Yesterday, Saturday 1/27/07 is a day I won't forget for a long time. It is the first time in since I was 1st a year student at the Campus of Tunis (ENIT) to be part of a protest. This time it happened in the City for the locals, SanFran for my fellow Americans and San Francisco for my fellow Tunisians.
It was not planned. We were at home packing because the moving company is scheduled to come by Monday in order to move our stuff (you can't imagine the junk we accumulate in 12 years) and we found ourselves out of boxes. I took the car and drove to the nearest moving supply store. On my way I saw at many intersections downtown, many groups with flags and banners protesting against the war and Bush's politic.
It started like that, I was thinking how come these Americans took the time to prepare these banners asking to stop the killing in Iraq, "650000 is enough", "We voted 4 peace no tax money for war", "Impeach the liar", "US out of Iraq", "God forgive America", "Shutdown Guantanamo", "thou shall not kill", "Occupation>=Terrorism", "Support the right to return from Katharina to Palestine"....?
I felt revolted, I was shivering, and the adrenaline level went up and felt like I want to be with them, I wanted to shout and scream and ask the drivers by to honk for peace. I did not care if it was reasonable or useful; I just wanted to do it. I wanted to express myself, as a human being, as an Arab, as a Muslim, as a Tunisian and as an American.
I came back home and told my wife and my kids what was going on and I told them that I am going to join the crowd at Market St. My wife smiled and asked me to be careful and my son was begging to come with me. I asked him why and he told me "As an Arab and American, I should be in the first line of this protest. Bush is an idiot and everybody knows it, perhaps if we all protest, he will realize it..."
I was so proud of him, I was almost crying. I know what some of you will think, that I'm a dreamer, sensitive guy, I know but people who know me, know how tough I can be and still that my kid was with me in this and even arguing better than me in such subjects, made me proud and I felt like I accomplished my mission raising him.
Anyway, we took the bus and then walked downtown and joined the crowd, I was wearing the Tunisian football team shirt and my son was holding a cardboard with "Stop the killing of innocents. US out of Iraq NOW". There were hundreds of people, from all ethnicities and origins. All ages and genders were represented. It was like a party. We had some discussions with some of them. Of course they were all middle class and university graduated and mainly democrats, intellectual and so not representative of the US population, but some of them were conservatives and very religious.
The police was there to protect us in case of a counter protest, but no Bush supporter showed up. The officers were smiling at us. Some of them were giving us the thump up sign. And this time I'm not dreaming, it really happened. I did not have a camera but here are some of the photos taken by SF chronicle photographers.