tv Book TV After Words CSPAN September 1, 2013 11:00am-12:01pm EDT
>> okay, let me try to rephrase it. women sometimes were excluded from the civil rights and and from other minority movements that involved both men and women, women have been experienced sexism. was that a case? >> yes, i did find things especially the march of washing in the neck, examples of that, absolutely. >> to remember specifics quick >> sometimes the women i mentioned, lately lain in polly myers-briggs emigrated by some of the men in the group, yes. >> thank you. >> anyone else? [applause]
this week, urban anthropologist elizabeth greenspan and her book, "battle for ground zero: inside the political struggle to rebuild the world trade center." in it, the harvard university lecturer exposes the bitterness of which many different groups stake a claim to the real estate they considered sacred to so many. this program is about one hour. >> host: i'm kenneth feinberg, and i have a great distinct pleasure of chatting for a few minutes with elizabeth greensp
greenspan, anthropologist, lecturer at harvard university, and the author of a very important new book, "battle for ground zero: inside the political struggle to rebuild the world trade center." this battle is not about al qaeda and its not about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, at least not directly. what it is about is a social, anthropological study of the various political, social and other factors that went into the final decisions surrounding the site at the world trade center. why, when, what the problems were. elizabeth greenspan, welcome to "after words" ass thank you. >> host: let me start off by asking what motivated you to publish this book, to write it and take the time to research?
what were the underlying reasons you decided to focus on the struggle to reconstruct the world trade center directory i was a graduate student studying urban studies and anthropology. side is interested in cities, and i become, becoming very interested in how cities reconstruct themselves after wars and violence and destruction. i was think about a project in berlin actually. i'm studying what the city had done in the '90s after the wall came down. fascinating things are doing to mark the wall and these different moment in history. i was putting together and anything a study with professor that fall, and then 9/11 happened. some incredibly powerful events. it was clear that so may things are going to be changing from that moment on. u.s. policy, domestic, u.s.
foreign policy. right away within weeks everyone starts asking what do we rebuild? how do we capture the feelings that we're having right now as a country? what kind of architecture would we imagine? so debate started playing out on outdated pages, on tv about the face and how we can put something here to mark this. and so i started reading about this in the papers and i thought i couldn't possibly just continue forward with my graduate plan, when the things i'm interested in and the questions i'm interested in are now playing out right here in new york city. >> host: how much of the early research that you did, the early effort that you engaged in in trying to fashion a sort of the thesis of battleground zero? how much of this was your evaluation of political pressures, economic pressures,
pressures of emotional human nature? >> guest: it was all of those things. that's what was so interesting why this place is so important, because it concentrates one-16-acre landfill political pleasure. people running for office to get politicians involved who care about this place and need to make something happen. you have people are leasing the buildings. billions of dollars at stake in rebuilding commercial space. then have new yorkers who live around the area. you have family members who have lost loved ones. nearly 3000 people were killed. then you have americans and people from around the world who saw what happened. they also feel connected. so you have so many different interests all coming together who all want, to me and really felt like a question of ownership a lot of the time. equity -- the key question is who owns this land. there were lots of we should
answer that question. the was illegal and which is well, the developer owns the lease and the port authority. they owned the land. but for a lot of people does a completely inadequate and to because they thought, americans own this piece of land. this is a piece of american patriotism now. this is a place where a horrible tragedy happen. we have to commemorate it. >> host: in your title you talk about the battle for ground zero. what were the major conflicting forces that were adversarial to each other that gave rise to your metaphor, the battle for ground zero? >> guest: they were too, the main tension is the one between the public sphere where you have, but many different people within the public sphere from architects to new yorkers the victims family members, the taurus, you know, all coming together, masses on the street who want to say, who are turning out other carries to voice their
concerns. him and then you have the private sector you have the developer who owns the land. you have the port authority and the developer owns the lease and then have the port authority was the kind of quasi-public-private institution in new york that owns the land. they are very invested in, they believe in building a memorial of the also want to make sure that all of the office space that was destroyed was rebuilt. there were 10 million square feet of office space, quite a bit. almost every conflict at some level is a clash between these public and private forces time to figure out what the balance is. because everyone believes there should be some sort of mixture between a public and private void. >> host: how much of a role in the battle did the families themselves who saw the land and the world trade center area as almost sacred land, how much, aside from the developers and
the insurance companies, politicians, the number crunchers, how much of the battle involved this psychological attrition doing anything with property other than declaring it some sort of holy land? >> guest: right. family, as many fans thought of it as a burial ground because people were killed there. something that's important think of, they were to just kill the bear, but there were just over 1000 people who were never found. so the way in which they were killed as well. it's a pretty shocking kind of violence where people were just literally decimated. >> host: incinerated. >> guest: and incinerated. so for those families who weren't able to have a body or any kind of fragment of bone deberry, this places where they think of their loved one is laying. so the burial ground in many thoughts, especially early on in the first years after 9/11 that nothing should happen to it.
