Panel Discussion — The Outsider 8/19/21. (view on: YouTube)
- Pamela Yoder — Filmmaker
- Steve Rosenbaum — Filmmaker
- Elizabeth Miller — Daughter of Firefighter / 9/11 Families for Peace and Justice
- Michael Berenbaum / fmr Director: The U. S. Holocaust Memorial
- Todd Fine / Historian & Advocate
- Moderator: Graham Raymond / Reporter NY Daily News
Graham Raymond: Hi, my name is Graham Raymond, I’m a reporter with the New York Daily News, and we’ve just seen the new documentary, The Outsider, which delves into the kind of back story about the development and the development of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. And we have kind of a treat today. We have the filmmakers with us, Steven Rosenbaum and Pamela Yoder to just have a little discussion about the movie on issues that are raised. And I just wanted to invite folks to introduce themselves. Go ahead.
Pam Yoder: Thanks, Graham. Appreciate that. So I’m Pam Yoder. I’m a director or co-director of the film, also an executive producer. And what you just watched is the culmination of literally 20 years worth of work on 9/11. We were kind of close to the towers and ended up collecting footage which became an archive and then shooting for the last six years behind the scenes at the Memorial Museum. It’s a longitudinal documentary. So it took us a long time. So now this is it. You just saw our work. And so I hope you enjoyed it.
Steven Rosenbaum: I’m Steven Rosenbaum, I’m also a co-director and executive producer of the film, and I don’t have much more to say at this point, except that the film has been a labor of love and a perilous journey. And I’m glad we’re all here.
Elizabeth Miller: My name is Elizabeth Miller and I am a 9/11 family member. I lost my father, firefighter Douglas Miller, on 9/11 and I am currently a rule of law fellow for peace organization called September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.
Michael Berenbaum. I am Michael Berenbaum. I watch these films through Unique Eyes because I help create museums, I was project director overseeing the creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. So I’ve been through every phase of the development of museum, and I probably created about 14 or 15 museums throughout the world in the years since we opened the 1993.
And I guess for fairness sake, I worked with several of the people whom you got to meet in the film, whom you met the film.
Todd Fine. Hi, my name is Todd Fine, I am both a historian and an activist as a historian, I studied the September 11th Museum’s creation and have analyzed some of the people involved and the different constituencies that that advocated regarded. And as an activist, I was involved in some activism related to the presence of Arab Americans and the treatment of Islam in the museum. And I have strong thoughts about that and also some of what the museum doesn’t show, which is what the excuse me, what the film doesn’t show, which is the activists and family members and others outside of the museum who were lobbying for it to be different or to have different features in it.
Graham Raymond: Thanks a lot, everybody. I just wanted to just start with a thought to kind of get the conversation rolling. And I watched the film and one of the things I was thinking about was.
It’s an it seems to me that it’s it’s a museum where the struggle over the message, the message of what was being displayed overwhelmed sort of the agenda of. Of just developing a museum and sort of a balanced way, and I think you saw that struggle, you know, it wasn’t about. You saw that struggle in the documentary. It wasn’t just about having a sort of historical informational presentation of what happened, it was because they seemed to be very focused, at least in the late stages, at what the message that they were trying to convey was. And that’s not an experience that I have when I go to the Space Museum or many other Museum of Natural History or any other types of museums. And so just what did you think about that and what and if you don’t have an opinion on that, what what jumped out at you about the documentary?
Steven Rosenbaum: Well, I’ll just start by saying I don’t think either the film or the museum started out that way, I think at the initial stages. Everyone was kind of on the same page. The museum that Alice told Panni about and that Michael got hired to be the creative director and that everyone else, Jan and Lou and and and Tom Hennis began on was there was a shared vision. And I think it was pretty consistent in the early days. And as the film moves along and the museum moves along. You’re exactly right. There’s a parting and it becomes pretty extreme.
