Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The case of Mohammad Salman Hamdani

Well, Happy New Year, everybody. I said goodbye to 2011 and greeted 2012 watching Coldplay perform on television here in Las Vegas, after which I took my young cousin out into the cold (mid-30s at that point) and watched the spectacular pyrotechnics from a safe and sane distance. This was apparently a record-setting New Year's Eve, which is a welcome sign for Nevadans.

Had I been in Seoul, I would have marched from my apartment down to Chongno to either watch or hear the new year literally being rung in. One thing that was cool, though, was that NBC Nightly News highlighted the Seoul celebration in their December 31 broadcast.

Anyway, I'm still on the Mainland stamping out sparks and putting out fires in what has become a sometimes amusing but sometimes hair-pullingly galling health, financial, and emotional drama. Some day I may write about my big adventure in prose form; in the spirit of Shakespeare, whether t'is ultimately a comedy or a tragedy will depend on whether we all get out alive. 

I will be back to regular posting more either later in the week or by the middle of the month. The odd thing is, though, that Kim Jong-il's death and Kim Jong-un's cosmetic rise has pushed my hit rate up far higher than usual, even though I'm hardly writing any new stuff.

In the meantime, though I'd like to nudge you toward this story in the New York Times, about a Muslim Pakistani-American who was killed in the 9/11 terror attacks when he was responding to the emergency:
He was buried after the Sept. 11 attacks with full honors from the New York Police Department, and proclaimed a hero by the city’s police commissioner. He is cited by name in the Patriot Act as an example of Muslim-American valor.

And Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, one of two Muslim members of Congress, was brought to tears during a Congressional hearing in March while describing how the man, a Pakistani-American from Queens, had wrongly been suspected of involvement in the attacks, before he was lionized as a young police cadet who had died trying to save lives.

Despite this history, Mohammad Salman Hamdani is nowhere to be found in the long list of fallen first responders at the National September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan.

Nor can his name be found among those of victims whose bodies were found in the wreckage of the north tower, where his body was finally discovered in 34 parts.

Instead, his name appears on the memorial’s last panel for World Trade Center victims, next to a blank space along the south tower perimeter, with the names of others who did not fit into the rubrics the memorial created to give placements meaning. That section is for those who had only a loose connection, or none, to the World Trade Center.
A tragedy on top of tragedy that, frankly, reminded me of this bit of satire I wrote in August 2010 during the "Ground Zero Mosque" nonsense.


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