many new yorkers and many americans didn't necessarily share that point of view because a lot of people want something, for instance, to kind of rise on the skyline again. fill in the hole in the sky that the twin towers used to fill. so there was a sense that we should treat this land carefully, and we should commemorate, but we shouldn't i think there wasn't a consensus that there should be just a park, for instance, largest open space. but a lot of families worked hard to make sure some portion of land was put aside for a very substantial memorial. it was hard. in this kind of give-and-take and this kind of democratic process, people have to make compromises and that was a big one for many families, that they knew that something would be built there, and it would be developed when they wanted nothing.
>> host: in most battles that we studied history, there are winners and losers. there are heroes and villains. in your book, who do you focus on at the end of the day that turned out to be the heroes in resolving this battle, and who do you come in one way or another, focus on as enemies but -- not enemies but as those who are obstacles to a successful getting to yes on the resolution of about a? >> guest: it's a hard question. this process was so long and so dysfunctional that there's almost no hero, because everyone, once they entered in, was kind of tarnished at some point. i think some people believe that mayor bloomberg is something of a hero. although there are many people who disagree with that, but he
came in later in the process. for a while, governor pataki was really running things but then he left in 2006 and that opened up some room for the mayor to get involved. he became the chairman of the 9/11 foundation, and he also helped to bring the port authority and the developer together to start making some compromises. i talked a lot of people who thought without bloomberg this, the battles would still be going on, that he made some key, help some other people make key compromises and key decisions. but i've talked to just as many people who continue to be furious with the kind of agenda that the they saw, you know, the city, the mayor's office having. he is certainly one person. chris ward who took over the port authority later on in 2008 is another, kind of help, right around 2010 is when things started to move forward.
>> host: that is nine years after the attack. want a nine year war of attrition, in your book, as to actually implement the plan? >> guest: i mean, i think that's the question. artist it was a debate. sometimes there were family groups who protested. there was a big debate over the museum that was supposed to be at ground zero called the international freedom center that the lower manhattan development corporation had picked. and a small group of families, many disagreed with him, but a small group mobilize and they got his museum defeated. so that takes time. but a lot of the vows were actually between larry silverstein and the port authority, these two partners, public-private partnership because this was an unprecedented situation, there was no guidelines on how they're supposed to work together when
their property was destroyed in such a historic fashion. so they fought. they broaden their lawyers. in arbitration, and it took years. >> host: let's focus on two battles. let's focus on two battles that you mentioned and discussed in the book. you mentioned one today. explain to our viewers what the battle in failed and the sides our and fall. take, for example, the very reasonable it seemed idea for the international museum. what was the genesis of that idea? what was its strengths and why did it founder? what was there about a well-intentioned, noble idea in the sense of an international museum at the site, why did ultimately fail? >> guest: the idea, initially it was called the freedom center, then they made it the international freedom center.
the idea, another developer in new york who happen to know, had been in there for a long time, in involved in politics and he thought that this was -- >> host: who is this? >> guest: bernstein. >> host: tom bernstein, yes. very well-intentioned and very sound public citizen. >> guest: right. he had this idea pretty early on after 9/11. he began talking about it with people. as he says in the book him in an interview, it was a somewhat vague idea dedicated to the big concept of freedom. he wanted to talk about freedom historically. struggles for freedom over time in different parts of the world, including in the united states where there were a struggle for freedom here. and he wanted to talk about, you know, hot spots. that was one of the parts of the museum, hot spots, battle for freedom and struggles for human rights.