Michael Berenbaum. Well, I think let’s focus on that for a moment. Number one, the place from which you remember an event shaped, so you remember it. And this place is a sacred place and has a double function to play, which is a memorial and museum. The second thing is this was still on straight. As we are recording this today, it looks like the Taliban is going to take hold of Afghanistan.
So the question is, what is the meaning of one word, what has changed, what has not changed is an ongoing question was answered. We do not yet know. And consequently, they have an unsettled agenda because one doesn’t know what the conclusion is and what the message is. And that’s a struggle all the way through because it’s an ongoing issue. It’s not an issue that invites itself to closure.
Graham Raymond:: Elizabeth, what do you think about that?
Elizabeth Miller: I was going to say I wanted to add that. I think that’s a very important point, is that although the events of 9/11, the day of our fixed, we now know what happened. We could go through the hour, the minute of the towers collapsing, of rescue companies going in that we know. But with any event in history, there are complications and events that happen after the fact, and I think to have a fixed museum doesn’t help to educate the public about what happened on 9/11.
Again, just the day off is one thing, but as the museum. That is in charge of a historical narrative, you have to recognize that that narrative can’t be fixed, that you have to showcase, you know, whether positive or negative, what comes after. And like you said, Michael,
you know, parts of what happened on 9/11 and foreign policy, we’re still seeing that play out. And I think. You know, you have to be cautious and maybe selective about what’s put in the museum, but more could definitely be added to it to show you how this history has played out. Twenty years later.
Todd Fine: Yeah, I would also add that in the film, you know, there are politicians who are present when the museum opens and they’re celebrating, but there were there were political figures who were involved from the very beginning, from Governor Pataki, from President Bush, and then the the institution itself seen itself as a in a way, a political vehicle for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and who was the chair of the museum and had his own political interest in how they presented the message.
And I think one of that’s in some ways, that’s who maybe they’re most accountable to when they’re thinking about the politics of this message is there is their patron, Michael Bloomberg.
Michael Berenbaum. But also let’s look at something else, which is we look at different characters in the. Film differently today than they would have been seen. At the time in which the film was shot and nine one one, the most interesting of all, obviously, is Rudy Giuliani. Who has gone from a heroic figure to a farcical figure and whose appearance there does not command the attention and the respect that it once did.
And every every museum wrestles with the question of representing its donors, because without donors, you can’t build a museum representing the event and dealing with the political realities that you have to deal with, everything from zoning boards to construction to permits to all of those realities. So those tensions are normal and natural, and you always have to balance them in a very different way.
Pam Yoder: There’s no doubt that there that Alice struggled heroically with those agendas, but as we were saying earlier, you walk into the Air and Space Museum, you don’t feel. The kind of the same way as what kind of ended up happening in the museum, which is that it did kind of I mean, they worked so hard, but when you see the through line from the beginning and their energy and then at the end when they’re really wrestling, I think it informed how. They had to answer those pressures and diminish and put a cap on what was happening.
Todd Fine: I want to interject, actually, there was once a very famous Michael will know about this, a very famous episode at the Air and Space Museum about the Enola Gay. There was a huge contestation over the way that that plane should that plane just be shown factually as that’s the plane that dropped the atomic bomb, or should that plane be discussed in terms of the political ramifications of what the atomic bombing meant, which we’re also just we’re having an anniversary of that right now. So I don’t know. I I think I agree with Michael that there is always politics with any of this type of historical museum.
I don’t think the United 11 is unique, but I think it’s unique maybe to us, because 9/11 is just such a huge part of our lives, maybe more than any other event,
Pam Yoder: Part of the reason we made this film isn’t for us. Most of us were affected or were around when 9/11 happened. But this is about the next generations and generations after that. And what is this museum ultimately say about this event?
