Letters: Meet the Ground Zero rogues – Salon
Ground Zero and the Sphere
I have worked in the archaeology of New York City for a number of years. I also live in the Bronx around the corner from the Muslim Center there. A few years ago I was at Battery Park, where the “Sphere” the outdoor sculpture damaged in the WTC attack has an eternal flame. I think I witnessed a number of Muslims in black being arrested for praying in the park by the NYPD, just before my “swing shift” (3:30 pm to midnight) archaeologically monitoring the new “cut and fill” subway tunnel through the park, connecting to the new Whitehall station and South Ferry to Staten Island, which 9/11 funds had redesigned due to the lack of full train accessibility to a platform, which on that day must have caused many to panic. The tunnel in part goes under the “Sphere”. The NY Transit Museum in Grand Central Terminal, documents the changes. I also work for a company in the World Financial Center next door to “ground zero” and think that some of the “groundless” stories there sold by hawkers a shame, and suspect why those Muslims chose to pray there that day, a right to assemble and protest guaranteed under the Bill of Rights. One might argue, though Columbus “discovered” it, the Muslim influenced Spanish settled the “New World” first and if you believe it the evidence, a Chinese Muslim explorer was “here” before them, Zheng He, “buried at sea” or in India. We should remember it is not anyone’s sphere but belongs to all.
See BBC “Chinese search for Ming shipwreck off Kenyan coast” 26 July 2010
In 2005, as part of an event in the run-up to the 600th anniversary of Zheng’s first voyage, the Chinese paid a visit to Lamu to undertake DNA tests on a Swahili family, who were found to have had traces of Chinese ancestry.