ground zero while the anguish and anxiety remain so fresh - nor while political and economic forces are eager to exploit those emotions.

3:37 PM