And as Elizabeth was saying, there’s been kind of a ripple effect. Well, there’s definitely been a ripple effect from what happened on 9/11. And I’m not so sure even the generations who were born yet are interested in 9/11. It’s almost like past history. So the museum should be that place because they’ve claimed that as the National 9/11 Museum and that they they are the arbiters of the information about it or the display of it. So my concern is not just about us, but. When we made the film, it’s about future generations.
Michael Berenbaum.: Well, let’s touch that, let’s touch on that for a moment. In one sense, you can’t understand how future generations will see it. Because future generations will look at the material that you present in very different ways. Let’s take a simple example.
In the aftermath of 9/11, when we invaded Afghanistan and we invaded Iraq, Afghanistan is now going to be looked at as a failure, a 20 year, the longest war, a failure in which precisely the forces that we sought to defeat have come to particular power. That was not true five years ago, wasn’t true 10 years ago. We have the invasion of Iraq and all that that represented.
And was that the correct way to respond to this? The incorrect way was the function. All of that, while we now have a greater understanding of Iraq’s future, generations are going to see that differently. And consequently, your most you have a couple of times you have to represent the event. You have to adjust its implications. And the most important and in one sense, you have a task because of America and an America doesn’t want a downer.
So the task of this museum and its ultimate task was also to talk about not only nine one one, but the aftermath of nine one one, which was this incredible sense of national unity and unity of purpose, the bloody resilience of New Yorkers in coming back. We now live in a time where we don’t have national unity.
GRAHAM: Michael, do you do you believe that that museums have you have the responsibility to to respond to these changes in the timeline that now that its curators now should should consider a new exhibition on the effects of two wars for 18 years, just to put it very, very simply over oversimplify it.
Michael Berenbaum. That’s what’s special. That’s what special exhibitions do. Museum was about to open a special exhibition on the capture of Osama bin Laden.
Elizabeth Miller:: They just to jump in. That was open. And and it was, of course, all but short lived because of the pandemic. But just to piggyback off of off of you, Michael, the museum does have rotating exhibition spaces, like you said, with the special exhibition and in other locations. And I think that’s something that is important to discuss because. OK. Maybe the exact. Daily events don’t need to be changed, but I think any sort of museum or educational institution and the museum does act as an educational institution. High schools go there. College students go there. I would kind of agree with what you said. There is a responsibility to make sure that you’re informing your audience and the museum is capable of doing that with some rotating exhibitions. And I’m not really sure I know what the pandemic things are difficult, but I’m not sure why that hasn’t been done before.
Sorry, Michael, but.
Michael Berenbaum. Well, look, rotating exhibitions or tools, you have you also in the museum as young. But you also have an organic growth of of an institution by virtue of the way in which the visitor sees things differently. Let me give you one for my business.
We didn’t have an exhibition on Oskar Schindler until Steven Spielberg opened Schindler’s List and everybody wanted to hear something about Oskar Schindler. It came in. We didn’t have an exhibition in the Holocaust Museum, but paid great attention to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion until Antisemitism wrote and said and the protocols took a new shape. So an institution has to grow. It has to evolve. And an answer to the first question, the visitor themselves change the nature of the exhibition by the eyes to see it.
Because they see it differently in different generations and ask different questions and consequently all of the tests of the educational staff. Is always to come to terms with the gap between what was lost five years ago and what’s being lost today,
Graham Raymond: is it is it is it then that it did? Do you folks think that some of the issue is sort of New Yorkers, having worked in the kitchen, don’t necessarily want to eat in the restaurant, but people come from all over the world to too. Is it that in other words, I think you get you understand what I’m getting at. The people who lived in intimately already know way more about the event than then, and they don’t need to go to a museum to deserve it.
Steven Rosenbaum: So here’s why I’m sure that’s not right. OK, so and I spent seven years making shooting this film and then another X years post producing and finishing it. We’ve been to the museum since it opened one time.
