domenica 17 maggio 2015
NO to the new American base in Henoko. NO to Abe. NO to nuclear power. NO to weapons. These the refrains of today’s massive gathering at the baseball stadium of Onoyama Park, few steps from home. When I first arrived I thought that it would have been impossible to fill it up, so huge… A couple of hours later I couldn’t believe it, I was struggling not to be squeezed on the loggione, where I found my safe place to photograph. Thousands and thousands of people, never seen so many in one single place in Okinawa (not even at the Beer Festival of Okinawa City…). I’ve been in Okinawa for four years and now I have the strong feeling that the protest against the military American presence in the archipelago is growing everyday. Tokyo’s governement, besides, doesn’t help much to calm down the situation.
The celebration of the 43rd year (purely symbolic) of the ‘return’ of Okinawa to Japan by the U.S. and of the 70th year since the Battle of Okinawa today had a beautiful program where the speeches of the ‘big guys’ of the opposition to the bases and to Abe – starting with Okinawa’s Governor, Takeshi Onaga – followed some nice musical performance. An optimistic young woman sung one of the most beautiful songs of Okinawa wearing an ‘ABE IS OVER!’ t-shirt… Buddhist and Christian priests were present. A monk told me that had just come back from a 40-days peace march between San Francisco and New York City, where discovered many nice Americans that don’t like weapons. I also met Charles Douglas Lummis, an American pacifist, writer, former professor at Tsuda College (Tokyo) and former U.S. Marine. I just saw him few days ago in the interesting documentary (Japan’s Peace Constitution, 2005) about the article 9 of the Japanese Constitution that Abe is trying to change in order to militarize Japan.
Here are my images of today.
THE NOT-SO-SUBTLE ART OF PROVOKING
(Or: a little nazi-collection)
Today, as I almost couldn’t move from my position, I had the chance (ARIGATO Nikon! ARIGATO zoom!) to photograph on two sides of the stadium. Inside: the happines. Outside: some sad show of human idiocy. Today policemen REALLY earnt their sweated salary. Today was the glory-day of ‘seaweed-arbaito’, a not-so-gentleman that everyday after the office rides his I-love-U.S.-army car in the streets near home yelling a bunch of nonsense at the loudspeakers. Today he could be finally reached along the hard road of The Mission (keep Communism, China, Onaga, everibody smelling anti-Rambo out of his world) by his best buddies: a dozen of I-wanted-to-be-Mishima-but-my-daddy-just-called-me-Kinjo/Higa guys. In other words: ultra-nationalists, came to the celebration uniquely to provoke & fight. Their tanks: some vans ans some cars with Japan’s flags, including the ones of the kamikaze era. Driving non-stop by the sidewalk where the pacifists were standing. Vomiting disturbed messages at the loudspeakers. Pointing some middle finger here and there, ready to jump and attack anyone that would reply to the finger. The whole show went on for over four hours, I felt bad for the cops that had to block them over and over…
Today I had at least two lessons about this wonderful Country. The funny voices of the Yakuza guys, half drunk, that I heard in many movies, really exist. Today’s little-mishimas spoke like them, with the same mucus-voice. Second lesson: in my Country, generally speaking, police arrests you, at least momentarly, if you go around provoking fights. Here police blocks you and… puts you back into your car. As a cat that left its apartment without asking permission to the owners. So you can restart your car and play the same show. Japan, おもしろい!!!