New York Voices; The Day After
I'm Bill Moyers. We're in the studios of team WTT in New York. Just a mile away from ground zero of yesterday's spectacular terrorist outrage. In the next hour we'll try to give a sense of perspective and deeper insight into these terrible events with the words and voices of New Yorkers themselves. And we'll try to focus on the humanity and generosity that this crisis has brought out in New Yorkers and other Americans as well. We will hear from some of the volunteers dealing with the bereaved and the traumatized. We'll talk to leaders of different faith communities in New York to hear their spiritual perspective. And we're opening the phone lines so that you can talk to us to our guests and to each other. The number to call is 2 1 2 5 6 0 8 3 0 9 2 1 2 5 6 0 8 3 0 9. This time last evening I took a long walk through my neighborhood here in New York. This usually noisy bubbling and babbling city was subdued. Broadway was dark. Our favorite restaurant
was closed so was the local Starbucks the first time I could remember. I fell in beside a good hearted middle aged ironworker from the Mohawk Valley who had walked all the way down to the destruction back from Columbus Circle. Over 40 blocks and he talked for 20 minutes without stopping. He wanted to talk. People everywhere clutched their cell phones to their ears desperate not to lose the connection. I called my pastor the senior minister at New York's historic Riverside Church whom some of you just met. James Forbes is one of the country's foremost religious leaders. And when I ask him what he was doing that evening last night he said that at 10:00 he would be talking to with his usual interfaith fellowship they get together regularly once a month. And what will you talk about tonight Jim. I ask and he answered we'll talk about how we can draw strength together. That was the inspiration for this special. We've asked serve all of New York's spiritual leaders to talk about how to cope with the horror loss and trauma. You'll meet them in just a few minutes and you can call
them with a question or two. But first Bill Baker the president of WTT 13 and my colleague is out in the hall with some volunteers who've been attending a crisis here all day. Bill. Tell us what they're doing. Thank you very much Bill. I am here. This has been a very very hard week for us at WTT here in New York. It has been a very tragic week for virtually all of us New Yorkers. But we are all working and we are all pulling together. And like so many public television stations around the country we work together with the community and here in this case we've been working with the American Red Cross who. Have manned this crisis center 24 hours a day since the very very beginning. To try to help people locate their loved ones. We will be taking calls as Bill said with our religious leaders and our studio. And we asked you to
call if you were directly touched. By this great tragedy that has just occurred. The number to call is area code 2 1 2 5 6 0 8 3 0 9. We ask you please to refrain from calling to convey your political convictions or suspicions of guilt. We just want to know your feelings. 5 6 0 2 1 2 5 6 0 8 3 0 9. One of our first guests out here a volunteer who has been working on this American Red Cross project. Dr your name please Dr. Jason's agean and Dr. H. Can you describe what this operation is all about. Well this is. A pretty complicated operation that they started today and yesterday we were accumulating a database of missing persons. And matching them with the with. The names that we're getting in from the hospitals. We're calling back we're having call
ins we're taking crisis calls mental health crisis calls and calling back and calling back people with information and information to ask them where they can go. To. Locate their relatives or friends that were missing. Some of the people have been marvelous. They've been calling us back. After they found some of these people that were missing and thanked us for it. I've just been hearing that lately. That they Asian. Thank you and we're going to talk to some of the people who've been volunteering and by the way we have also lost some of our people and we're we're trying to find work we're trying to find wrod Capullo. Who is our transmitter engineer who was on the 110 floor. Of the World Trade Center building with the transmitting tower on end. And there were I think 11 other trends that are people from other stations there. So anybody who knows about the whereabouts of Raud cupola we would sure like to know. We'll look the man look in the magic
database and get back to you. Thank you. Thank you. Let me let me please talk to some of the some of the folks here. We have rooms of people volunteering literally hundreds of them 24 hours a day. Dr. Pamela Collins Dr. Collins So what are you doing first. What kind of work do you do professionally. I'm a psychiatrist and I work at the New York State Psychiatric Hospital Institute and Columbia University. Well thank you for coming and help me and what what part of the process are you doing here. I'm working in the area which is the incoming calls for missing persons so we take the call we take the basic information find out who's calling get some description of the person and we pass it on to the next unit. We've been getting a few other calls as well that not just the missing person some people are calling for general information about school closings people call about how they can volunteer a lot of calls about how to volunteer. And some people are just calling because they're afraid of getting a few calls like that people
wondering you know something else going to happen what can they do in that situation. That's one of the things that we all worry about and one of the reasons why we're doing this program particularly for the benefit of New Yorkers but really for the benefit of all of America. The kind of catharsis for us all to kind of hold our hands together and and share our worries share our concerns and also share our mutual strength with one another. Now I think that's really important. I think certainly in a situation like this mean something so unexpected something so much beyond anything most people have imagined happens. You need to talk about it. And we're I think most of the callers or people that are answering the phone are happy to just talk as long as the person on the other end needs to talk. Thank you Doctor. Thank you Dr. Collins. Another one of our guests who's been volunteering here. Ian Miller Ian over this direction. You can tell me you are a psychologist and what specifically are you doing in this project I am doing the follow up work after we get initial contact from