We work on 9/11 material every day. We talk about it every day. We look at footage. Every day we see new material. Every day we talk to people like on this panel every day. So there’s no part of that story that impacts us emotionally or makes us feel like we can’t do it. But we feel the thought of going back to the museum literally scares me because it’s underground, it’s dark, it’s immersive. And so so I’m not allergic to the 9/11 story at all, but I am fearful of the place.
Pam Yoder:: I wanted to interject that the dynamic that Michael Stulen brought to the museum. I’m interested in opinion about what he was saying and kind of where he I mean, did he make a difference there? Was that is that a normal process to go through? I’m curious about, I guess, a reaction that anyone here had that might want to comment on that.
Graham Raymond:: Yeah, I thought. I thought I was going to ask Michael, did did you have a twinge of familiarity as you watch them struggling over each individual object and trying to decide whether? And and then I also wanted to ask you on top of that, was the Holocaust Museum as buffeted by these multiple groups of multiple interest groups, the stakeholders as the museum describe them in the same way with the same level of intensity that happened here. The answer to the second question, yes. And I think that part of it. Look,
Michael Berenbaum.: let’s talk about the difference between Alice’s job and Michael’s job.
What else is doing her job? Well, for those who is the director of the project when she’s doing her job well, her first, second and third task is to protect her creative staff from the pressures of the politics and the donors. When I held that position, I said, my job is I’m responsible for everything wrong in NEWSROOM, you guys get full and complete credit for everything. That’s right. Michelle. Go ahead and the other thing is she’s got to also be given the freedom to make sure that people are not afraid of making a mistake. And one of the things you have to understand about a museum that’s different than a film about film closes. A bed museum space because he wants to redo it, it’s got a place and the physicality to it, Michael’s task, on the other hand, is to push for a visual.
And that’s that’s a creative tension all the way through, right? It’s got he’s got to be shielded and he’s got to push like crazy to be able to do it. And in the best sense of the term, what you try to do in that situation is to protect the creative thrust from the outside pressures
Pam Yoder: I still have a question, though, about some of the scenes in particular, Michael, when Michael when you were saying Alice needed to protect Michael, the the the Virgile quote ended up really. Michael’s Michael had a hard time with the push back on that.
And then also was Well, the the and the remains that were unidentified remains
and, you know,
Todd Fine: I think Michael was more comfortable with the pushback of the quote because he saw that it’s just sort of a purely intellectual dispute about whether this quotation defended the right people or not or whether it was directed toward the terrorists. I think it was the other criticism that he was taking more personally that involved, you know, the motivations of the people involved. And I actually was a little bit bothered by that because I felt that that meant he was sort of content.
Michael was sort of content to exist in this sort of intellectual space, maybe a little bit too much, and couldn’t absorbed some of the actual injuries to people that were that potentially the museum was was allowing.
STEVE: Elizabeth, one thing that people don’t know yet about you is that you work the.
So you have you have multiple hats in this conversation and until I met you. I I have been told for six and a half years that all of these hard decisions were being made for the families. And when I met you, you waved your hands in the air and said, no, no, no, they were unhappy, which I don’t think people know.
Elizabeth Miller: So I think. That’s another difficult thing, because there’s my cat, as I expected you have to be careful because nearly three thousand people died if every individual have just one family member. OK, that’s nearly 40 million people. How could you possibly please. All sorts of family members, it’s not it’s not possible, but I think the museum focuses maybe on the family who’s patriotic, who believes in strong, and although I believe that I’m patriotic and very critical of what goes on because I. Make sure to in the policies of the country, and so I did work at the museum and I think so I I had to keep my head on and head off depending. And walking through the museum as a family member is a very traumatic experience. Walking through as an employee is a is a very traumatic experience.
And it’s hard to kind of turn your emotion on and off when you’re an employee, but that’s something that I signed up to do. But I don’t feel as if the museum was necessarily made for family members because the content is traumatic and you want to make sure that you’re telling what happened. But I think they’re. It could have been done at a very less tragedy centered way, so for an example, I walk through the historical exhibition which narrates the day of you have a TV here, you have a TV there.
