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Saddamized in San Francisco By: Kfir Alfia
www.Contumacy.org | Monday, April 14, 2003


February 16th, 9am. I'm jarred awake by my alarm clock's squeal-my hand instinctively leapt to my nightstand. Just as I hit snooze and settled in for needed sleep, I remembered the day's agenda: Show my visiting friend Alan the real San Francisco experience-and crash the anti-war protest. My head throbbed from the wild night, but I'd make good on my promise.

Two Advils and one shower later, I'm fully dressed and alert, eating breakfast. Alan still snores on the couch. "I'm going to get some poster board and materials for the signs," I say. Alan cracks an eye, but nothing more. As the door slams, I yell, "Start thinking of ideas!"

After the half-hour line at Office Depot-apparently I wasn't the only one doing last-minute protest shopping-I get back to Alan, still snoring, "Alan!... Did you think of anything good?" He sits up and shakes his head. We sit on the couch, stare at the wall, and let the brainstorming begin.

Ten minutes later, we have our first slogan: "Except for Ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism and Communism, War Has Never Solved Anything." I break open the fat black marker, and by the time Amil and Ensar show up, we have a healthy arsenal of four signs. They take one look at the signage and immediately give us our duly earned high-fives.

After we find the bulging crowd of activists overrunning Market street, we try to assimilate, signs facing down. I let out a nervous laugh as the excitement grows. We integrate into the throng of activists, and in unison we raise our signs. I notice a sign in front of me: "My Cocker Spaniel is Smarter Than George Bush!"

I hear a man behind us, "What the hell is THAT? Hey you!" I turn around and follow the aging hippy's eyes to my sign. This was Alan's genius-a cartoon of a burqa-clad Muslim woman tied to a pole with a leash. The caption: "Protect Islamic Property Rights From Western Imperialism! SAY NO TO WAR." "Hey as*hole!" he yells. We grin as his voice is drowned out by a teenage girl screaming into her megaphone: "1 - 2 - 3 - 4! WE DON'T WANT YOUR RACIST WAR!"

Over to my left I see Alan, proudly holding his sign - "Saddam Only Kills His Own People. IT'S NONE OF OUR BUSINESS!" I can't help but laugh, he's eating up every moment of the protest. "Alan!" I yell. "How's this for San Francisco?"
As I flip my sign the other side, a man in a jogging suit and Birkenstocks inspects Alan's other slogan: "Communism Has Only Killed 100 Million People… LET'S GIVE IT ANOTHER CHANCE."

We continue to march up Market Street toward the main protest, and after a while I notice that although we have held our huge signs up high, and have passed hundreds of spectators per minute, no one else challenged us. I turned to Amil, "Do you think they don't get it?" He shrugged and snapped a photo of Alan and me.

I wonder to myself, "Are leftist's moral façades that feeble?" I ask Alan, and he agrees, adding, "Our signs and messages are like cruise missiles striking the moral house of cards they've built in their heads. Seems to me that these people have no argument, just guilt…" Before I could respond, Alan walks over to talk to a cute girl showing off her curves. I'm not sure he saw her "Social Action Network" t-shirt, but his sign must have done the trick-she wasn't in the chatting mood.

Finally we see picket signs and information booths sprawled along the landscape. The belly of the beast-the town center where the main rally was taking place.

We spot the Communist Party information table (the REAL purpose behind these anti-war protests) and Alan instinctively rotates his sign so that our communism slogan is showing. They see us making our approach-and irritation washes over their faces.

"Hello!" Alan greets the three of them enthusiastically, "What do you think of our sign?!" I grin. The middle-aged Communist manning the table glares. Next to him a boy, maybe eighteen, has a frightened look on his face. "Do you have any recommended reading material for us?" I ask. "All of you need to leave," the elder sneers. "You need to leave right now."

This was a first for me… talking to a real life Communist. So I try to imagine what must be going on in their twisted little minds. I respond, "I realize that as a Communist, you would prefer we were sent to the gulag for disagreeing with you-but we're in America. Free speech is still respected here…" He turns to his cohorts and instructs them stay silent. I stare at the boy, not sure if I should feel pity, disgust, or both. "How did you ever get mixed up with these guys?" I ask. Searchingly, he looks to his comrade, then back at me-angry and frustrated. "You… you are slaves to… to the power structure…" he informs us. "I'll look into it. Thanks," I reply.

We parade around the main area for a while, giving the leftists a good dose of mockery. Our work here was done. We go home and finish watching V:The Final Battle.


Kfir Alfia is a University of Texas alumnus living in California. Visit his website at www.protestwarrior.com. Email him at kfir@protestwarrior.com.


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