individuals who have lost or are missing people I call to get details about. Specific such as height weight gender. And what I'm getting body for. Funny anything specific that any kind of generalizations. Yeah. I think it may be in part because the questions I'm asking are are very very visual but I'm getting compressions of the last moments or possible last moments of people's lives and they're enormously poignant and they come from people who are poised and thoughtful who are struggling to put together what a person look like. When. When everything went black when the lights went out. And it's it's it's chilling. It must be very hard on you too. I mean you know also the workers here must be having a hard time. We talked with one another. That's what we do in this field. You know when we feel overwhelmed we talk. Thank you Dr. Miller. Thank you. We have another volunteer who's
been working in another area. And she's come from some distance fornia. Introduce yourself for me please. My name is Lindy Konik. And Lydie. What what are you up first. Why did you come from California. How How'd you happen to come here and in New York City and work as a volunteer during this terrible price. Well I actually came here specifically for a conference at the United Nations and the theme on it for this year for NGOs is on volunteerism. And I just want to say that the volunteers here are absolutely extraordinary. Very committed. Holding the vision about what's possible and committed to the organization that will help get the results that we're looking for. My particular division that I've been working on is about matching which is matching the names of the people. Who have been calling in and matching them with the names that the hospitals have. Have you had any success. We have had success. We've had a minimum amount of success compared to the number of calls that are in and the number of
people who are missing. They're told literally thousands of people missing is that correct. Yes. And the phones are going round the clock with people calling in we have the 800 number. And I think that the biggest part of this is that. It's going to take a lot of time and it's going to take a lot of volunteers to get the results that we're looking for to try and match the number of people because there are so many people the devastation is off the charts. We have no other. We have no conception of how massive this really is. So. As we step into the weeks and even the months ahead we'll keep doing the work here and. Coming up with. Working with the people that need to hear back from their loved ones and find out what's happening with them. Well thank you for doing this. You know when Bill and I were talking about this broadcast one of the things we said was we were all shocked to the moment of the tragedy. And now we have
to work our way through this. This is a strong city and a great city. It's good to see this is not an easy one to go to work our way through. We have volunteers to do the work. Thank you so much. OK. Thank you. And we have many many volunteers of our own staff this TV station where people have come and worked under the most difficult of situations putting together programs like this could be an example but just the station working in this community it's a it is a wonderful community. Again if you have been personally touched by this tragedy and would like to call and be on and talk to us on this television program you can call area code 2 1 2 5 6 0 5 6 0 8 3 0 9 2 1 2 5 6 0. 8 3 0 9. And we will do our best to talk to you. That's it from. From our center here. I'm now going to
pass this back into the studio with Bill Moyers and his guests. Bill. Thank you very much Bill. New York forces is the day after it continues with Rabbi Rachel Cowan Rabbi Carwin is director of Jewish life program at the Nathan Cummings Foundation. She's frequently invited to speak on grieving and healing. The Reverend Monsignor James Sonti pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in West Hempstead New York where I used to live on Long Island parish priest for the Diocese of Rockville Center and the director of the Christophers. Dr. Arthur Colyandro senior minister of Marble Collegiate Church in New York City and one of the great preachers of our day. We have been expecting the Imam Al haha Talib w Abdul Rashid He's the imam of the mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in New York City. He hasn't arrived yet. We're hoping he will join us later. I will be joined by my co anchor and co-host Bill Baker when he comes in from the
hall outside and he's going to operate the phones. We hope you will use to call us but let me begin by saying asking the three of you what do you what did you do about your own grief the last 36 hours. Rabbi. It's a huge amount of work. My office is very close to here. And from our office we could actually see the fire and we could see the flame and the destruction of the building and there were many younger people working in the office and people were extremely frightened and I asked myself many of us found ourselves just sobbing and. Knowing that we were looking at something that was much bigger than we could even grasp and what we did in the end after we had. You couldn't absorb it but. We had been with it for a while we made a prayer circle and I held hands and I began with a prayer and then everyone added their own prayer and then we ended with a song just asking for strength. Really what we felt we needed was just