You know, you have sound here. You have a picture here. You have somebody crying. You have dust covering an individual. You have a plane hitting a building. You have the buildings collapsing. It is traumatic. And I say this and I’ve said it multiple times. You know, I lost my dad as a fireman, you know, to think about that as a concept about how somebody loses their life and the man down beeper, which is like the worst sound that anybody within the FDNY or anybody familiar with a fireman or experience at all knows how traumatic of a sound that is. It’s extremely insensitive that the museum plays that on loop. I know several firemen who refused to step in because they’ve heard that that’s what goes on. And again, it’s that balance of what part of the history do display, because you do want to be sensitive to family members. But there is no one, I guess, solution for all but I think it’s useless because decisions were made, but I’m not sure who they who they consulted with.
TOD: You know, for for me, one of the questions is how much highly emotional content do museums need to produce? You know, I think thinking back when you go to a war museum, right. And it’s about World War Two, most times you don’t they don’t show you images of, OK, what does it look like when a bomb blows up a body or what was the letter that, you know, that the parents sent to the child when they learned their child had died? You don’t always learn that. But memorial museums, which Michael is a part of, you know, museums that want to move you to do something to prevent the Holocaust, do not allow another genocide, maybe don’t allow tyranny in your country.
They often include a lot of this emotional content to for a purpose, which is to move you to not act. So I guess my question is what in the case of the 9/11 memorial, with that highly emotional content, what what are we trying to motivate? That’s for me, the most important question for the 9/11 Museum, because originally it wasn’t originally when it was planned as a memorial center, not as a museum. Originally it was never intended as a museum. Alice and others made it a museum. It was it wasn’t clear that it was supposed to move people. Now they have all this emotional content and I’m not sure where they’re moving them. And I think that’s one of our our questions.
Elizabeth Miller: Well, the story just to quickly, I think. Because that level of emotion is it, it’s it is almost. Maybe I mean, for some people, maybe that’s enjoyable to see. Well, like how how touching that that this person made a call at that period of time. But you do have to be, again, cautious because there are different individuals. But I felt as if a lot of times, and not as an employee, that I had always heard that the museum was very much made for family members. So when that’s the messaging that you’re hearing and then you walk in and that’s the space that it provides, there is nothing educational about a man down there that means a fireman has lost their oxygen and has fallen over or is crushed.
Just to clarify. And so again today, like what you’re saying, what are what are they what are they looking to get? Because that is important. What are they what message are they looking to to give? What are they asking visitors to reflect on? And I’m not sure if that was fully thought through, because you do want to add an emotion and have people open their hearts and their minds, but but what happens next? And I think that’s what was missing,
MICHAEL: let me suggest that it couldn’t be fully thought through because there’s no answer to the question.
Pam Yoder:: I’d like to interrupt, though, and say, I mean, I personally felt after going through that time we went through. I didn’t I did not feel empowered to try to do more positive things in the world. I think I left feeling like there was there were bad guys and good guys. And it it it didn’t inspire in the way the day of 9/11, in the days that followed, the unity in New York City was amazing. And I had kind of hoped that is what people would walk out with when they came through the museum.
And I don’t think that’s the case. I remember I was exhausted by the time I got to the final column, the last column, and I just literally was drained. So it whatever I’m not sure what it is that caused that for me to feel that personally, but. We had high hopes that the positive intentions would come out of the museum and not kind of the divisive, maybe a little bit feeling I had that
Steven Rosenbaum: nationalism, nationalism.
Graham Raymond:: Well, there’s the quote. There’s the. I’m sorry. Go ahead, Michael, please.
