2021-22 Conversations for the Common Good
The 9/11 attacks: actions and reactions View Playbacks on WVIA
Following selected clips from the PBS FRONTLINE entitled America After 9/11 (2021) on 9/11 and the US response, a moderated panel of witnesses explored their memories, reactions and responses in a recording made in Carver Hall at Bloomsburg University. The panel included Elizabeth Miller (Rule of Law Fellow with September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows; and BU graduate), Steve Coll, (Pulitzer Prize winning author; Dean, Columbia University School of Journalism; and staff writer, The New Yorker), and Joseph Bennett (former U.S. Army soldier, pilot, and BU graduate). Recorded broadcast by VIA Public Media.
NOTES for faculty. Students and faculty who use the recording linked above may wish to explore the following questions: What happened that day? What happened for our panelists? What happened for us? Did our reactions change over time? What narratives about 9/11 were presented to us and when? What were the motivations of the individuals who attacked? What were U.S. citizens told about them, and why? Did the world change forever, as the usual narrative suggests? If so why, and if not, why not? What is “terrorism,” and how have we responded to it? How should we respond to it? Faculty may want to suggest students watch the complete PBS FRONTLINE special.
In a live webcast from 5-7PM on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022 from the WVIA studios in Pittston, a moderated panel will share their knowledge on the development of the rendition/detention program, and on their understanding—and personal experience—of the effect of the suspensions of U.S. law and human rights ideas on individuals. The panelists joining in person or remotely include: Mohamedou Ould Slahi, (best-selling author, and fourteen-year Guantánamo detainee), Andy Worthington (activist, writer, founder of CloseGuantánamo.org), and Elizabeth Miller (Rule of Law Fellow with September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows), who developed an unlikely friendship with Mr. Slahi. Recorded broadcast by VIA Public Media
Faculty Notes We'll have the opportunity to explore some profound questions: After 9/11, did notions of “human rights” and individual liberty shift, or have they always been tied to matters of location, race, and religion? What do prisons like GTMO, Abu Ghraib, and the so-called “black sites” scattered around the world represent? What would help the public become more informed about abuse of human rights at GTMO and elsewhere, in this post 9/11 world? How have changes in U.S. law such as the Patriot Act affected civil liberties for ordinary citizens? What might the friendship between Ms. Miller and Mr. Slahi suggest about potential positive paths forward, twenty years after the attacks?
Faculty may want to suggest that students view the following to prepare for the panel and to deepen their experiences: PBS FRONTLINE special America After 9/11 (2021) on 9/11 and the U.S. response, or The Mauritanian, a movie inspired by the experience of Mr. Slahi, or The Report, a 2019 film on the Senate investigation into the rendition and torture program.
In a live webcast from 5-7 PM on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 from the WVIA studios in Pittston, a moderated panel explored activist experiences promoting “restorative justice” in the interest of healing apparent personal, political and social divides in the post-9/11 era. Panelists joining in person or remotely: Terry Kay Rockefeller (founding member, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows), Tammy Krause (Defense-Victim Outreach pioneer), Elizabeth Miller (Rule of Law Fellow with September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows; and BU graduate). Recorded broadcast by VIA Public Media
Faculty Notes Questions that faculty can explore with students could include: What is justice? What has the term meant in relation to the 9/11 attacks? Is there a difference between justice and the “justice” the U.S. government pursued over the last twenty years? What new directions should the government take? What policies should be developed, and what positive effect are they likely to have? What are the goals of restorative justice exactly? How can the mutual distrust of those perceived to be on the “sides” identified in the aftermath of 9/11 be overcome? What can we do as individuals? What should we do? Faculty may want to suggest students watch the complete PBS FRONTLINE special airing in September on 9/11 and the US response (details to follow).