In one of the most appalling pieces of media to emerge lately is a piece from Michael Daly in The Daily Beast entitled “The Statue of Liberty was born a Muslim”. Predictably, Daly’s attempt at historical-cultural exploration is a thinly veiled sales pitch for Obama’s Syrian refugee resettlement program.
To begin with, statues aren’t “born” into any particular faith. Statues are made, not born. The Statue of Liberty was no more a Muslim than a spoon is a Christian or a couch is a wiccan. No-brainer.
Where Daly’s conflation gets ridiculous is in his elastic treatment of historical fact. Yes, it’s true Frederic Bartholdi wanted to erect a large statue of a woman, presumably a Muslim, on the north end of the Suez Canal. (The Canal was brand new back then). Egypt wasn’t interested. Bartholdi was. His goal wasn’t to build a gigantic statue of a Muslim woman. He wanted to build a massive statue of some kind. Any kind. Why?
Bartholdi wanted to repeat in the modern era what ancient Greece had done with the Colossus of Rhodes. It was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and was one of the tallest statues of it’s time. What was the Colossus of Rhodes? It was a representation of Helios, the ancient Greek sun god. And, it was what motivated Bartholdi to build a big statue.
To follow Michael Daly’s logic, it would be equally – if not more – legitimate to say the Statue of Liberty was born a member of the Cult of Helios (a sun-god worshipper).
After Egypt turned him down, Bartholdi shelved the designs he had in mind for the Suez Canal, and turned his thoughts to the United States. This is where the notion of a statue “repurposed” comes from. As if the Suez statue was all set and ready to go, but just required a little touching up here and there to be reborn as the Statue of Liberty.
How off the wall is this idea? Led Zeppelin helps explain.
John Bonham, drummer for the legendary rock band, was trained and well-versed in jazz percussion. His background is evident in their songs – listen to how he “swings” the beat. With this as Led Zeppelin’s foundation, is it fair to say that Led Zeppelin were a born as a jazz quartet but repurposed as a hard rock band? Makes sense?
Nope. It’s a silly example. It’s also emblematic of the way the left repurposes history to suit their agenda. If Michael Daly wanted to talk about the Statue of Liberty’s origins, he wouldn’t have made seven of his twelve paragraphs about Syrian refugees. But he does, leaving only five paragraphs directly related to his headline.
As for the Syrian refugees, a great many leftists are beside themselves quoting the poem, “The New Colossus”, as if Emma Lazarus wrote it with these refugees in mind:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, you storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
In the same way they’d like to appropriate the Statue of Liberty, the left would also like to appropriate the poetry that accompanies the statue. But, how many leftists know that:
– The Lazarus family, originally from Portugal, lived in America decades BEFORE independence was declared from Great Britain in 1776. Thus, Emma Lazarus wasn’t the caricatured image of the victim-immigrant the left loves to conjure up. If anything, she was one of those “evil nativists” they hate.
– Emma Lazarus was Jewish. Her faith was important to her. She was also a staunch advocate for the creation of the modern Israeli state – she was a Zionist at least a decade before Theodor Herzl coined the term “Zionist”. To Lazarus, left-wing support for “Palestine” would appear hostile and contrary to her most closely held beliefs.
The left is unfortunately very good at taking historical events apart, and repackaging them as emotional appeals for the things they want. Thanksgiving becomes white oppression imposed upon a peaceful people of color. Footage of Selma circa 1965 is representative of “marriage inequality” and the push for “LGBTQ rights”. Madame Secretary (the CBS infomercial for Hillary Clinton that pretends to be anything but) cherry picks events that occurred during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State and recasts them in a positive light. #BlackLivesMatter describes the whole of American history as “400 years of racism”. Michael Daly at The Daily Beast delivers a retelling of the Statue of Liberty’s history as a pro-Syrian refugee piece.
It’s time to start taking history back.