MICHAEL But let me suggest something again. By the time they created the museum. We were in a world in which there were great divisions which have only been exacerbated in the last several years. They didllt describe the unity. They did describe courage. They describe heroism, they did describe dedication. They describe the incredible sense of the firemen who went in. And and remember, this is about this is about a catastrophe. It’s a catastrophe. It’s the loss of three thousand lives since the collapse of a building that’s the attack on the homeland of America, something we’ve never experienced and we try to make of every catastrophe a tragedy because of tragedy presumes that there is an answer at the end to the question why and what do we do? And if there is an answer to the question, what now do we do? We as a society have blown it.
GRAHAM: Well, interestingly, I think this is interesting that that you could argue that America is more polarized today than it polarized today than it was 15 years ago. And, you know, why would anyone think, you know, and I’m dovetailing this with what The Washington Post critic said in the film of Mr. Kanika. You said that it’s a you know, it’s articulating a religion, a new religion, an American religion, one based on a sense of grievance that we have been wounded and we are suffering and need to be reborn as a more aggressive, militaristic superpower.
What did you folks think about that? I mean, we are more polarized. People don’t communicate even after 9/11, as polarized as things were then, and those were two thousand four hundred fourteen.
STEVE He wrote those words in 2014. And they are more true today. You know, I think the thing that I have learned since the film was completed but has yet to be released is how much the museum operates in in this mechanism where it wants to restrict conversation and speech. And I’ll just give you one example of that. When we Pam and I are the largest donor of archival video to the museum where we donated five hundred dollars and we were the founding archive of their movie media. And we believed and we spoke about it with Alice when we made the donation, that it would be this incredibly important. I remember talking to her about a magnetic north where everyone who wanted to investigate the story and future historians would come and look at material and they might learn very different things from our footage than we saw in it. And so it was seen as this very important central point for future investigations. What we’ve since learned is the museum, in fact, limits access to our material in ways that are just can only be described as draconian.
You need to sign a contract. The contract says they can review everything that you write before you publish. If you publish it and make any changes, you need to get the museum’s permission to make changes. I’ve spoken to. 30 curators, because I keep trying to be sure that this isn’t some policy that Ellis Island or the museum learned from another institution, and frankly, Michael, before we met, I assumed that some piece of that policy came from the Holocaust Museum.
MICHAEL: There are two types of outcomes, two types, collectors. There were herders, insurance. Herders say mine is more valuable because I alone can control it and the shares are mine is valuable because somebody wants to use it. We have no one. We are from the United States. Holocaust Memorial Museum is an American government institution funded in part by government money. So it has to and archives have to be open and unrestricted.
And that’s one of the great things about American archives. And if you do historical work, the last thing any researcher wants a researcher is restraint is restrictions on the art on the archive. Nobody learned that from the Holocaust Museum. And we learned that if you build it and you allow it to be there, they will use it. And that’s the way the reason the Holocaust Museum itself has become such a major center for research is the archives are there, the rope and the staff is friendly and helps you.
So we don’t take responsibility for that. We’ve committed other sins, not that one.
STEVE: But but Graham, you’ve written two big stories about the museum and about the film. And in both cases, it came down to them trying to find things, to limit scenes, to cut family members, to say we’re hurting, somehow hurting family members. Not to turn you into the interview subject, but I mean, were you surprised by kind of their resistance to saying, oh, we see your point or we’ll look at that? I mean.
GRAHAM: I yeah, I my personal opinion is that anyone who tries to control the story of 9/11 is is on a fool’s errand. You know, I think it’s like water, it will flow in the direction that it will flow in and there’s not much you can do to stop it. People have their opinions. And I and I think that. From from there’s a theme here of control that comes through in the movie, and if you go to the site, the control begins before you get on the site. And then everything that happens after that is controlled. And there are many, many rules to it. And and so I. I thought engendering broader discussion was the class here move for the museum, then trying to control the content of this film, which is certainly the first not certain, but not the only film that will be made on the subject matters as time progresses.
