“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”
— Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa never longed for 15 minutes of fame, nor was being in the spotlight her life-long ambition. By touching the untouchable, comforting the uncomfortable and loving the unloved, she fixed what no one else could — the broken hearts that were shattered by poverty, disease and sickness.
Throughout her life, she did all of this with strength and dignity — and without an ever-present legion of paparazzi.
Recently, the Catholic League requested that the Empire State Building light up the upper floors in blue and white in honor of what would have been Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday this August 26.
The building’s owner, Anthony Malkin, refused, setting off a fire storm of criticism by citing that the policy of the building is not to honor religious figures.
League head Bill Donohue, along with a roster of who’s whos, decried Malkin for his refusal to honor the centennial occasion stating, “Malkin is a liar. He doesn’t have a policy on this.”
A quick check of past recipients revealed that the Empire State Building has lit up the city’s skies for the deaths of Cardinal O’Connor, Pope John Paul II, Passover, Easter and the beginning of Eid-al-Fitr — religious leaders and celebrations all —proving that Donohue wasn’t that far off in his assessment.
According to a report in the NY Post, a “massive demonstration is now planned for the day. However, Gov. Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg declined to comment.”
So what do Homer Simpson (2007), Mariah Carey’s album (2008), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the 60th Anniversary of Communist China and an exhibit of the Grateful Dead (all 2009), have that Mother Teresa doesn’t have?
Other than blue and white lights, not a blessed thing.
But as I’ve always said, this is America and we are all entitled to our opinions and our freedoms. Mr. Malkin can do what he pleases with his lights — it’s his building. Personally, I don’t see the need to frequent the place, it’s only a building with an owner who has questionable taste. And I doubt if Mother Teresa would even care about the lights or not, as she preferred to live her life without the trappings of publicity.
Hey, if I want a skyline view I’ll take the Staten Island Ferry (it’s free), drive over one of our many bridges or take a tram ride, for the price of subway fare.
Not for nuthin,™ but I think we should honor Mother Teresa’s birthday by listening to her teachings. Let’s not wait for our leaders. Let’s do it alone, person to person, and let Anthony Malkin shove his blue-and-whiteless building where the sun don’t shine.
PS: Brooklyn’s Borough Hall will be lit blue and white in honor of Mother Teresa’s birthday on August 26.