Tag: protests

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Defying COVID-19 Mandates

Today, international news media report that uncharacteristic—and possibly unprecedented—protests are underway across China (See BBC, Guardian, Sky NewsThe Times). Citizens are reportedly taking to the streets because of the government’s zero-SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 policy, which  has brought sweeping, but irregular, lockdowns across some of the country’s regions.

Going on for nearly three years, the restrictions, which include literally locking residents into high-rise apartment buildings as means of combating Coronavirus outbreaks, are as oppressive and severe as the first massive quarantines implemented in late January 2020. While the rest of the world moves to living with an endemic disease, China maintains a pandemic public health policy.

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Russia Roars, and It’s War

Russia’s incursion into neighboring Ukraine began in the wee hours local time there. I started seeing news stories early last night; California is about 10 hours behind. A tumultuous day of military advancement, impotent response from the U.S. President, and relentless news commentary, editorialization, and misinformation followed.

I watch and wait, understanding that Russian leader Vladimir Putin acts now for many reasons—perceived, and real, ineptitude of American leadership is among them. The troop withdrawal debacle in Afghanistan demonstrated U.S. military weakness, including decision-making capabilities of the Commander-in-Chief. Surely, Putin—and other autocrats—calculate opportunity.

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The Quiet Capitol

A year ago today, in the early afternoon, a rally for President Donald Trump turned to mayhem outside the U.S. Capitol. Certification of the 2020 election stopped, after angry protestors pushed into the building and lawmakers, along with VP Michael Pence, were ushered away. The Electoral count resumed in the evening, after crowds dispersed and law enforcement secured the premises; Joseph Biden was officially declared winner.

The incident, which I won’t characterize for lack of first-hand knowledge, is a turning point for the American Republic. If polls can be trusted, the direction depends much on point of view, which largely divides along party lines: Many Democrats see an attempted coup intended to steal the election. Many Republicans believe the election already had been stolen and constituents gathered to support the real President.

Choose your side wisely.

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In the Dumpster

End of year is a good time to take out the trash, so to speak, to clear out the past and prepare for the future—opportunity to start Jan. 1, 2022 fresh and tidy. That’s where I am on this wet Wednesday evening. But what if you literally can’t take out the garbage, as is the case for many San Diego County residents? Teamsters Local 542 is on strike with Republic Services, which my landlord unfortunately uses.

The Featured Image, taken today with iPhone 13 Pro, is outside the apartment building where we live. (Vitals: f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/2994 sec, 26mm; 11:22 a.m. PST.) I would like to thank my immediate neighbors for not massively overflowing the dumpster. You might think, looking at the pile, that I am being facetious. Not so. The sentiment is sincerely expressed. Stacks of bags and refuse elsewhere exponentially exceed this modest mess. My fellow residents show remarkable restraint.

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Parents Protest San Diego School District Vaxx Mandates

Late afternoon, my wife asked: “What is all that honking?” Annie was right. Car horns could be heard in the distance, occasionally and repeatedly tooting. We turned to one another flummoxed over the sudden roar of cheering that reminded of sporting events. What was going on nearby—and where? I left to find out, following the sounds that piqued our mutual curiosities.

Our University Heights apartment is located about .8-kilometer (one-half mile) walking distance from administrative offices for San Diego Unified School District, where a sizable crowd had gathered with picket signs. As I arrived, a woman’s voice bellowed over loudspeakers advocating against vaccine mandates and for parents’ rights to choose for their children—not the government nor SDUSD. What I didn’t understand: The school board scheduled a 5 p.m. PDT meeting to vote on a proposal requiring staff and some students to be vaccinated. How ironic: They cowered in isolation via Zoom, while parents protested in person.

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Graffiti? Message? Warning?

What a surprise is this. While walking in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood today, I spotted the oddest thing: The pictured graphic and text on a utility pole at Monroe and Utah. Is that sign meant to alert Antifa members? During last year’s racial riots and protests, I frequently passed persons all-black-clad—the group’s de facto uniform—hanging about some University Heights streets, presumably waiting for rides.  Seeing such scribbling, self-labeled anti-fascists would know where to gather—or maybe the scrawling is nothing more than graffiti.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 2:47 p.m. PDT. In post-production, I over-saturated purple and red; sunlight had faded both colors.