MICHAEL It’s going to be the kind of kick that that kind of access you can on. Let’s under score it, you of the control as the fallout is a fool’s errand. It’s not going to happen. It’s not it’s not going to happen, it can’t happen. We’ve seen it even in even in totalitarian societies that have control, all sorts of things sneak out. And you really have to look at the literature of what’s done in certain societies with censorship to see the different ways in which things come out that work persecution and the art of writing as to how you get away with saying things, getting things out in our society, which is free, which multiple perspectives can happen.
So anybody who’s interested in control, I guarantee them they’re going to fail
Graham Raymond:: well, you know, so Todd Fine, you should talk about the interfaith work you’re doing because that’s exactly what you’re wrestling with there.
Todd Fine: Well, and I first I wanted to add that, you know, I think it’s important to note that this is the 9/11 Memorial Museum is not a federal institution. It’s not a government institution at all. It’s controlled largely, I think, on the model of a billionaire foundation, which is basically, you know, for instance, this year it’s being funded to the tune of 30 million dollars by Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire. So there is increasingly a question about whether this is more part of the foundational arm of Michael Bloomberg or is an independent institution.
And maybe some of these scandals or these these concerns about transparency and other things could be addressed if it shifts more over to a governmental foundation model. And I think that’s also into the terms of the interfaith work. You know what? What I was concerned about is just how hostile they had been to a variety of reasonable request from the Arab and Muslim community over the years. Pretty much any request is met with either a no or just a refusal to dialogue.
And that included that this adjustment of a film that they gave to their own advisers, which was mentioned in the outsider. It also involved questions like Arabic brochures, whether they would mention the neighborhood of the little Syrian neighborhood in their local history section, which was mandated by law or the or even something as simple as the name of one of the Muslim victims, Talat Hamdani, the mother of of Salman Hamdani.
So that’s yeah, I’ve been involved with Arab and Muslim groups in New York who have who have been asking them to do a variety of things and have just met hostility. And that that’s part of the reason that there’s there’s the backlash or concern
GRGraham Raymond:AHAM: or is in fairness, is hostility. A little bit too strong a word, maybe bureaucratic intransigence or wow,
Todd Fine here’s an example, you know, there there was a group of their interfaith group asked them to to to change those that film, you know, that was mentioned in The Outsider, how there was some concerns about from their advisory group. And they responded with a maybe it was a bit of accidental, but it was a reply, all e-mail that said this. This is this is insignificant. These people are insignificant. We don’t have to worry about this. So there’s a culture of not wanting to to to deal with. Now, maybe there are certain stakeholders that had more power than others, but I definitely think Arab and Muslims in the United States are a stakeholder of this museum in a sense, because they’re they they are affected by the imagery that’s that’s said about terrorism and in Islam.
And they have never been treated taken seriously by the institution. And I should add that one of their board members is a woman named Debra Burlingame, who is one of the biggest hate activists against Islam in the United States. And that’s been raised to the museum many, many times. And they refuse to act
Graham Raymond:: because perhaps perhaps that’s an opportunity to look ahead a little bit as far as I’m concerned. I’m sorry. Go ahead. I’m sorry.
MICHAEL: I have no interest in the issue of the Muslim center that was being built near the museum. And I was one of the Jewish activists who argued that it should be built and it must be built. And we have to say that in that case, Michael Bloomberg was downright hero and stood up and stood up for its creation and took the heat for its creation.
Looking ahead, I think the 20th anniversary is a good time to look ahead, and if we accept that the museum is a young museum,
it sounds like there’s consensus here for the U.S. to become more mature and weigh in a certain way, perhaps try to fulfill some of the things that many that Mr. Enys and talked about in the movie. Is that is that your how do you folks feel about that?