the strength to be able to be with this situation and be in it. You so you sang. What did you see. We sang a song and it ends like you know from my office. Lord give me the strength. And we sang that. I also thought of singing We Shall Overcome that there was something here that required Spirit to help us overcome the shock and the horror and to be able to find the courage to go on. And life wouldn't ever be the same. But I try to create a life that took this into account but I didn't get defeated by it at all. I was told early this morning that last night on the campus of my alma mater at the University of Texas in Austin some 5000 or more students gathered and sang Amazing Grace and just were together. Father is is is is is grief so common in the life of a parish priest who sees so much of death and suffering that you've developed the mechanism to deal with it even when it
gets horrific like this. I think for all of us who are into quote professional religion work that that you sometimes find that your shell can get a little bit hard. But this just blows any protective shell you might have. You know I'm thinking we've had in my parish firemen die and had thousands of people there for a funeral in the past. Now we're talking three and four hundred firemen and policemen who have lost their lives very possibly. And it just overwhelms you. I found over the past day walking through Manhattan that the collar is kind of a magnet for people who want to talk like that man who walked with you. And they have so many questions and many of them you can't and you try. But one of the ones I hear and I'm sure we all hear is that notion of why would a good God allow such a thing to happen or how evil heart could could commit this sin or Again people will say to me and I I feel sad about it. Is it religion at the end. It is at the heart of so many of the hatreds and divisions and the killings that go on and there must be something foundationally wrong with
religion they'll say to me if it could lead to this and of course I like to say and probably they don't expect me to but I think of this particular instances as almost the best resurrection of religion and faith. This isn't about faith this this is about the opposite of everything we believe is good and holy this isn't true Islam. If in fact they are the folks behind it and I just think we need to think whenever we see these situations our thing people say to me like Northern Ireland Catholic Christian against Protestant Christian. Neither one of them is promoting the true ideals of Jesus Christ if they could take other innocent life. So we see lots of manipulation of religion but it isn't it isn't faith. I don't think what about that or at the county under or what someone said to me last night you know that the young Jewish man who shot it's like Rabin to death was seen on television saying all I did I did for the glory of God. And we have some evidence quite possible that found in the trunk of one of the suspected terrorist was the you know
the scriptures the Qur'an meaning just like that young view that he believed he was acting in the name of or for the cause of God. How do you reconcile that for your parishioners who bring those questions to the way I am dealing with that myself is the last line of prayer which is the central prayer of my my life right now. And it really is the ultimate prayer of the Christian faith the Jesus prayer ends with do your will in my life. The ultimate prayer of the Christian faith is thy will be done so that. The true spirit is truly a spiritual person looks to the God that they believe in whomever that God might be. As the ultimate answer. And looking at that very humbly and sometimes very tentatively. Because we cannot be arrogant we cannot be mean in our relationships to our God in
the some. Do you think religion has been more benefices force in human experience or. A more negative role in both a place both plays both parents are your. Have you had a chance have you been dealing with members of your church the last 36 hours who have deep personal wounds. They're calling in their concerned. We don't know anybody in our parish yet who has lost life but we are quite sure because we have so many people who work in the financial district the entire firehouse at the small one near the church which meant that we've come to know because they come by a lot to inspect and for whatever reason these men are all gone. And we feel a tremendous void. But one of the things that is still with me now and I think is rampant in the city we're numb. You have been sober and there's a numbness and there was an eerie feeling yesterday. My church is about a mile and a half the world trade center. For years I've been walking down Fifth Avenue at the very bottom of Fifth Avenue. I see these two giant buildings they're a symbol. And yesterday I would look out
and I would see smoke and smoke and smoke. This morning I walked down. No buildings. Strange feeling something is very different something has happened and we in this country have not experienced what many people in many other countries do experience the violence the blown up buildings we're experiencing for the first time. People running away from the danger. The building has been blown up. And it's scary and I don't think the emotions really have had a chance to express themselves because after the numbness comes the feeling the anger the the questions the fear and all the things I think in the next few days are going to be demonstrating themselves. BAKER We were very much watching you talk to those volunteers about that out there about how they themselves were at the point that the edge of of an inconsolable grief almost they were managing it but they were right. It's impressive to realize that even professionals. Can't really handle something this dramatic. And but they are handling it
because they have to and they're dealing with one another. And it's a very powerful experience. I believe we have a call. We have many calls in the calls like yeah this is the first call is from Elise in Brooklyn. Elise you're on the air will you please tell us your question I am having a really hard time with knowing that something else is coming. And it's very interesting that I guess it's something about you know the strength of the last line of the Lord's Prayer and saying you know I will be dying because yesterday before I went to sleep I said that prayer and I felt like I have never felt that. But it's still very hard for me to reconcile the fact that although I have faith I know that Haik
