A Decade After 9/11: Looking Back, and Forging Ahead
September 11, 2011
Ten years ago on September 11, 2001, staff members of the Muste Institute and our movement tenant groups watched from the roof of the "Peace Pentagon" as the Twin Towers burned and fell.
Within a few days we created a banner with the message: “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” We put the banner up on the south side of our parapet on Sept. 17, where it lasted nearly two years and was seen by tens of thousands of people.
In the weeks following the terror attacks, the Muste Institute set up an emergency grant program for activist groups working against war and defending civil liberties in response to the post-September 11 climate of militarism and repression. Between October and December 2001, our "September 11 Emergency Fund" made 18 grants ranging from $300 to $500 each. Grantees included established groups as well as a number of ad hoc committees formed in response to 9/11--some of which are still working for peace 10 years later. See the full list of grants here: ajmuste.org/911grants.htm
The Muste Institute also awarded a start-up grant to September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, which is marking this 10th anniversary by asking people to expand their compassion to include innocent families in Afghanistan and Iraq experiencing war and political strife and those suffering economically because of rising military budgets. Read more at peacefultomorrows.org.
We later made a grant and acted as fiscal sponsor for Ground Zero for Peace – 9/11 First Responders Against War, which made several trips to Afghanistan to meet with emergency workers there.
In the spring of 2002, post 9/11 repression hit close to home when the federal government detained a local Palestinian community organizer and radio producer who spent a lot of time around the Muste building. Farouk Abdel-Muhti was active with the Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants (CHRI), a Muste Institute sponsored project, grantee and tenant group sharing an office with Nicaragua Solidarity Network. In April 2007 the Muste Institute granted $2,000 to Life or Liberty for “Enemy Alien,” a documentary about the two-year struggle to free Farouk, which was based largely out of that office. The film has just been released by Third World Newsreel and is being screened at festivals and venues across the U.S. and Canada. In it, filmmaker Konrad Aderer explores the post 9/11 crackdown on Muslim, Arab and South Asian immigrants through the lens of his own family history of Japanese internment during World War II. For details: www.lifeorliberty.org.
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