STEVER Just by way of example of where we are today, I was asked to do an interview with Reuters. Worldwide organization, credible news organization, we asked to do it on the plaza and we were told by the museum that we were not allowed to record an interview on the plaza. Arbitrary. It’s not that they’re crowded, it’s not that there’s no they they just don’t want to facilitate free speech and conversation. And so I think at the 20th anniversary. There are journalists who feel they’ve been shut out. There are family members who are very angry. There are Muslim Americans who feel like they’ve been shut out. The filmmaker seems so. So some kind of a forum to explore openness about 9/11 with the point being it’s it’s unsettled history. So if it’s unsettled history, how can you lock up the archive and not let people discuss it? So that’s my hope. Coming out of the film is that we will acknowledge its unsettled history and will create some framework to begin to let people explore it.
Pam Yoder:: I don’t know if I’m going. There’s also talk about that. The Park Service taking over the Memorial Park, which is the pools with the names. That would be a big change. The other thing is who controls, you know? Foundation, the Memorial Foundation,
but the music is that part of the museum, the same organization, so the other thing is I think most people don’t realize and I guess the film hopefully made that clear, is when you’re standing at the poles, you’re standing on the roof of the museum, which is seven stories underground. It’s very that the glass atrium is kind of a smaller building and then you go down into the museum. So the museum itself is kind of buried underground.
It just I think for me, my wish would be that it would open up in some way if it could be, you know, kind of more brought up to the plaza level or.
Certainly there are reasons and there’s a lot of things that can’t be changed at this point because of the basics, the basic structure is unchanged.
GRAHAM Elizabeth, would you want to say a little bit about where you’d like to see the museum go from here after the 20th anniversary?
Elizabeth Miller: I think I think film. when people watch it, I’m really hoping, hoping that they. That they question a few things and that they reflect and think about. Why was the museum created the way that it was? What can I learn from some of these difficult conversations? How can I encourage change and conversation in a positive way? And with the 20th anniversary approaching and yes, the museum is fairly new, but it’s been 20 years since 9/11. That’s. If I can grow up and become I think I’m a pretty decent adult who leads with peace and kindness and compassion, I mean, I’m critical, but I think that’s important to be critical.
If I can grow up in this world in a post 9/11 world, and I know I’m one person, but the museum I mean, the individuals that I worked with, there were some of the best people ever creating the exhibitions. It’s hard work. I mean. Not losing a parent on that day, but dealing with the emotion and the trauma of that every day within those exhibitions. It’s very difficult and the people on the ground are doing as best as they can. But I think the decisions that are coming from the top down, I’m hoping that, you know, 20 years later that they can learn something about, yes, there was unity after 9/11, but unity for what community? And that’s something that needs to be thought about.
Who’s included in that in that group of who was unified and who gets the the privilege to be a part of that patriotism and nationalism. What about I think there’s a lot of groups that were left out of that. And I would like to see the museum really abide by their mission statement more and be more inclusive to all communities, including the local communities that were forgotten and to all 9/11 family members. I know that my thoughts are sometimes a little bit different than others, but again, it’s as important as the others. And I think as an educational space, it has the means it does, and it has the opportunity to correctly inform the public instead of providing a misinformation about Islam and certain communities after.
And I’m hoping that. They take a critical look within because it really could be a beautiful and positive space. If I think a little bit of harder work at the at the top level was Putin and I’m my fingers are crossed. I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful that this documentary can help spur some of that because it’s you know, it’s OK to admit, hey, we didn’t know what we were doing necessarily. How do we make these decisions? How do we please everybody? It’s hard. And I, I don’t necessarily fault them completely, because to be honest, if I was in the position, I’m not sure if anybody can make the right decision just like that.
But you have to learn and you have to grow. And I’m really hoping that that this can can spur that.
Graham Raymond:: Thank you so much, I. Does anyone have any last thoughts where we’re sort of at the end of our time at this point? And thank you. Thank you all. Yeah. Thanks so much for taking the valuable time. Not often among such a distinguished group of people. And I really appreciate having an opportunity to to talk with you. Thank you, everyone.