created this. And our response is going to be very strong and it's going to be created from anger. And I'm having a really hard time dealing with the fact that that will not be God. Well that's a very powerful point. Her fear is of what's to come in fact as we were coming in here again we had reports that another building has gone down down near the World Trade Center. So her fear that yet more horrible things are to come how do you respond to her point by calling. It's a terrific point. And I think it's sort of the ultimate spiritual challenge to know. And I agree completely that this feeling of numbness we're still in the numbness and the dread. But this the anger that will come up and then sort of searching for somebody to
blame or somebody to explain it or somebody that would be very tempting to go in that direction or just to want to strike back. And I think what's really going to be the challenge is to not let ourselves go there we can express that feeling we can be in touch with the part of us that feels that way. But then as Reverend Forbes said earlier just to be able to sit back and let it go and to really try to find in ourselves first of all the part of ourself that's dealing with anger and trying not to stay in that place and to bring a perspective where perhaps we can have more wisdom more more patients not be pushing in that direction. I think if you don't express your anger you deny the essence of humanity. Anger is a part of who we are. It's an important aspect. Every human being feels anger and at various points we are going to be angry. The important thing
is to know what the anger is to find an outlet to find somebody with whom you can share this anger so that you work it through and you get beyond it. We have another call and this call is from Trumble Connecticut. This is Debbie from troubled Connecticut. You're on the air will you go ahead and ask your question please. How do you explain this to your children. How many times have I heard that today. Well it isn't easy we have in my parish probably about four who will be permanently missing and a couple of whom are our parents of schoolchildren in our grammar school and so I think it's going to touch all of our 550 children and their families. I mean following up on the other question too because I think they're connected. I'm just afraid of of hate feeding into hate. And I know that it's not a popular thing to say now because this crime is so horrific but these folks driving these planes then start hating us yesterday they're coming out of years of formation and hatred and a feeling of
oppression from us. And now we hate them equally and we respond and then years from now their sons and daughters respond. And you just have to ask yourself before we move anywhere where does it end and when do we stop the cycle of violence. We've got Craig from South Hampton Connecticut on the telephone. Craig please give us your question. I have a feeling there must be something more that we could be doing politically to start alleviating some of the fears that people are having with regard to. Will we find these people. We take the appropriate action. He said that he thinks that we should be doing something more politically to to avoid possible repercussions or possible repetition of of of this and we purge some of that disgust of not a
Washington Week in Review but what are you as religious figures do when people ask you. Well we've got to take political action or military action. How do you cross that line and start becoming a strategic analyst or a political adviser. I think we always argue from the point of just this. The greatness of America seems to me is that where we get the evidence and we try people fairly and we can presume innocence until we're sure they're guilty. And I think in this case we've got to do the same thing. Yes people need to be punished if they have done wrong but I'm afraid of the hysterical response and anger that kills many more innocent people. I would love to see us react strongly but with just this. Let me come back to that other question that I didn't get from the from the to you about what to say to child the question from the caller you know what do we say the children. How do you explain how do you deal with their grief and questions. Like the most important thing with the child is to give the child a sense of security and take away the fear that they have from what's happening out there by what we do
for them. Interpersonally a warm embracing presence and to admit to the child. Yes there are people who do bad things and then give them some kind of example of how not to behave toward the people who do bad things. I also think it's important to make them feel safe that this isn't going to happen to them or happen to eat you the parent I mean to sort of reassure them that this was a terrible thing and you know terrible things happened but we're safe where we are now. But also then to really turn it into what is we see what hatred does what pin love do. And look at also look at the love that's going on look at the firemen look at the good things that are happening and how can we in our lives be forces for good and for for light and be and make of ourselves something even more that maybe we would have thought we were going to do. I was very intrigued in your reaction just today my friend and colleague my reader here Bill Baker
is a very committed Catholic and concerned about these issues and about children and his instinct yesterday was that this patient should just continue programming good children's programming that you know show them Barney. Show them some of these other programs so that they have a sense of norm. Is that what you would have to do. Well yeah I mean but by the way I just push the button so stay with us for a second lay on a New Jersey well I answer the question and the answer the question is is that we thought about and this is the kind of thing that all of my colleagues in public television go through. You think about how can we do something that is different than the fine job that our commercial our commercial friends are doing. We exist for a whole different purpose and one when the senior staff of our television station we said how can we take this resource this public entity and do good to help the community and we said probably the thing that we could do the most good with is to be a safe harbor for children because when children start watching the coverage