-was somewhat unclear the want of public intellectuals and professors involved, and he signed up and marie slaughter. he was getting important well established people on board. but there was always a push in the rebuilding effort to how things moving forward very quickly. so they put together a set of plans that in hindsight somewhere in all told me it was to fester they really weren't ready be putting together these guidelines. >> host: still too much emotion as and in the air traffic i think they just weren't exactly certain what they would see. they talked about at the end of the museum is going to be a public servant and whether be inviting people to sign up to volunteer for human rights efforts in different parts of the world. well-intentioned but what does that really mean to what exactly does that look like? people didn't know to the aspen institute was going to be involved in helping set of programming. there were lots of partners. exact with the program would
become with the exhibits would look like, that was still left to be decided. there was still time, but the public wanted to see blueprints. so they released these prints to the times. they wrote a big story on the museum and it was clear that this sounds interesting, but it's not quite sure what it's going to be. >> host: you make it sound as if the idea, ultimately floundered, over its absence of clarity, or just timing in life is everything and it came along at a time for what? the emotionalism of world trade center and the attacks have settled, or what? >> guest: one important part of it is that 9/11 wasn't specifically addressed for the most part in the museum. it was going to be mentioned up front but it really wasn't a museum about 9/11 and that ends up being a big reason people start protesting against the museum. timing may also been a part of a competitive think the lack of
clarity. it sounded abstract and freedom is a big idea, and what exactly does that have to do with 9/11? you have to make an intellectual case for it and that's hard to do in these quick little blueprints that they're publishing and putting online and people are reading. a couple people found out about this. one was deborah burlingame, a board member on the foundation. she started asking questions. what is this freedom center and but let me? she had two primary problems with the museum, and the first was that didn't have anything to do with 9/11, which to her was very important. her brother was a pilot on the plane that crashed into the pentagon. and the second, she looked at what she believe believe the nuf people who were involved were progressive liberals is -- of a certain sense of been critical of the bush administration. and she thought they were going to be bringing their politics
into this museum and using it as a place to advance their political cause. and so from both in, she very sadly puts grassroots organization together that just went out and successfully defeated this museum. but it was a huge, i mean an incredible controversy and chaos for a number of months in the summer of 2005 the got out that age -- pages involve. >> host: to what extent we have a debate that gets really nasty, and is played out in "the new york times," "the wall street journal," to what extent is it inevitable that when you have that much, that degree of controversy, it may take a while, but sooner or later the idea was dead. the meter controversy itself on an idea that was noble and well-intentioned guarantees
ultimately it's failed to even it's going to take a while to kill it. >> i think that's a good point. i think when it comes to this place, 9/11, that's been the pattern. people don't, the leaders in charge, they want things to move forward. any controversy -- anything that looks like it's going to be a problem, it's gone. that's what happened here. at first people on board with it. pataki was supported. giuliani was at least on paper supported. and then what happens is berlin games group got hillary clinton. everyone is planning on burning for president. very, politics is big part of it. they convince her and rather happenstance effort to say that she's against the museum. they write a press release. they publicize with hillary clinton who again says giuliani becomes against it, tacky comes
against a, boom, boom, boom. i think you're right in some sense, since it becomes a controversy like that, and politically it's not sustainable, it's gone. but you do have to look at something like the debate over the islamic center which is another major controversy at ground zero. that was falling and the same footstep to give people getting really emotional, lots of protests on the streets. the op-ed pages, the blogosphere. but a different result. it stayed, and certain politicians said they should be moved but others called for tuesday. one of whom was mayor bloomberg who said this would be a mistake. so they kind of rode out the controversy. speak let's take another example of a battle that falls within your overall battle for ground zero. we're talking with elizabeth greenspan, the author of an important new book, "battle for ground zero: inside the political struggle to rebuild the world trade center."
