Past Features

September 27, 2015

Invoking a Myth
Lady Liberty Abused -- Again

London Guardian -- September 26, 2015   
'Son of immigrants': pope requests impromptu flight over Statue of Liberty
    When Pope Francis left New York for Philadelphia on Saturday he took one last look at one of the city's most famous landmarks, the Statue of Liberty.
    In a spontaneous deviation from a busy schedule, as the pope left Manhattan by helicopter for JFK Airport in the borough of Queens, he asked a pilot to fly over landmarks including the statue and the former immigrant processing center at nearby Ellis Island, Reuters reported. [...]
    “You could see he [Francis] was very, very moved,” New York archbishop Timothy Dolan said. “And he said: ‘You know, Buenos Aires was a city of immigrants too.'” [...]
    The Statue of Liberty, gifted to the US and dedicated in 1886, is a hugely symbolic site in the history of US immigration.

Now the Truth
Letter to L.A. Times by Raymond Tyndall, M.D.
Re: "From Work's Noble Calling, A Tragic End" (092297)
    In 1886, a great statue was erected in New York Harbor. Called Liberty Enlightening the Word, the statue was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States. Because the Americans with their successful revolution that resulted in a Declaration of Independence in 1776 had lit the way for the people of France, who began their own successful revolution in 1789, the statue included a perpetual torch that would light the way for other nations whose people also wished to achieve liberty.
    But a poet named Emma Lazarus decided that she was not satisfied with the gift of the French people as a symbol of liberty. She had in mind a completely opposite concept: Rather than a symbol of fighting for liberty and a republican form of government in the country of one's birth, Lazarus believed that Lady Liberty should symbolize the fleeing of the problems of one's native country start a new life in the United States. This radical transformation of the original meaning of Lady Liberty has had a profound effect on the world's dispossessed and their view of the United States.