of this tragic event they get like us adults scared and frightened and. And you know we just wish we had a lot of. Mr. Rogers we could have put on. So that was that was my reaction. I've got Vince on the line from Leon in New Jersey Vince thank you for waiting. What is your question please. Thank you very much all of you. In terms of violence violence begets violence. I heard Governor Cuomo this morning talk about the idea that instead of just using violence as a response. That we might have to go looking for courses of this. Behavior is to have an approach that would consummately to read the Scriptures or mention not just meeting violence with violence. But I can try to see in spite of the horror. What might possibly be hobbled across the time what has happened. And of course this
causes that we could possibly do something about that anger. What do you think about that. This summer I read a very good book called The Soul knows no bars and it was a story of a story the experience of a professor from Loyola University in Maryland who worked in a maximum security prison. Every single one of the prisons he worked with had done an apprentice thing. They were all murderers and he got to the heart and soul through questions of major thinkers the Plato the Aristotle's Martin Luther and so forth. But the thing that he said as they're all victimizers and every single one of those victimizers was himself a victim. And my guess is that if we got into these personal stories individual stories of these people who perpetrate these horrific crimes you will find the brokenness of the human spirit and the lack of affection that warm nurturing love. I think we can take it down to that to that fine a point
where you know over the line. I'm sorry go ahead. No I I was going to say before that I think part of the response that we would ask is to not just you know just immediately force them smash them but let's do sit back let's really try to first of all get all the information we can let's try and understand some of the causes of this and see what it is. You know could there be a way. Could there be. I think one of the things that are missing in this we say it's a religious conflict but it isn't it's a conflict of people using religion but who are not speaking from religion there are places in Islam that could be connecting with Christianity Judaism their way leaders could be talking could be developing an image of peace a vision of hope that doesn't exist now at all. And I think that's not so much a political task of spiritual leaders but a spiritual task to try to find. A different image of what peace could be a different image of how we could exist.
And someone that someone said to me yesterday that hate is not ethnic but it can take ethnic forms well hate is not necessarily religious but it can take religious forms. What you're saying. Right. I that's why I think that when one fundamentalism and when people who are so sure that they know God's will that they can interpret it and they have the right to take human life because they know the truth the world interpret this as religious actors but I regard these actors using religion to you know they probably deluded themselves but they are justifying what they do by this. But that is not the religious mode in which a truly spiritual person operates because if you don't see all humanity as the image of God you any when you kill somebody you are killing an image of God. A person is truly really just couldn't use people the way these people did.
We have another call it's Rico from New York City Rico can you hear us. Yes I can hear you. What is your question. My question is I think that three French create more hate more you know your city of America will be more danger. The United States should talk to all the leaders of the world and make peace in their humble way and try to restore all this madness that's going on in the world. Thank you very much. I think that point is well made and has been discussed about an eye for an eye tooth for a tooth is not the spiritual response to make to something like this. We have on the line Rudy from Ottawa Canada. Rudy What is your question please. My question is a big crisis has brought people closer to God. Where are the people on Capitol Hill today praying together.
We are praying. I understand some people were thinking no stigma to war. In God We Trust from the dollar bill because it all for him. Now since we came back to God we're going to forget about God next week. What about that for the religious people. I'm going to push to make sure that those politicians always remember god. I think our friend is raising an issue that gets discussed in that column at times about the absence of prayer from the public square and how these moments seemed to bring it back and I think he's got a valid point I remember bending over backwards some years ago to say a prayer at a public high school graduation and couldn't possibly draw a fence anywhere unless this draws offense to someone. And yet now legally I wouldn't be permitted to do that because we don't want to offend those who have no particular religious perspective and perhaps don't want prayer as part of the public experience in public education. But I think he's right for
some reason we've put all those fears of the separation between church and state aside this week because this seems to be some basic hunger in us that needs power greater than ourselves to make sense of the madness that's happened. Interesting point we have with the line Carol from Indianapolis Indiana. Carol what is your question please about what Americans are going through and what we hear from the readers to help them help others. There were some minor Now that's a very good question because last night just a few blocks from where we live in Manhattan the newsstand kiosk that is run by a Muslim with whom I've had some interesting conversations over the years was closed and locked and he was gone a casualty of fear. I mean I'm sure he was he was gone and there had been some outburst of anti Islamic sentiment I've heard today in radio and seen on the wire.