macmillan is the publisher. let's focus on another bout, which to some is more existential but a very, very real, and that is the architectural plan. and the competition, the results, and sure enough, the very polarizing battle over what exactly architecturally should be done with this important piece of land in lower manhattan. what was that all about? >> guest: so this was one of the first. early on, you know, we said we have a 16-acre piece of land. we have to put something on a, or maybe not. it was just open any, what do we do with it, right? everyone wanted a say in that. so very quickly people, leaders promised a public process to receive public input, to generate a master plan. at the same time that that was
going on, however, like you said before, you had larry silverstein, you had pataki assuring the port authority and they believed in the importance of the commercial space that was destroyed. they wanted to make sure that lower manhattan remained an international financial hub. and they believed that in order for it to remain the reputation they had to rebuild all of this commercial space. that was very, a very controversial point early on, when a lot of people thought of the land as a burial ground. and even those who didn't lose -- who didn't lose loved ones, they didn't think it should be developed like a regular piece of new york real estate. so the lead when it and decided we were rebuild the office space without any, no discussion, no public debate. later that summer, summer of 2002, there's a huge public hearing called listening to the city. 5000 people turned out into the johnson in new york to help
decide what the world trade center will be. it was amazing to see -- >> host: democracy inaction. >> guest: supposedly democracy inaction. what no renew was that pataki and silverstein have made a lot of decisions already. they made a decision this would be a pretty heavily commercial group of land that would have them over and that have a train station but still, a lot of the commercial real estate. they laid out, they gave all of us, the 5000 of us, these plans they had already worked on and we're supposed to pick one of the fun. they were all for summer because they'll have the same programs of commercial space for the memorial. people objected out my. they said their terrible. too much office space. they said the developer, larry silverstein, has to much power over the rebuilding effort because of his lease. and the we need to start over. like, this can be a regular rebuilding effort. this can be a regular piece of
land. we need something monumental. people want to see something really exciting and innovative. something that had never been done before. they wanted something symbolic. they wanted maybe a tall skyscraper to fill in the skyline but they didn't want this regular old office building. so this presented a problem to those in charge, because silverstein had a lease that and titled him to rebuild all the spaces that he wanted, and yet the people, the public were calling for that lease to be broken and for it not to defined this land. and the way they did was they open up an international design competition. they had architects from around the world making these plans, really fantastical buildings. but they didn't change the requirement, those pre-existing points that they decided on, like 10 million square feet of office space. that remained intact.
they carry that over into the competition, but now looking at the museum, this amazing architecture from lowered norman foster, it doesn't look so bad. suddenly, they can put a fancy, interesting spin on it. it was in the fine print. if you read the fine print you saw what was going on, but people kind of forgot what they had rejected was actually, for the most part, remained intact in this design competition. and so that was how the resolve that conflict, and that's how daniel became the master plan for the world trade center site. he won that competition. , particularly with his building that had echoes the statue of liberty. that was recorded piece of his design. but they capitalized is never going to be the architect. he was the master planner. it was very confusing tactical
distinction between master plan and architects to design buildings. that was also part of the slipperiness i think of that moment when the public wanted something that the people in charge and you they could not deliver. >> how did that battle, one of the many battles you discuss in your book, how did that battle ultimately get result. >> guest: it got resolved, it took years, but larry silverstein, who owns the lease, good higher whatever architects he would've. he had already done so. this competition was unfolding of he hide his architects. so daniel libeskind wins the master plan competition. david childs comes in, who's silverstein's architect, and the two of them tried to work together because daniel libeskind wants to design this. he believes he's entitled to by virtue of his winning design. and sold for about six months i think in their they are each designed own building and even though only one will be built.
