It’s 9/11 in America. I feel like every year for the past nine years, we’ve been questioning our identity, our values in this country. I wanted to remind myself that this is not a country of people like Terry Jones. Rather, this is a country where people like Terry Jones might end up all over the news, but also where Lee Ielpi, Henry Rollins, Amman Ali and Bassam Tariq can carve out their say. So here are a collection of things I saw and heard that gave me a broader view.
This blog is written by Muslim American Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq, comedian and filmmaker respectively, who took a Ramadan road trip to discover Muslim America in all its grand variety and culinary cultures. To me, they are emblematic of a present-day version of the Beat Generation, an On the Road where writers are inspired by diversity and the Internet, rather than drugs and jazz. One of my favorite posts is from Santa Ana, California, a city near me with substantial Southeast Asian population. Ali and Tariq visited a mosque that serves the Cambodian community there. Tariq writes:
I see a man entering the mosque and wait for him to enter so I can take a great candid shot. I begin snapping when he enters. AHHH!! The man screams and flings his back to the camera.
I freak out. Did I do something wrong?
“That is Harun, he is the masjid caretaker,” Mohammad Saeed, the president of the mosque, says, “he was hit by a claymore in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge. He is not all there. Please excuse him.”
The stories are brisk and dense, and the photos really carry the blog, so be sure to click on the link.
Even if you don’t like every track, artist-DJ-rock-and-roller Henry Rollins is always interesting. His is truly a diverse mind that spans space and time to create mixes that somehow make a lot of sense. Need a soundtrack for a thoughtful evening? Listen to the tunes of his 9/11 show. KCRW has not archived the audio from this really thoughtful show, which aired this evening, but if/when they do, listen to Rollin’s introduction as well.
UPDATE: The show is online now, so press play and enjoy.