What do you think about that. One of my co-workers is a Muslim. He's not Arab or Muslim. And he went to give blood yesterday or today and his to his niece and nephew were working in the World Trade Center and he was very frightened about them and luckily found out they were all right but he turned away from giving blood because he was feeling that there was resentment and prejudice as soon as he said his name seems so terribly he and I had this deep conversation about what is it. How can people in the name of God be killing each other. Deep he is concerned about this as anyone. The World Trade Center had many Arab-Americans in it and Pakistanis in it. And I think it's so it's again it's the same thing stereotype black and white negativity. And I heard Howard Stern doing that people talking on his show I think it's important Howard Stern gives his microphone to the most the ugliest out and worst of divan prejudice that I can imagine
and in in in in this city. How do you get your people to see that the acts of an individual. Should not indict a whole group. I think we need to talk about it so that people are aware of it and give them a chance to to do their own thinking. And then from a spiritual point of view a number of years ago I came to see human beings as souls. And when you get to the point where you see a human being no matter who that person is as a soul you know that you're that person is on an equal basis with every other human being in the entire universe. Same level as you are and come from God may go back to God that we're souls unique special. I see that we have just been joined by the imam I introduced you earlier and said We thought you were on the way. He is the imam of the mosque of Islamic Brotherhood here in New York City and a very active participant in the partnership in faith. We met Jim Forbes earlier we just had this question
before you came about how how people of the Muslim faith are feeling about this experience when it is widely reported on the press that leading suspects may well be members of the Muslim faith. How are you dealing with that today in the Muslim community in the name of Allah the Merciful the Compassionate the same shock that is present in all of the other faith communities same anger same feeling of helplessness is also present in the Muslim community along with a calm. And apprehension. There have been already since yesterday. Reports coming in to those of us in leadership of random attacks. On Muslim men and women in different cities New York Detroit
Hartford Connecticut Cleveland people just randomly attacking people on the street. Yesterday in Cleveland there was a young Muslim woman beat up on a college campus there. These are very things that people are afraid of. If you think back to not so long ago at the during the moment of the bombing in Oklahoma City the first several days in the aftermath of that event everyone was saying the Muslims did it. And of course it turned out to be the very opposite. So this gave us kind of prior experience. So as soon as this event happened yesterday even before they started naming the usual suspects. That was a great deal of apprehension that went to the Muslim community. So those of us who are in leadership we actually started pasturing if I can use that word Pastor. And
ministering to those in our faith group we had these apprehensions and how do how are you doing. We have a question. We're taking questions from viewers all over the country in the coming year. But let me ask you before we do how are you. How are your the members of your mosque dealing with their personal grief they're feeling over all of this. What he urged them to do. Well we remind them that grief and loss are part of life and none of us is immune from these very human experiences people are constantly tested and tried if not by something of the magnitude that happened yesterday then by earthquakes bombings of everyday situations of war. This is the type of suffering that people are doing all over the globe. And unfortunately
it seems that now we here in America who perhaps have been isolated from a lot of that grief and suffering now we are no longer isolated. So we talk to them say I'm sure that whatever my colleagues said this is the same thing goes for us because we have to talk to people about bearing up under hardship and maintaining their faith and moving closer to Almighty God. I just want to raise a follow up issue. You know we mentioned Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City. But as you probably know he's raised as a Roman Catholic and as a Roman Catholic priest and not only mortified by what he did but I'm also wondering where did we fail to get across the true meaning of Christianity. To Tim McVeigh I guess I'm wondering do you have the same feelings wondering what was in the heart and soul of those folks if they are Islamic who are responsible for this activity. Well certainly I mean all faith groups are experiencing all kind of crisis of faith not only
today or this week. I mean in general. The circumstances that the people of the world find themselves under are tremendous test of people's faith. And so here we are. I mean we are in America as we always tout the land of tolerance the land of compassion and understanding. Now our tolerance will be tested now our compassion and our understanding will be tested and we will see just how tolerant we are. We have a telephone call from Roy in Brooklyn. Roy are you still there. And what is your question please. I question in the midst of such a horrendous tragedy that Sharon and Mary graduation was. He's obviously referring to the televised scenes where there were people celebrating when they heard of this terrible tragedy here in New York. I I don't know the answer to that. I would say that people who who
who identified with that were the rage of the of the people who did this act. I think it's also important to point out that there were many others who didn't share who were not dancing who don't share that I've received and statements from Palestinians expressing a great deal of. Sympathy condolence shock you know not at all supportive of that. I can't explain how a person could celebrate that. And. I've done reporting from the Middle East and I know that there are a lot of people who feel that we have identified the American interest too extensively with Israel and they are striking out against the United States for a bad political and financial support. But I also know there are many Israelis who who are just as critical of Israeli policy as the Palestinians are. So it's again this issue of religion can be used in both ways both politically and spiritually. There were some months back that terrible
accident in Palestine in Israel at the wedding the wedding in Athens where the floor collapsed. I read in several Arabic newspapers and I was watching Al-Jazeera the satellite channel. And when when that accident happened there were several Palestinian Arabs who were right in the vicinity and they were rushed to help the victims of that tragedy just like everyone else did. I mean it was so horrible that there wasn't a lot of focus on that which you could literally see the same people who have a great deal of animosity towards each other working side by side. You know in trying to rescue those who might still be alive. And I was really amazed by that and when I saw the footage yesterday it reminded me that footage of the towers coming down not not there. I'm sorry the
footage of the the Palestinians kind of debris and seeing is celebrating. I said to myself. There are people in other parts of the world. Who associate their suffering their lives of grief and suffering not with the American people but with the policies of the American government this is a hard reality. This is hard for a lot of holes in America to swallow that and to understand that there are a lot of people who do. And so they look at what happened yesterday as kind of a strike against the government not a strike against the people. And this is the kind of things that we in America are going to have to start to look at. We have another call this one is from Holiday Florida and it's crystal from Holiday Florida. Crystal thank you for waiting and what is your question please. I'm I don't understand this that people try to find consolation in the rats is that I will be done.