and then finally they renegotiate the terms and david childs, the main architect, daniel libeskind is kind of advisor on the road, but they are bringing lawyers to meeting them not speaking to one another, kind of a contested time. >> host: you raised frequently in the book, either explicitly or implicitly, this distinction between substantive disagreements, good faith or otherwise, and process. and one thing i find very, very interesting in your book that i discovered myself in the design, administration of the 9/11 victim compensation fund is the importance of process. not substance. substance is important. put that aside. >> guest: what do you mean? >> host: what to the plans look like? or when you arrive at the javits center, is the fix already in,
or will there be an international museum? well, substantively it might be a good idea the way they roll it out procedurally he is guaranteed to fail. and one thing that comes through loud and clear, both in the book and today in our discussion, is the failure of policymakers, architects, planners, politicians, museum designers, owners of the property, elected officials, how often the battle, or battles that you discuss, are the results of a failure of transparency, of openness, of procedural due process, of outreach, of inclusion. talk a little bit about the lessons you learned in your
anthropological research, and then researching the book. talk a little bit about how decision-makers shoot themselves in the foot over and over and over again by failing to focus on how you were going to spin your proposal, and how you're going to try and reach out to vested interests, economic, social, political, in an effort to get them onboard. >> guest: yeah, i mean you're exactly right. and i think the question of transparency is really important. i think you're in the book, while this is unfolding, after 2001, there was an understanding among elected officials that this needed to be a public process. if you listen to what they're saying they're using terms all along, but at the same time they were making their own decisions but they were not sharing with the public. people get fat.
you know, -- that. you know that behind closed doors elected officials our leaders involved in making some decisions that they're not letting you in on. so that when you go to these public hearings in his townhall called listening to the city, and everyone is asking as though your vote counts, we are going to determine everything that happens here when, in fact, many decisions have already been made. people start to feel manipulated. and i think that that's where it goes wrong. and so if you're going, if those in charge, for instance, really believe that some decisions couldn't be made by the public, because they were too important, our larry silverstein has a lease and that's just it. you stop there because the lease and housing to certain things we don't want to discuss. i think you have to say that. you have to tell people and trust the public to be able to take that information and respond. and know that there's going to be, i think people wanted to see
this streamlined, you know, this kind of their unique democratic process. where we tell you when to come, when dafoe, where to share your ideas and then we will move forward, rather than having the messy all in kind of free exchange of ideas that would have probably taken more time, but may not take as much time as it only took. >> host: do you reach a conclusion in your book, is this failure, that process, that transparency, is this arrogance? is it ignorance? or is it something else altogether? >> guest: i think -- >> host: that's a great question. [laughter] >> guest: that's a great question to everyone i talk to, i came away thinking, well, ever have their own motives and agendas. everyone also was trying to do the right thing, but there were
so many pressures, and they were trying to kind of, they were trying to do -- me to make people happy. you start to cheat a little bit around the edges, and you think you can get away with it. i think, you think we have a public process and we make them think that it's public, everyone will jump on board with that, and it will be truly public. rather than being actually something more in between. some of it was privately made, decisions were privately made, and some were made openly. rather than being a combination but i think you have to really lay it out there. this is what we are empowering you to decide on and be involved in and this is what we are saying. >> host: do you think there was a fundamental mistake at the outset that, again, i learned this from my 911 experience. was there a fundamental mistake at the outset in expecting that
the apparent democratic process of reaching out to interest groups, the public, et cetera, was their mistake at the outset in expecting that you could ever make people the word you used quote happy, unquote? or would everybody have been much better off if they brace themselves for the reality that this is going to be very emotional? you will please, nobody, you better go forward with that expectation, rather than an effort to try and make people happy? >> guest: yes. i think so. i think we have, when we talk about democratic process, sometimes it has a romantic miss to it that everyone will vote for share the points of view but it will somehow happen in
pleasant organize way. when, in fact, when you look at what it really is like, it's horribly messy and angry and bitter. and a lot of people are left feeling like they've not been heard and listened to come and they may not have been. it's something i think you're constantly aspiring to achieve. it's not something you actually achieve. and so come and so i think after 9/11 especially there was such a feeling of coming together, community, that many leaders in new york and around the country wanted to build on. i think i want to carry that into a resulting process, and i think for a very short read of time people were willing to go along, but then it became clear that in essence nothing changed. there were lots of different interest groups. they all have things they needed and wanted, and no one really wanted to give anything up and
