At the back of the hill

Warning: May contain traces of soy, wheat, lecithin and tree nuts. That you are here
strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton.
And that you might like cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Location: on the sidewalk outside the new Federal Building on Seventh Street between Mission and Market.

Got there at about 5:20 PM.
Stayed till 6:00 PM.

Mostly, a waste of time. 'Borat' was there, gibberingly upset that we weren't - somebody had told him we would be out in force.
I gave him a cigarillo. It kept going out.


ATTENDEES: 150 to 160 people, mostly elderly, some substance abuser-types, a few young Pally looking fellows. One, maybe two, anarchist-bandanna across the ponim.
Average age of the crowd was forty or so, average skin-hue was middle-class Berkeley, average gender veered slightly towards earth-mother.
Half a dozen keffiyot maximum. Three things that looked like Palestinian colours, but no Palestinian flags.

SIGNS: 120 - 150, mostly on focus (Afghanistan), mostly ANSWER productions.
About sixteen of the signs mentioned Gaza, Occupsacrime, or The Right of Return - possibly all of them recycled from previous festivities.
One sign said" Without Justice, Freedom is Meaningless".

SPEECHES: Somebody (Borat, please stop screaming "you assholes" when you're standing next to me) quoted from Pastor Niemöller's famous text ("first they came for..."). Somebody else (Borat, stop shouting!) speeched about the war not being to the benefit of the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, or Israel (yes, that's right - 'not beneficial to the people of Israel').
Richard Becker said a lot, but by now Borat was going all apoplectic, and I couldn't figure out what Becker was going on about - sorry, I was distracted.

Gloria LaRiva accused the board of supes of being war-mongering imperialists, primarily because she and a companion got arrested on Mission Street last week for putting up posters - the nerve! (something about a twenty-thousand dollar fine?) - and secondarily because the Blue Angels will be in town this weekend. She also hates the Oakland City Government - they too are imperialist warmongers, chiefly because of their parking policies. Evil, evil, evil.

Someone else speeched about healthcare. Money for our schools. Old folks. The Cuban Five. The San Francisco Eight. Borat, will you just shut up! I'm here to take photos, count people and signs, and NOT to attract attention or pick fights. Yes, here's my lighter - those things do go out if you're not paying attention (because you're jumping up and down and screaming).

Daisy cutters on Afghan villagers. War crimes. Destruction of Afghan hovels. The recruiting of fourteen-year olds by the US military in our schools. Outing homosexuals.
A Vietnam vet spoke, a female soldier who had been in Iraq also. The San Francisco Labor Council sent it's support, but was not physically represented.
If Israel was mentioned at all, it was in passing, and only to the already converted.

POLICE: Ten officers in front of the door to the Federal Building. Another half dozen or so on the peripheries. A blue minyan walked past me on the other side of the street.

GENERAL IMPRESSIONS: No passers-by to impress, no swelling of the crowd. Some attendees left before I did. The guy dressed like a weird Greek Orthodox priest was there - he was the only one with an American flag. Two or three people had 911 truth signs. The three or four Palestinian teenagers had a bullhorn, but didn't use it. Borat was hideously upset that some of the signs mentioned Israel, or Palestine, or Gaza - "Zees piple, zey are not on our side I don't zeenk". Couldn't have said it better myself.
There were three news vans there. It must be a slow day.

I have no doubt that many in the crowd hate Israel - that's par for the course at most far-left protests, the strident ideology attracts vermin.
But Israel was not the focus. There actually wasn't a focus.

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  • At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just as Schopenhauer predicted, absolutely nothing is happening.

  • At 7:58 AM, Blogger Dusty said…

    I am sorry if people expected a counterprotest. ANSWER is just so anemic and impotent that frankly, it just didn't seem worth our time.
    Yes, a San Francisco Voice for Israel presence does liven things up and I know that Dick Becker loves loves loves us, but we made a conscious decision to let them fall flat on their faces without our help. I'm glad to see that they didn't disappoint.

  • At 9:42 AM, Blogger Tzipporah said…

    How could anyone possibly be against the Blue Angels? They helped the Mythbusters! ;)

  • At 1:21 PM, Blogger Spiros said…

    Speaking as somebody who worked in North Beach for ten years, when every yob from Concord felt the need to spend Fleet Week on Broadway; and someone who, even as we speak, has the blasted jets flying incessantly over his house, take it from me: you can very easily come to absolutely LOATHE the f-ing Blue f-ing Angels. Easily.

  • At 1:24 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    even as we speak, has the blasted jets flying incessantly over his house, take it from me: you can very easily come to absolutely LOATHE the f-ing Blue f-ing Angels. Easily.

    Amen, brother, amen.
    The time will come when one of us locals starts taking shots at the f*ckers with shoulder-launched rockets.

  • At 1:54 PM, Blogger Spiros said…

    I decided not to post my concluding sentence about wanting one of those things to crash into the Mayor's house, on the grounds that it might have been in dubious taste.

  • At 1:55 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    As long as his house is NOT near mine, it's in excellent taste.

    Nothing dubious about it.

  • At 5:20 PM, Blogger Spiros said…

    He used to live a block away from me, but since he got married, I assume he lives on Pacific Heights again.


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