Does that mean that it was fraud. Well what happened yesterday are horrible things can't possibly be bought. Well what about Bowmanville. What about that question. Well I was really meaning by that is that we seek to find out what God's will is for us not that God wills something as horrific as what happened yesterday or anything that is evil or any destruction or any loss of life. God does not will these things but God allows these things to happen. However from the individual standpoint we're all individuals who have to take responsibility for our lives. What is God's will what is ours will. What does Jehovah's will in my life. What is the highest form of expectation for who I am and what I do with myself. We have on the line Helen from St. Stephen's South Carolina. Helen are you on the line please give us your question. I don't have a question. I have a statement I'd like to read and I thank you for this time.
As Americans we are part of a melting pot of different races. As Americans we are guaranteed the freedom of religion. As Americans we should not judge other Americans to what a few evil terrorists have orchestrated against America. We should not forget forget the terrorist attack of Timothy McVeigh. Does this mean that all Americans should be tormented just by association. Same but not condemn. Should we call her right other ethnic Americans with threats of genocide because of their religion and race. Then we would be no. That isn't Hitler. What if it were your heritage or religion that was in question where the shoe and not the reaction. I am told to bless my enemy not curse somebody any blessing I can come up with is. May God have mercy on your soul. Followed by. Forgive us Lord for what we are about to do. May we show mercy in our revanche. May God bless America that we keep our freedom to believe our freedom of speech our freedom to hope our freedom of faith. However we may choose to believe to speak to hope and to pray for we are Americans and we are the melting pot of the world. It's OK to be angry but the wise man
waits before speaking or acting. Then he is short and right and just and he will carry the same of impulsive wreck lessness becoming the fool. I thank you for your time. May God be with you. He raises an interesting question that you must wrestle with. Each of you is struggling to serve the spiritual needs of your members and yet our own individual politics as members of your congregations and your boss your synagogue your church. Our own ideologies our political bent the often trump the very counsel that you give us when we come to you. How do you how do you struggle with this conflict between the politics that are so prominent in much of what happens in the name of religion and the spiritual needs we all bring to you. I think it's good for us to recognize that even in spiritual leadership we have people with emotions and we were within ourselves like anybody else. I remember one time giving a talk to teachers explaining the Church's view against capital punishment and going
home and finding out that my sister was missing that day on the subway and I remember in my guts my first reaction was have anybody hurt my sister Patty I'll kill them. And I thought to myself that goes exactly opposite to what I said earlier in the day. But I think we have to help our people sort out our natural human inclination to want revenge to want to hurt to want to get back as much as we got. And more verses is certainly an example of my own lord a sense that he wanted us to forgive it at all costs and that's very hard right now and very unpopular in this American populace. We have a call from Alex in New Jersey. Hi. Good evening. Thank you for the opportunity to make a comment and a question. I'm a Hungarian immigrant and as a child at age 10 I saw atrocities in the revolution. I saw situations worse throughout the whole city of Budapest. What happened to the vision of the Russians and so on. And I think that what it is with us in America right
now is that we are not accustomed to this. Other countries have been. Other cultures have been accustomed to this unfortunately. And the shock that is that is actually very reverberating throughout the country because of this because we have not experienced this in our shores. Yes we were in a war but the war wasn't there. Now work here and it's most unfortunate. The other thing I'd like to make a comment is that the anger that we feel that initial impulse and I felt too retaliation is a normal human intent in retaliation. You know the flight or fight situation I want to fight back right away. But in actuality in Hungarian anger translates to poison. Maybe they aren't get your point. And the more we think we are angry at them begets them. And I don't know how to reconcile the physical healing
and spirituality your bogus political implication is. Well if somebody could shed some light on the work I would appreciate you know our responsibility as religious and spiritual leaders. Is to. Call our selves first and then our fellow human beings to the higher nature of the he would be. We have a tradition in Islam once a man approached the Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Alabi upon you. And he said to him you say can you give me some advice. Can you give me some good advice. The Prophet replied to him yes. He said up. Don't get angry. The man said Well thank you. Can you tell me something else papa said yeah. Don't get angry. The man said Well wow that's really. Can you tell me just one what they say certainly don't get angry. And when we. Examine
the kind of. Exit Jesus of all of that tradition it is the scholars and the theologians say that the prophet wasn't telling the man. You know listen. It's unrighteous for you to be angry. It's not human. He was saying to to him that the struggle to control one's anger and to act not out of anger or out of you know the kind of lowest emotion but to ascend to the higher level. And to judge and to act from that level is where the real struggle is and it's completely true. I think we also need community to do that. I think it's important to do it as an interfaith community. I think it's important for us as clergy to do it with each other and really in our congregations in our communities have a time because this is not easy work to do. And there is so much impetus for that rally round the flag go for it.