who's going to take a lot of hard battles to get it figured out. >> host: it seems to me in the book, the quote -- the group of the phrase interest groups, the group that policymakers thought could be dealt with in a reasonable success away, the families, that there was a miscalculation there that policymakers should have understood from the get-go, as i understood in implementing the 9/11 fund, do not expect families who lost loved ones in the dramatic core, don't expect reasonableness, don't expect contemplative response. expect very emotional parochial concern about validation of memory. or am i overplaying fat, and
that the families, like anybody else, could have been dealt with on a more reasonable level? >> guest: i think there are certain individuals that fit that profile but there others that don't. i talk to a lot of family members, some of whom, you know, and i'm sure you met them as well, they really became activists after 9/11. they started their own groups. they became public -- >> host: i remember the new jersey girls. >> guest: they are public figures, speaking on tv, giving interviews. they really have a cause they are advancing. i indicated them as though i was interviewing anyone else, you know, what angle are you approaching this? what do you want? they were coming from a place of loss. at the heckler becomes something more and different for them but it had become political. other family members who never entered the public arena. you saw them as well. they were simply grieving for a loved one. they really didn't want to get involved with any of the
messiness, but it did feel like they wanted someone to listen to them, they didn't want to be cheated out of something either. and i think it was, for then it was harder to know how to go forward. i talked to a group in philadelphia. they were a philadelphia families group, so they were not in the new york hubbub of it all, and i found them to be incredibly contemplative and reflective. this was a couple years later, and at moments they were very angry. they did not like was going on, and they showed that a motion very freely but they could also talk about how they imagined their feedings would change over time. they felt like right now ground zero feels like a very personal place to them, but 20 years from now maybe it won't and maybe that's how it should be. so they could, i think there was an awareness. >> host: we are here talking with, and learn from, elizabeth greenspan, an anthropologist, a lecturer at harvard university, and the author of a fascinating
new book, "battle for ground zero: inside the political struggle to rebuild the world trade center." mcmillon. elizabeth, a couple other related questions. you mentioned that you spoke to some philadelphia families. to what extent, as an anthropologist as well as a student of the world trade center, observer, to what extent is this battle for ground zero, new york, a new york battle? or to put it another way, to what extent are the battle lines drawn because of the characteristics and the political environment, and the social environment, that is new york city? or to what extent do you glean from the battle here more
universal lessons? or is this really a parochial battle, passing but a parochial battle for the hearts and minds of new yorkers? >> guest: it's about new york insofar as the constraints on the land. it was a piece of land and one of the most expensive as of the city and the financial district. you could imagine if this happened in other places, there might have been more freedom to think about how this land could be used, beyond certain commercial or noncommercial uses. but here, ma no restriction. this was one of the most valuable pieces of land in the world. but because it's one of the most valuable pieces of land in the world i think it does offer some more universal lessons about how we decide who the land belongs to. i mean, battles over land happen. they are one of the most universal things that we fight over in countries, you know, i was thinking often, it's a much different situation but the
israeli-palestinian conflict over land. you just a very fundamental beliefs about what the land is. it's very emotionally and religiously, they think of the land very differently. it's a question of who it belongs to. it's the question of ownership again. and i think you saw that again with slightly different groups and characters here playing out groups trying to claim the land and make it their own so that they could treat it that way. >> host: do you find there's something unique about argumentative polarizing new yorkers? not necessary a negative. new yorkers are very effective and articulate their views, expressing themselves, being willing to engage in sacrifice in order to promote their objectives. to what extent is the new york
city environment in the context in which this unfolded quite unique to new york, oregon, no one there may be a bit of a different mindset among palestinians and israelis, but the fact of the matter is, the battle lines can be drawn similarly in other contexts, or not really? >> guest: i think india, i mean, i think one of the things, there have been great protests about this place. that continue to this day. i think they may continue to be protests very emotional charge protest. there has been violence. no one, despite the strong feelings, and despite the multiple groups and the different politics of the people you're bringing together, there has not yet been violence. i think we can overlook that because we don't think of public protests as violence in this country. but if you pay attention to what's happening around the world we are seeing that more and more. it's to our credit that we can have charged public debate where
