by Talat Hamdani
This is text of Talat Hamdani’s statement at the recent press conference in Albany, NY on drivers license policy in NY State:
[Editor’s note: since the date of this speech, Gov. Spitzer has changed his proposal to one Peaceful Tomorrows can no longer support.]
My name is Talat Hamdani. I am a member of September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. September 11 families is composed of close to 200 families who lost a loved one on 9/11.
I lost my son, Salman, at the WTC on 9/11. Salman was a police cadet at the time. Even though he was off duty, he rushed to the WTC immediately after seeing the towers burning from the #7 train. Salman was a certified paramedic and he wanted to help in the recovery operations. It was his last heroic act. He is mentioned for his ultimate sacrifice by name in the Patriot Act. And being an immigrant he was investigated as a terrorist!
I understand the importance of our nation’s security, and i am here today, as a spokesperson for 9/11 families to commend governor Spitzer for his courageous leadership in implementing a new driver’s license policy that will not only make our roads safer, but also make our country more secure. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and do the right thing.
Unfortunately, ever since Governor Spitzer announced the policy change, he has been attacked and accused of assisting terrorists and not caring about those who died on 9/11. Who else would care more for safety and security than myself? My son was an immigrant. That does not mean he was a terrorist. And by virtue of this argument, if immigrants are terrorists, then all Americans, excluding Native Americans, are terrorists. Legal or illegal, that is for the federal government to decide, and that is why we need a comprehensive immigration reform.
It hurts me to hear politicians manipulate the memory of 9/11 and my son’s sacrifice, along with the other 3000 that died that day, for political gains. It is immoral and unethical to exploit our loss for their selfish gains. The members of 9/11 families still feel immense grief six years after the attacks. Yet statements by certain politicians equating Governor Spitzer’s decision with assisting terrorists are wrong, hurtful and irresponsible.
We all want to be safe, and that is exactly what governor Spitzer’s policy will do– it will make us safer by making sure that people are competent to drive and are listed in the state’s database. New York state will now have information on hundreds of thousands of people who before were not in the state’s database.
I ask politicians to stop manipulating and exploiting the memory of my son and others who died on 9/11 by playing the trump card of fear.
I thank Governor Spitzer for implementing a common sense policy that protects immigrants and protects all New Yorkers.