>9/11 #9

>Maggi Dawn’s blog led me to Charles Strohmer‘s excellent piece on the contorversy surrounding this year’s 9/11 anniversary. News coverage has been centred on the threatened Qur’an burnings – which has taken over from this solemn time of remembrance.

Elsewhere, Strohmer draws attention to Greek theatre and the development of theory. he writes:

“in the theatrical culture of ancient Greece, … their words for theater and theory meant very nearly the same thing. Theatron (our theater) meant “the seeing place,” or the “place for seeing” or “viewing” the performing arts. (Similar meanings are found in the Latin and French for theater.) Theoria (our theory) meant “looking at,” “seeing,” “viewing,” which for us today has come to indicate speculation or contemplation as opposed to action.”

This is a good way to look at learning. When we see “interplay” and “interaction” we draw conclusions – or formulate theories – which then inform our responses. In the UK we have a strong tradition of “Remembrance” to remember those who have lost their lives in war. There is great theatre attached to Remembrance, with veterans parading and showing their respect, the wearing of poppies, and the re-play of wartime experiences. This helps us “to see” and “find meaning” and shapes our responses.

Imam Rauf

The media have been sucked in by Rev Terry Jones’s stunt for his planned Qur’an burning. The real action for spotlighting is the thing that Jones is complaining about. He has missed the plot – and the reality is summed up by Strohmer who describes the real purpose of the project Jones is re-acting against. That purpose seems to me to be a really faithful attempt to make sense of what is happening based on the theory that “a broad multifaith coalition can help to repair the damage that has been done to Muslim-American relations over the past fifty years.” (from What’s right with Islam by Imam Rauf)

Here’s what Strohmer says:

The Park51 project is somewhat modeled after the famous multi-use 92nd Street Y. The wide-ranging programs for their proposed community center would include recreational facilities, such as a swimming pool and gym; exhibition space; conference rooms for education and forums, such as about empowering Muslim women; space for weddings and parties; day care and a senior center; areas for interfaith activity and prayer spaces for Jews, Christians, and people of other faiths; and cultural spaces, including a 500 seat theater for the performing arts. In other words, the center will be open to everyone and anyone.