Target: Brittney Cofresi
Goal: Thank girl brave 9/11 statement for peace in Syria
When she read the name of her uncle Sal Papasso, Jr. at the annual 9/11 memorial ceremony at the World Trade Center, 15 year-old Brittney Cofresi begged President Obama with a plea for peace. “My uncle, Salvatore Papasso. I was only three when you were taken from us, and we miss you very much. And President Obama, please do not bring us to another war.” It was a gesture that left her vilified by media, and even by some in her own family.
Tom Papasso, brother of the deceased Sal, said “We were all stunned. It was completely inappropriate to use this day for that. It was not the time nor the place for a political statement.” The Washington Times and New York Post both vilified Cofresi afterwards, with the Post addressing her as a “9/11 ceremony ‘crasher’” in its headline. Both took great pains to point out Cofresi was Papasso’s niece by marriage, as well as alleging she “brag(ged)” about the incident afterwards through a twitter post.
One could argue that memorials are not places for politics. However, the immense tragedy of September 11 is and has been relentlessly politicized for twelve years. Two years after the death of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, the United States government still is waging an unending “War on Terror” without any sign of an end. The recent debates over drone bombings and NSA surveillance show the widespread concern to which civil liberties are being violated in the name of stopping terrorism.
The ongoing conflict in Syria, including the alleged use of chemical weapons by dictator Bashar al-Assad, is heartbreaking and demands a solution. However, the American public wants this to be a political one coming from negotiations and not military. The New York Times, reporting on a poll it conducted with CBS News, noted “6 in 10 Americans oppose airstrikes…with similar majorities saying they fear military action could enmesh the United States in another long engagement in the Middle East and would increase the terrorist threat to Americans.”
Being a voice for peace, especially in a situation where you know you will face heavy criticism, is a truly brave thing to do. Ultimately, American society needs a counterweight to an ongoing narrative using the horror of September 11 as an argument for continued, unlimited war. By signing this petition, you will thank Brittney Cofresi for her statement for peace.
Dear Ms. Corfesi,
I am writing to extend my support to you regarding your brave statement for peace during the recent 9/11 anniversary ceremony at Ground Zero. You said “My uncle, Salvatore Papasso. I was only three when you were taken from us, and we miss you very much. And President Obama, please do not bring us to another war.”
This gesture for peace follows the views of a clear majority of Americans who oppose military strikes in Syria in favor of a political solution. However, you were soon criticized by the Washington Times and New York Post, and even family members for allegedly politicizing the 9/11 ceremony.
However, 9/11 has been politicized without end for twelve years in the name of the ongoing “War on Terror.” Concerns over military involvement in Syria, as well as debates over drone bombings and NSA surveillance show how a war mentality still haunts American politics and society two years after the death of Osama bin Laden.
Making a statement against war in a situation where you know you will be criticized takes tremendous courage. I thank you for doing so.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Sister72 via Flickr