Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Meet the Freedom Experts

The Circus McGurkus! The cream of the cream!
The Circus McGurkus! The Circus Supreme!
The Circus McGurkus! Colossal! Stupendous!
Astounding! Fantastic! Terrific! Tremendous!
I'll bring in my acrobats, jugglers and clowns
From a thousand and thirty-three faraway towns
To the place where you'll see 'em in, ladies and gents,
Right behind Sneelock's Store, in the Great McGurk tents!

But that's just my Side Show. A start. A beginning.
This way to the Big Tent! You'll find your head spinning.
Why, ladies and gentlemen, youngsters and oldsters,
Your heads will quite likely spin right off your shouldsters!

Dr. Seuss, If I Ran the Circus

Families of 9/11 victims are protesting the inclusion of the International Freedom Center as the gateway to the World Trade Center Memorial (information here and here).

The IFC tells us: "The International Freedom Center will be a world-class place of education and engagement, helping people to understand, appreciate and advance freedom’s narrative of hope. The Center will be an integral part of humanity’s response to September 11, rising from the allowed ground of the World Trade Center site, and serving as the gateway and complement to the World Trade Center Memorial ... the International Freedom Center has reached out to an extraordinary roster of scholars, educators, museum directors, and cultural leaders who provided their input and expertise."

Promising a "narrative of hope" lets us know right at the start that we are in Postmodern Country, not the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Here's the "extraordinary roster" of folks who will give us the dope - education, engagement, and narratives of hope!

Alex Boraine, Founder and President of the International Center for Transitional Justice. Boraine is a former advisor to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the man who once told us that we could all "go to Hell" and take our nasty country with us - but let's let bygones be bygones. The ICTJ is not an institution particularly devoted to "Freedom", it's devoted to "Social and Economic Equity", which tends to be a different kind of thing. They are also on the prowl for "reparations" - for more information on reparations and where you can send a check, see the booth at the ICTJ exhibit. Boraine is also a creature of George Soros, having been on the board of Soros' "Open Society Project".

Nicholas Gage, Investigative reporter and former Athens bureau chief for The New York Times.

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Professor, American University in Cairo and Chairman of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Ibrahim spent a year in an Egyptian prison and has spoken favorably about the spread of freedom and democracy in the Middle East, so this is probably the pick of the litter so far.

Martin Palous, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States.

Michael Posner, Executive Director of Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights). The board of that organization also includes Sigourney Weaver, but Michael Posner is the best they could spare for IFC duties. Human Rights First is part of the lynch mob over alleged Gitmo abuses, and God forbid we should have a "narrative of hope" that doesn't trumpet Koran desecrations by American Gulagers.

Ambassador Hector Timerman, Consul General of Argentina to New York. Timerman does not appear to be among those Argentines who hate the United States, having dared even to compliment Bush's free market policies, so we can hope.

Xu Wenli, visiting senior fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute of International Studies, and exiled founder of the Chinese Democratic Party.

Fareed Zakaria, Editor of Newsweek International. Let's hope the IFC has riot insurance. Zakaria's view of the War on Terror: "Since 9/11, a handful of officials at the top of the Defense Department and the vice president's office have commandeered American foreign and defense policy. In the name of fighting terror they have systematically weakened the traditional restraints that have made this country respected around the world. " [From "The Price of Arrogance", Newsweek, May 9 2004]

Rebecca Adamson, Founder and President of First Nations Development Institute, and founder of First Peoples Worldwide. Adamson certainly exemplifies one version of the American Dream of Freedom: Her bio states that in 1980, she cashed her unemployment check and traveled to New York, where she scored a $25,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to fund her work as a "Cherokee activist". The rest is history, or least Adamson's version of history. (More information on this at the First Peoples booth, next to the Wounded Knee exhibit - where you can probably get a CUSTER DIED FOR YOUR SINS t-shirt.) Adamson has a sideline in soft-core moral equivalence, recently stating: "Though it would take a foul turn of mind to compare Bush himself with the bloody-handed, butchery-minded Hussein, the fact is that he too now stands condemned. And in much of the world's eyes, America stands with him, condemned." Condemned, condemned, condemned.

Anthony Appiah, University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University, and Professor in the University Center for Human Values. Also known as Kwame Anthony Appiah. His qualifications as an expert in Freedom? It's either his admiration for Edward Said, or his relentless Bush-bashing. You be the judge.

Jean Harvey Baker, Professor of History at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. Wrote a book trashing President James Buchanan, which might come in handy somehow.

David Herbert Donald, Charles Warren Professor of History, Emeritus at Harvard University.

Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University. Now we're getting mad. Never mind that Foner's idea of freedom comes from the Cuba-loving Left. Never mind that Foner participated in the infamous Columbia rally which called for "a million Mogadishus". What really makes us mad is that the man who wrote "I’m not sure which is more frightening: the horror that engulfed New York City or the apocalyptic rhetoric emanating daily from the White House," is now tossing his two cents into a WTC memorial.

David Hackett Fischer, Professor at Brandeis University and author of Liberty & Freedom.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W.E.B. DuBois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, and Chair of the African and African-American Studies Departments. Time Magazine once said, "Combine the braininess of the legendary black scholar W.E.B. DuBois and the chutzpah of P.T. Barnum, and the result is Henry Louis Gates, Jr." This P.T. Barnum stuff impressed them so much, AOL Time Warner purchased the professor's website, Africana.com. They dressed it up with "Boondocks" comics and Stevie Wonder news.

Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute. The Aspen Institute, of course, is where people like Henry Louis Gates, Madelaine Albright, and Michael Eisner sit around and figger-out all the world's problems. They also soak up a lot of money from Boeing and Goldman Sachs execs, but what the hell, it's a free country.

Kenneth Jackson, President of the New-York Historical Society and the Jacques Barzun Professor of History and Social Sciences at Columbia University.

Bob Kerrey, President of New School University in New York City and former Governor of and Senator from Nebraska. Advisor to the My Lai exhibit?

Thomas Kessner, Professor of History at The City University of New York.

Pauline Maier, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of American History at MIT. Maier teachs a course in "Riots, Strikes, and Conspiracies in American History", which might come in handy.

John Raisian, Director and Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution.

Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. We'd almost forgotten that the ACLU was concerned about Freedom, especially the freedom of the kind of people who blew up the WTC.

John Edward Sexton, President of New York University.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. Professor Slaughter represented the freedom-loving Sandinistas in Nicaragua vs. US, World Kangaroo Court, 1984.

Theodore Sorensen, Policy adviser, legal counsel, and speechwriter for President John F. Kennedy. I didn't know Sorensen was still alive. Still walking around free, too.

Margot Stern Strom, Executive Director and President, Facing History and Ourselves. This organization is the answer to the question: "What do you get when you combine the Holocaust, 9/11, diversity training, multi-culti loopiness, and millions of George Soros' dollars?"

For an extraordinary roster of Freedom Fighters, sure seems like a lot of the same old stuff.