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September 12, 2010

Alan Chin: 9/11 Anniversary Ground Zero Protests; We’re Just All(ah) Americans Here

For several years now, I have been working with Alan Chin to capture significant political events beyond the media filter.  Whether covering presidential primaries or the aftermath of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, our interest, besides the scene “on the ground,” has involved how the media chooses to put words and a literal frame around the scene.

Speaking of “ground,” it’s hard to find a larger disconnect between reality and the media storyline than the one Alan photographed at Ground Zero this weekend on the anniversary of 9/11.  Whereas the media’s coverage of Ground Zero and Cordoba Islamic Center protests tend to soft pedal the conflict as a battle of left vs. right, or protectors of freedom of religion vs. defenders of the victims of 9/11, Chin’s photos offer us a different, if obvious message.

What the pictures have to say is that people who take their citizenship and their rights all-too-for granted have turned the terror attack; the commemoration of the terror attack; the election of a half-black Christian president; and this current election season into an opportunity, in the most sanctimonious way, to use classic American symbols, as well as symbols of Christianity, to scapegoat otherwise patriotic, hardworking American Muslims.

What Alan shot and represented in a simple eight frame slideshow is how American Muslims and Muslims in America are overwhelming true to the ideals the haters exploit, and on Saturday, in symbolism and self-expression (whether the media chose to notice or not), they showed up and made it known.

– Michael Shaw

PHOTOGRAPHS by ALAN CHIN / facingchange.org

(Revised: 9/12. 2:45pm PST)

About the Photographer

Alan Chin

Alan Chin was born and raised in New York City’s Chinatown. Alan Chin was born and raised in New York City’s Chinatown. Since 1996, he has worked in China, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, and throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. In the US, Alan has explored the South, following the historic trail of the civil rights movement and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, covered multiple presidential campaigns, and the Occupy Wall Street movement. He is a contributing photographer to Newsweek/Daily Beast and The New York Times, a member of Facing Change: Documenting America (FCDA), and an editor at Newsmotion.org. You can see all Alan's posts for BagNews here.

  • eccho said

    mnemosynesthesiacs: ‘we(as)individual(s)’ are/is tautologically, rhetorically, and Otherwise, more/less redundant.

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