people come out on the street, but it doesn't go further than that. and people will yell nasty things at one another and say terrible things, which i was in the midst of it in new york, particularly over the islamists into. that was the most charge, most recent controversy. there was a big police presence, and everyone followed those rules. there were some charged moments, looked like it could erupt, violence, people could start fighting, but it didn't. i think that does -- new york does give some credit for that because it's a city that prides itself on being open, of embracing people of different backgrounds and different points of view, and having them together in this mix. that's what a lot of people who love new york city, they love that, that should immigrants from all over the world living there and you have this incredible mixing going on. hopefully we want to keep that going in new york. you don't want people to start quartering off into the
different groups and then lose something. and so that's why public spaces like the public space that they now have at ground zero at the memorial plaza is so important because hopefully it can continue that tradition. >> host: is, as we said her today, reflecting on the battle for ground zero, is the battle over? as the battle been resolved? i noticed the new new york skyline with the tower, majestically standing there at the front and center of the skyline. is the battle largely over, and are we now writing in your fabulous book, with a little bit of already a historical perspective? or is the final skirmish yet to be fought? >> guest: the battle is partly
over. i do think about of what the land will become is over. the buildings are not yet completed. one world trade center, as you mentioned, it topped out so it's not the tallest building in the western hemisphere, but it won't be open for another year. the museum will open next year. >> host: stop right there. you did say earlier in this interview that the original idea of a human rights type museum, tom bernstein's concept and was defeated. we've got the tower. topped out as you say. now there's a museum. there's a memorial. fellows in. >> guest: there's the memorial pool that of the footprints of the twin towers with the names around them of all of the victims come and there's the freedom tower, now called one world trade center and there's an underground museum that is under the footprints, and that will be dedicated to 9/11. ..
but there's a plan to have former skyscape burrs. they are in the process. there is overseas building is opening this fall. but then there's two mothers that he is looking to get tenants for right now and they are building, to the undergrad work for. i spoke to him and he thought they would be completed in 2017. ever think silverstein is the most optimistic with his buildings. so 2017 perhaps we'll see those construction on the commercial buildings. >> host: you imagine these various sites, various buildings, why isn't the battle over what skirmishes as you say are yet to be fought? >> guest: the problem of the land is fixed. everything needs to be finished, but i think what i learned in doing this back is that the question of 9/11 it helped that the trauma of that event remains unresolved. there was the belief that if we
repair this land and rebuild it but that would also allow us to move forward in a certain way from 9/11. i think that's partly true. if the rebuilding his base is very important to remain whole for another decade or two would be incredibly detrimental to the american collective psyche. but just because we repaired it doesn't mean suddenly -- it doesn't be 9/11 didn't happen. and it doesn't mean the trauma from that event that we've been struggling to make sense that for the decade is suddenly was called either. the data we continue to see are the one we see much more of the questions of meaning and politics about 9/11. it's hard to know what they'll be it, but they will continue to, because this event is also powerful to so many people. do not will not manifest itself
in what goes in loving what is the message? bovo but they be external battle over how the world trade center site out to be spotted or approached were looked upon. >> what it means and how people use them to become integrated into the neighborhood. the museums based committee to add add different programming overtime. what kind of questions that they allowed to ask polar enemies beyond and at the memorial? is the biggest basis where we can see continued conflict perhaps. >> have the mayor players come in the jungles of the foot soldiers in the battles that you've talked about in your book, have they moved on? or are those players, i received mayor bloomberg, but are they
still private citizen flavors who won't let go who are determined to live and die on the mantle of this site? >> guest: yaps, absolutely. there are downtown residents and victims in the numbers who have created a group. they are completely following the news and they will be doing that for years and years. they will watch everything that happens, every new piece that emerges and has something to say about it. and they may not like it. >> host: what does that say about the human nature of the elements of these people who won't let go, who are determined to focus their day to day living on an ongoing battle for ground zero? what does that say about human
nature and the desire some people come about in memory or mass for self gratification or closure, a word i hear a lot about, not sure what it means. what does that say about human nature and the human condition in terms of not letting go? >> guest: i hesitate to judge motivation and also to weigh in but you should be ready to move honoree should be ready to let go, what's wrong with you? i think there's an ample spare for a lot of people who look at those continuing to fight and kind of see something wrong. i don't think that's fair. it's incredibly difficult situation. and to have lived through not just losing a loved one. one can understand the difficult. but 9/11 has it so already. it's very political.