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Cheerful, But Serious

I don’t recall seeing this friendly graffiti yesterday—or the day before. I walk past the intersection of Adams and Florida often enough that surely my ever-roving eyes would have seen something and registered so in aging synapses. New or not, zooming in on the Featured Image suggests that the message wasn’t painted but slapped on and glued (look to the apparent air-bubbles typical of paper pressed onto a surface).

Maybe coincidence, or not, the flower is opposite the alley location where I found the “Yellow Peril Supports Black Power” protest placard two days ago. You got to wonder if something—person(s) and/or event—connects the two. The utility box is outside the Adams Substation, which is visible behind, located in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood.

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The Discarded Sentiment

What demonstration marched through the neighborhood unbeknownst to me? While walking with my wife through the alley separating Alabama and Florida streets, I stopped to wonder about the forlorn placard that is the Featured Image. I captured a single photo using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 4:33 p.m. PDT, today.

The message piqued my interest—and as a photographic object, I liked the mood created by bands of light shining through the fence. For your edification (and mine), according to Wikipedia: Yellow Peril “is a racist color-metaphor that represents the peoples of East Asia as an existential danger to the Western world”. Yikes!

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A Plea for Continued Relevance

On March 1, 2021, as I walked along University Ave. in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood, a huge banner beckoned my attention. I frequently see signs like this in apartment and house windows but nothing this large nor with Still added. I used iPhone XS to snap the companion to the Featured Image, which I captured the next day with Leica Q2 Monochrom. Vitals for the smartphone shot, which is composed as taken: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/761 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 9:05 a.m. PST. For the camera, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 200, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 10:27 a.m.

Why is such a banner, with Still added, seen as necessary? The trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin is underway in Minneapolis. He is implicated in the death of George Floyd, whose alleged homicide sparked racial riots and protests in the city and across the country—with loud voices crying “defund the police” and “no justice, no peace”. Nearly ten months later, Americans have largely stopped rallying for racial reckoning—and the organization that gathered them before isn’t yet, if it ever will, marshaling masses together. Black lives still matter, but the movement apparently does not.

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Flowers, Anyone?

The Featured Image is an attempt to soothe the soul, following an insane few days that promise to be absolutely crazier. I captured the flowers on April 2, 2018, using Leica M (Typ 262) and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. Vitals: f/4.8, ISO 200, 1/250 sec, 50mm; 10:24 a.m. PDT. Photo is composed as shot; no edits.

As for the bizarre goings on, to start: During a massive rally of up to 1 million people (my guess, 250,000-plus) in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021, protesters broke into the U.S. Capitol during certification of the electoral vote that confirms the 2020 Presidential Election winner. Violence ensued, and lawmakers were evacuated, including Vice President Michael Pence. A woman (Ashli Babbit) from here in San Diego was shot and killed by police. Politicians quickly called the assault an “insurrection” and failed “coup”, blaming President Donald Trump for instigating the incident.

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Flickr a Week 53: ‘Blue Lives Matter meets ACAB’

The final Wednesday of the year brings us to the second-to-the-last post in the series, should it conclude as previously planned. I am undecided. For now, our selection captures some of 2020’s most important themes—triple-P: pandemic, politics, and protests; for sure one overlaps another in some manner or another. My first choice, self-titled “Respirator Life“, by David Geitgey Sierralupe, is unfortunately All Rights Reserved. So I had to pick another selection, one Creative Commons-licensed, from the carpenter who lives in Eugene, Ore.

Rally for Democracy“—with a nurse wearing KN95 mask and typifying fallout from the Presidential Election and SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), better known as COVID-19—was a contender. But the choice came down to a coin-toss between two street shots with the same self-title: “Blue Lives Matter meets ACAB“. The acronym stands for “all cops are bastards”. The second choice (blame the quarter for landing tails).