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Cornell Celebrates 9/11 By: Joe Sabia
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, September 12, 2003


Cornell University’s official September 11 Commemoration event was advertised as offering “reflections on the tragedy and comments on its continuing implications.” Instead, the ceremony quickly morphed into an outrageous Leftist rant on the evils of American oppression.

Reverend Kenneth I. Clarke, director of Cornell United Religious Work, was the host and star of Cornell’s 9/11 show. With nary an American flag present (save a few carried by members of the College Republican club), Clarke began his remarks by comparing the September 11 attacks to other world tragedies:

“We share in the global community of tragedy...Thirty years ago on September 11, Chilean President Salvador Allende was assassinated. On September 11, 1977, the South African leader Stephen Biko was killed...We share in a collective tragedy.”

Kenneth Clarke,
	Director of CURW
September 11, 2003: Rev. Clarke commemorates the 9/11 attacks by denouncing American “racism, sexism, and homophobia.”

A lot of things have happened in the history of mankind on September 11. On September 11, 1789, Alexander Hamilton was appointed Secretary of the Treasury. On September 11, 1965, the Beatles' “Help” went to number one on the charts. But Cornell students did not attend a September 11 ceremony to hear about all of the interesting events that occurred on that particular day in world history. And they certainly didn’t come to hear about how the 9/11 attacks were morally equivalent to a Chilean military coup that ousted a Marxist.

In point of fact, students came to commemorate the day that 3000 of our fellow countrymen were slaughtered by Islamic fanatics. Frankly, most Cornell administrators would like students to forget this. Men like Kenneth Clarke want Americans to ponder the “global community’s struggles“ on 9/11.

Following Clarke’s remarks, Professor Cynthia Farina, associate dean of the faculty, read poetry about “wild geese” and then began to cry. It was a stirring scene for all those who get choked up about fowl metaphors.

Later, Richard Riley, director of the Cornell Sage Chapel Choir, introduced the song that his group would be performing — “America the Beautiful.” Just kidding. Instead, they performed a song about the Underground Railroad (what else?) called “Steel Away.” According to Riley, the slave song would get us all in touch with the “multi-layered” nature of the 9/11 attacks.

Finally, Clarke returned to the podium for his closing comments. He asked the audience to ponder the question, “How shall we live two years separated from the tragedy of September 11?” Clarke offered his answers:

“We must reject simplistic approaches and solutions to the [world’s] complex problems...[we must] challenge our ideologies ... we must consider the current war with Iraq and the degree of disquiet that is left with us as a society.”

Clarke then attempted to understand each terrorist’s inner child by quoting the National Council of Churches: “[We must consider the] sources of anger, hate, and dehumanization ... that lead to acts of violence.” Citing the work of Leftist academic Martha Nussbaum, Clarke urged us to “think beyond“ America and instead look to the global community for solidarity:

“We must have a deeper comprehension of the concern, anxiety, and fear [of others in the world] and understand the wrongs they suffer...[as well as] the societal problems we must address — racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-religious sentiment, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia.”

Only at an academic institution like Cornell could a so-called reverend get up in front of a crowd of people and solemnly declare that the great lesson of 9/11 was for Americans to recognize our inherent homophobia and sexism. If Clarke had made that statement in the heartland of America, he would have been laughed at and booed off the stage. But in the academy, this man is honored and revered.

Clarke concluded his inappropriate remarks by warning us of the “hazard of [American] supremacy” and urging us to “seize the moment to grow [out of our] us versus them” mentality.

Cornell University is descending into a moral tar pit. On one of the most solemn days of the year, the University could have honored the military, reinvigorated patriotism on campus, and stood in firm support of liberty. Instead, the Leftist administration used the occasion to bash America. And the sad truth is that Cornell will never understand the significance of the 9/11 attacks because it no longer understands America.


Joe Sabia is an assistant professor of consumer economics at the University of Georgia.


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