people who've been in the midst of that for so long, it's become a way of life. >> host: what i find fascinating about 9/11, thousands of variations, what i found fascinating journey made ministration and you probably saw this, they were group of eight guns who lost loved ones, family, who grieve in private. they want no public role. they're not publicly interested in what you discuss in the book. on the anniversary date, they take a slow boat to china. they have no interest in lighting candles are reading names. mma is a group of well-intentioned. i'm not critical of the group, but who want to light the candles, who want a public palm oil, who want to participate. it's an interesting take on human beings create the react to tragedy. >> guest: i think there has to be space for that.
this group in philadelphia that i spent time at, most of them, not all of them, but most of them preferred to do things privately. they had their own memorials. they go to ground 01 year may be. they do thing with their community imprints in philadelphia and say they are private and personal. they are aware of other things going on, but that's not what they want. >> we'll may have a few minutes left and of course you've got to focus on the last few minutes, lessons learned, lessons learned from these battles. now the book talks not only about the battles for in the underlying reasons for those battles, but the book does offer some interesting -- an interesting recipe or agenda items for the next time. what lessons do we learn about these battles for ground zero
that may stand the public and policymakers in good stead the next time? >> i think be marked transparent, truly transparent. to actually be transparent. interest the public with more. i actually think people need to know more about what going on better than mice. tell them where you are drawing the fine. what is this for experts need to make decisions, historians and architects to pick a winning design, for instance thimbleful the public he involved in? we have to be very clear and dryness boundaries and let everybody know. allow this to take time. there is always a push here to get it down in every time the deadline was missed and they were always pushed back. so we have truly given seven years instead of trying to make it in four or five, and might've actually happen and not amount
of time instead of now still going on at 12. those are the two most important. also really be prepared for people to disagree and give people space to voice their differences of opinion and have that he okay. as much as possible. what seems to be happening in the public discourse is people run back and they run on a map type and call that person a name and try and discredit them from the things they hear that are offensive to them. we should be able to embrace that exchange of differing opinion much more than we are right now. >> this is theory useful. you focus on the element of time. now in the world trade center context, was the necessity of as you point out, give it time, is that because of the complexities
of the issues and the need for a full train and, truly transparent public vetting of the issues? or, maybe it's not exclusive, or is the of time to give it to us in their family an opportunity for the emotionalism of the horror to dissipate and diminish somewhat so that reasonable decisions can be made. is that marla, for procedural due process reasons, don't push. give people a full and fair opportunity to the the issues and debate the issues. or at the importance of time, not just that, it that you want to give people a chance to heal somewhat. >> yeah, i think it goes. one thing we can forget with new york as the victims families who
are effect it. the others involved in the port authority and architects, they are also very closely connected to what happened downtown on 9/11. the port authority, the owner of lamott's taking 75 employees were killed. probably everyone can benefit, not just those who lost. >> do you think the lessons learned about process and the transparent to you, opportunity to be heard, timing, and you think that those are universal at the united states, the palace demand, israelis would be well to read your book besides it's a great read. where are these lessons either domestic lessons or new york lessons or what? >> guest: i mean, i think they are domestic lessons for american because this is the way we go about solving these kinds
of problems. i think after the boston bombing, they are now facing similar questions. how do we commemorate this? i think they're arty starting starting to be different pressures of business -- businesses involved. there's those who lost one thing you ran from there as well. he got the groups involved and that's all they'll be putting something together to figure out how to go forward. we want to avoid some of the mistakes that would have been there. >> host: elizabeth greenspan, "battle for ground zero: inside the political struggle to rebuild the world trade center." paul craig mcmillan. elizabeth, when can we expect this to be available? >> on the bookshelves august 20th. posted august 20th, very, very good. an extraordinary book, lessons for all of us.
the types of personalities voters want to be u.s. president and what he says is less tendency to intimidate political opponents. mr. shapiro is the author of five books including "primetime propaganda" and is 2013 release, "bullies." post go from your newest book, "bullies," you write president obama would select it at least in part because he was black. it was a positive for many americans believed they needed to elect the first but president to move beyond issues of race once and for all. instead, they got a chance to embrace boley masquerading as a racial unifier. what do you mean? >> guest: president obama came into office on this great wave of american approval, that he was going to unify the country along racial lines. the president has really suggested in multiple ways not only the continuation of american racism, but one of the most