And my religion over yours or my viewpoint or whatever and I and it is a tension that you pointed out that sort of the formal. Platforms in a way versus the inner spiritual life. And I think that to really struggle for the. For. The higher level to go to the higher level to stay there is it's not easy to do at all. But if we don't do that work where will the vision for peace be. Where will the hope be. What will be the point of our life if we can't help ourselves to get there and to help our our people be there too. We may have time for just one fast call this one from Douglas in Orlando Florida. Douglas can you give us your call quickly please. Yes please. To the respected members of the panel do you believe with regard to the possibility that prophecy might be revealing itself and then a follow up question to that would be
if indeed you do. Would you grab the possibility that God made robust enough to grab us the free will that we may love each other enough to simply forgive and thereby potentially cease and desist in our hatred for what might be considered inevitability of prophecy itself. Well I mean do you find something prophetic in what's happened in the last 36 hours from your own respective biblical scriptural and tradition. What I see happening is the. The worst of what humanity can be the dark side. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross says we all have the Hitler in us and that Hitler has been expressed. It has been demonstrated and we as religious leaders have to get beyond religion I think into the spiritual and at the core of every major faith really is the law of love. And I would love to see before this century gets going too far with all of the mass destructive potential that we have that the law of love will exceed and finally
override the law of power and might which is what we live with today. Thank you each for coming here sharing this time with us is a very important interfaith service tomorrow evening sponsored by the partners in faith that the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church is seven o'clock in New York and I'm sure they're happening all over the country so perhaps some of our viewers will find their way there. That brings us to the end of our national program. New York Voices the day after in New York. We will be staying on the air to continue taking your calls. Thanks to all the volunteers and our guests from the religious communities. Thanks to the staff and team at Channel 13 WTT here in New York and public affairs television. This special series of PBS programs America respond will continue as we try to add some insight and reflection to these terrible events. Please join us again. I'm Bill Moyers for Bill Baker and my colleagues here at Channel 13. This. Was made by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and my contributions to your PBS station.
- New York Voices
- The Day After
- Producing Organization
- Thirteen WNET
- Contributing Organization
- Thirteen WNET (New York, New York)
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- Episode Description
- An hour-long discussion of the 9/11 attacks with a focus on the humanity of the attacks. The program hears from those on the front-lines of the disaster, faith leaders in the New York area, and callers. With Bill Moyers and Bill Baker in the studio are Rabbi Rachel Cowan of Jewish Life Program of the Nathan Cummings Foundation; Rev. Monsignor James P. Lisante of St. Thomas the Apostle; Dr. Arthur Caliandro of Marble Collegiate Church; and Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood.
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- Public Affairs
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- Moving Image
Guest: Cowan, Rachel
Guest: Lisante, James P.
Guest: Caliandro, Arthur
Guest: 'Abdur-Rashid, Imam Al-Hajj Talib
Host: Moyers, Bill
Host: Baker, Bill
Producing Organization: Thirteen WNET
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Thirteen - New York Public Media (WNET)
Identifier: wnet_aacip_10133 (WNET Archive)
Format: Digital Betacam
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- Chicago: “New York Voices; The Day After,” 2001-09-12, Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 28, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-75-741rnjrq.
- MLA: “New York Voices; The Day After.” 2001-09-12. Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 28, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-75-741rnjrq>.
- APA: New York Voices; The Day After. Boston, MA: Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-75-741rnjrq