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Four years already?

April 13, 2007, 7:36 PM

Would you believe it? It’s been four years since my very first protest, which I documented from the sidelines as A Protest Against the War in Photography. Four years yesterday. Where has the time gone? It still seems fresh, though. Perhaps because I’ve been to a lot of other anti-war events since then. Who knows.

Still, it’s been four years since this:

Look who I ran into!  Two friends of mine, Arianna and Linda, of Potomac Hall at JMU.  They decorated shirts for the occasion, with Arianna having “NOT MY WAR” written on the back of her shirt, and Linda having WWND on the front of her shirt stating “What Would Nixon Do”, and on the back, had the “oil logo speech” parody ironed onto the back of her shirt.

And this:

Quite a few black bloc protesters waved black and red flags, though black flags tended to predominate.  This protester is waving his flag in front of cars on 14th Street.

And also this:

Near the White House, Guernica made another appearance, with these large reproductions of elements from the painting.

And this, too:

Other familiar scenes make their appearance, as the Patriot Act banner and corporate logo flag finish the protest route.

That was an important DC trip. It was a real eye-opener. It introduced me to activism for the first time, live and in person. Now I consider myself somewhat of a member of the DC activist crowd. I remember the first time I saw people in full black bloc. I remember thinking, I didn’t think people actually did that! Now I go with them and fully participate. That day was a life-changing event. It tapped that activist spark in me, and I’ve been running on it ever since.

You can also tell whe looking at that photo set that I was still very much a “greenhorn” on these things. For one, this was the only protest that I would ever go to and remain strictly on the sidelines. For future events, I was right in the thick of it. This was also the only ANSWER event that I went to where they were known as “International ANSWER”. By the time of my next protest, they were calling themselves “ANSWER Coalition”. It also took me a little more than two months to complete that set. It would actually make the longest turnaround time to date for a protest photo set. It took so long because I had a lot of research to do. What were those masked demonstrators doing? Who is Che Guevara? What is International ANSWER all about? It was a real eye-opener, to say the least.

I often wonder how I would have done that photo set if I had known then what I know now. Of course, back then, there was no Life and Times section, and that’s partly why it ended up in “Photo Essays”, as the section was called back then. There is no running narrative here. The photos solely rule the day, as is the case in Photography. From there, protests made a brief landing in the Journal, they went back to Photography again, and then they ultimately found a home in Life and Times as that area developed its own style distinct from Photography.

I just can’t believe it’s been four years, but yeah, it has. Like I said, it was quite the eye-opener. It makes me feel old thinking about how it’s been four years since that set took place.

Web site: A Protest Against the War

Song: The rapper's song in the "Movies" page in the first protest photo set.

Quote: "George Bush, what do you say? Regime change in the USA!" - Four years ago yesterday...

Categories: Activism