I didn't travel to New York to cover the America-bashing, anti-Israel left. I didn't even Google around to see if there were big antiwar demonstrations planned. I just wasn't thinking about it. I was too excited to see New York, to be in the city in body and spirit with my fellow Americans and patriots. I did see the big group of 9/11 truthers, of course. They stayed out and about throughout the day, right at Ground Zero. Those people are shocking to me. I can't fathom the scale of conspiracies these people concoct. I deal with it by documenting their exploits. Evil fringe crowd, and demented.
It turns out there were some large leftist mobilizations on 9/11. The most prominent was sponsored by Ramsey Clark's International Action Center (IAC): "Emergency Mobilization Against Racism and Anti-Muslim Bigotry." According to Discover the Networks, the IAC "serves as an umbrella foundation for a host of anti-war radical groups, and is staffed by members of the Workers World Party (WWP), a Marxist-Leninist vanguard that idolizes the former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and regards Fidel Castro as a hero of the common man." Weasel Zippers has a report, "In Keeping With Solemn Mood of The 9/11 Occasion – Pro Mosque Crowd Ring Bells, Bang Drums and Chant." Also, Politico cites the crowd at 2,000 people: "At Ground Zero, Sept. 11 Gets Political."
I became a bit claustrophobic during the SIOA rally, and took off after Geert Wilders spoke. I wanted to say hello to Pamela Geller, of course, but the police had blocked entry to the sidewalks surrounding the speakers' stand, so I ended up just cruising around again. At one point, back over by the Information Booth on Vesey, I came across an abandoned sign from the IAC's morning protest:
Flipping over the sign:
And here's a mosque protester I didn't see earlier in the day. she's observing the heated argument that just broke out on the corner. A policeman came over just after this to break up the crowd:
This is one block past Park Place, Murray Street, I think. I start walking down to West Broadway to try one more time at greeting Pamela. I came across this group of kids, with their signs attacking "racist fearmongering," sponsored by Stop Islamophobia.org, which is a front for the IAC neo-communist coalition:
Next I decided to walk up to this fellow below and I ask: "Hey, if I oppose the Ground Zero Mosque, are you going to call me a racist?" He says, "I don't even know you." And I say, "Right. And you don't know the other 82 percent of Americans who oppose the mosque, but you're calling them racists." He says, "No, no. We don't think everyone's racist." I begged to differ, and after making more lame excuses, he breaks out a protest flyer featuring pictures of Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. He says, "This is who we're talking about. These people are racists." I tell him I know both Pamela and Robert, and they're not racists. He starts whining about alleged hate speech on their blogs, or something. By this time he's flustered, and another older guy with an Islamic skull cap comes over and picks up the debate, changing the subject to "U.S. imperialism," "war for oil," and all the tired old communist tropes. I told him I wasn't here to argue about it. I was simply challenging their claims of racism, and they ended up changing the subject when they realized they couldn't call me a racist to my face. That's how you handle these idiots. Call them out. Debunk their efforts to shut down debate. Throw it back in the faces and watch the mumbling begin:
By this time crowds from the SIOA rally start making their way up toward Church Street. I keep walking, but the cops wouldn't let me near the stage, and after taking a few more pics I started walking toward City Center to catch the subway back to my motel. I came across this guy over by City Hall, posing for pictures with the tourists. He's a black dude with an interesting New York accent. Pointing at left, he says, "That's Malcolm X's dawwtah," regaling me with his knowledge of American Muslim history. He was a friendly guy, but I didn't stick around long:
That was the last of these folks, but check out these videos c/o Ghost of a Flea. It's the same old same old, but each year these folks get even more brazen. Notice all the signage (not tea party-ish, at all). And of course the chants of "Allahu Akbar!":