Political Activism

It is nice not having to rush here and there, with that unquenchable tourist thirst of photographing everything that looks important. Case in point: strolling around the « downtown » area, I decided to sit down and rest for a while at the Place de Trocadero. I then decided to point my camera to a random sculpture with no historical significance whatsoever and see just how many people would pose in front of it. In the three minutes I had my camera out I took

NOT ONE

NOT TWO

BUT THREE (!)

MAYBE EVEN FOUR (?)

people pose, take a photo and walk away. As the late Professor Blanchard would say: « Don’t let me catch your little ass in front of the Eiffel Tower, or your little ass to the Arc de Triomphe, only to take a photo as proof that you’ve been places. DO YOU KNOW WHY IT’S THERE? »

And that’s the truth. Because, really, after the vacation is over, one rarely goes back to the photos a year later and feels any familiarity with the sculpture portrayed in the picture. Unless, of course, you have some sort of fetish for taking pictures next to naked ladies playing violins. Then, by all means, click away.

As riveting as being a covert observer was, the time had come to go back home. I did not even reach the top of the Place that I started to notice many purple flags and signs with Ahmadinejad’s face crossed out. I noticed many of the Iranian protesters were moudjahiddins and avid supporters of Maryam Radjavi who is the secretary general of the People’s Moujahiddin of Iran, a religious leftist organization against the current mollah regime in Iran.

What struck me the most about this protest was not the overwhelming number of Iranians present (and protesting in favor of the demise of Ahmadinejad) but of the even more numerous number of non-Iranian supporters that had congregated!

Also, it did not feel like an organized event. Police squads were nowhere in sight. There is just so much trust in the populus to keep a protest organized, controlled, yet still effective.

I eventually struck a conversation with one of the speakers at the event who told me that, although these « moudjahiddins du peuple » are a very well known resistance organization throughout Europe, they are on the terrorist watch list in many other countries (les Etats Unis included).

Soon after, the speaker began yelling for his brothers and sister to « go forward and shake the earth under your feet! » But I was late for dinner, and reluctantly gave my purple flag back and watched them  march away without me. I still wonder if they had a precise location they had to reach, or if the rally was over, and they wanted to end it with style, like all Persian like to do. I hope it’s the latter.

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~ par gitane sur 29 août 2010.

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