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Monday, September 12, 2011

  • From One Ground Zero to Another: Sister of 9/11 Victim Meets Afghan Who Lost Family in U.S. Bombing

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    As the world marks the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, we go back 10 years and revisit a remarkable conversation between two New Yorkers: Rita Lasar and Masuda Sultan. Rita Lasar lost her brother, Abe Zelmanowitz, on the 27th floor of the World Trade Center. He worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield. He refused to leave until emergency workers came to help rescue his best friend, Ed, a paraplegic. They died along with so many others. A few days later, President George W. Bush invoked Abe’s story in his speech at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., calling him a hero. His sister Rita promptly wrote a letter to the New York Times urging Bush not to bomb Afghanistan. "It is in my brother’s name and mine that I pray that we, this country that has been so deeply hurt, not do something that will unleash forces we will not have the power to call back." That is, of course, exactly what the United States did several weeks later. Untold thousands have died in the decade since then, among them the family of Masuda Sultan, an Afghan woman living in New York at the time of the 9/11 attack. She soon got word that 19 members of her family had been killed in a U.S. bomb attack in Afghanistan. They had moved to a farmhouse outside Kandahar to escape the attacks. It was there that they were bombed. When Masuda Sultan and Rita Lasar met in our studio in 2002, she had just returned from her native Afghanistan where she met with surviving members of her family. We begin with a report she did for Democracy Now! as she made her way to Afghanistan from Pakistan while investigating the bombing. [includes rush transcript]

  • Ten Years After 9/11, Little-Known Sikh Community Still Target of Violence and Harassment

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    We continue our 9/11 anniversary coverage with a look at the Sikh-American community. The Sikh faith is the fifth-largest religion in the world, and there are as many as half a million members in the United States. Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Sikh Americans faced many of the same discriminatory conditions as Muslims and Arab Americans. Because of their distinct appearance, they were visible targets of violence and harassment. Democracy Now!’s Jaisal Noor filed this report, produced with Free Speech Radio News. [includes rush transcript]

  • Attica Is All of Us: Cornel West on 40th Anniversary of Attica Prison Rebellion

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    This week marks the 40th anniversary of another 9/11 tragedy: the Attica prison rebellion. On September 9, 1971, prisoners took over much of state prison in Attica, New York, to protest conditions at the maximum security prison. Then Governor Nelson Rockefeller ordered state police to storm the facility on the morning of September 13. Troopers shot indiscriminately more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition, killing 39 male prisoners and guards. After the shooting stopped, police beat and tortured scores of more prisoners, many of whom were seriously wounded but were initially denied medical care. After a quarter century of legal struggles, the state of New York would eventually award the surviving prisoners of Attica $12 million in damages. We play an excerpt from a September 9 commemoration at Riverside Church in New York City, "Attica Is All of Us," featuring Cornel West, professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University and the author of numerous books on race. "So, 40 years later, we come back to commemorate this struggle against the historical backdrop of a people who have been so terrorized and traumatized and stigmatized that we have been taught to be scared, intimidated, always afraid, distrustful of one another, and disrespectful of one another," West says. "But the Attica rebellion was a countermove in that direction." [includes rush transcript]