Sunday, September 23, 2007

Another View of Counter Protesters at Washington March

UF Journalism student Iñigo Amescua sent this account of his encounter with the pro war forces that gathered to greet anti war protesters in Washington on September 15th.

“What are you looking at? You jerk. Hey what are you doing with your camera freak?”
says the big-clean-cut-hair-Rayban-sun-glasses-fat-guy.

I don’t know if I understand the situation; I don’t say a word. “Hey YOU” – he looks like John Goodman in The Big Lebowski movie without the tender heart: “What are you recording freak?”

I, this time, know what is going on, remember the Marvin Gaye’s song?

I doubt whether to respond him or not… “You shouldn’t”. I think to myself. “You are a journalist, shut up”. I say to myself. And the big-fat guy continues shouting at me while he turns his ridiculously small- chilli-red head towards me like a turtle.

“Damn”, I give up and say, “Why are you insulting me?”
“Oh,” big guy-big belly responds trying to mimic me “poor little guy ‘Why are you insulting me?’” and smiles sardonically.

I, old Spaniard proud pumping in my veins like red hot coal, repeat my question:
“I am working here, I am a journalist, I’m just taking pictures and sound… why you are insulting me?”
And then big-fat-empty-head-guy says: “I am using my freedom of speech”. ZAS! HIS FREEDOM OF SPEECH? WHAT? FREEDOM OF WHAT?

I just stare at him. I really don’t know what to do or say. Should I kick his balls in a wonderful exercise of my freedom of kick-the-asshole-balls? Umm… attractive idea but I should not, I have a student visa, a scholarship, I cannot… I just smile and turn.

I do understand now. You cannot really have a conversation with this kind of person: they don’t understand anything about freedom, liberties or even speech. There is a beautiful middle aged woman with clear blue eyes who comes to me and says in an incredible sweet voice: “I am so embarrassed. You are not even from this country and you are already suffering this behavior.” Gosh, I don’t know what to say either and not just because she looks very fine… she almost embraces me, and tells me she is from New York, and introduces me to a friend of hers who is shooting a documentary about the march.

Later I see all these people lying in the ground just as if they were dead. I see the V-for-Vendetta masked veteran, the girl with the fake blood in her face, the photos of the dead boys in the chest of their mothers: I see the ardour in the eyes, the excitement, the hope, and the old delusion floating everywhere although nobody wants to recognise it.

I talk with Don the veteran in his wheelchair; he talks about his pain, his wounds (the ones that I can tell from the outside and the ones that are inside), his dead friend Ray, and his pretty Vietnamese wife dead in a terrorist attack in Saigon. I have just met him but I cannot help but embrace him while he cries. I hate it, I don’t like the possibility of being too emotional, but I do CAN’T HELP IT, this man is suffering, he has been suffering for 40 years now. He says “thank you” in quiet manner.

The big white dome of the Capitol floats above our heads like a birthday cake made of cream.

See Iñigo's photos from Washington and his blog

1 comment:

Dilly said...

I met Inigo when I got on the bus to go to Washington. He was manically going around taking pictures and I was curious. I got off the bus and asked him what he was doing, and he patiently explained how to pronounce his name and that he was a journalist. I was very favorably impressed and thought that he was the caliber of student that would make an excellent journalist. I will look for his work in the years to come, and wish him well, we need more like him. He likely won't get tased, but you never know here in Taser Town.