Saturday, January 14, 2006

Wind Doesn’t Blow Noise Away

(CLICK TO ENLARGE) A statue of the Virgin Mary twists in the wind as it hangs from a traffic light on the southeast corner of H and 8th Streets NE on Jan. 14. Despite winds gusting to 35 mph and temperatures in the upper 30s, the noisemakers employed the powered amplifier during the hours-long ranting. Nobody was injured by this swinging Mary statue during my nearly two hours at the corner. (Copyright © 2006. David Klavitter)

Don’t these guys ever shut up? Only in extremely bad weather does the group take a break from their practice of yelling into an amplified loudspeaker at the corner of H and 8th Streets NE. At least the wind deadened some of the noise reaching our house. And it also cut short their stay—they were gone by 5:30 p.m. ET.

Members of this group apparently tolerate my presence with camera because now I am spared the direct verbal barrage of insults. However, when I went around to photograph the back of their stage on Saturday, the noisemaker always wearing sunglasses—even at night—physically blocked my path.

He said the group was allowing me to photograph them, but I was not permitted into their “camp.” By “camp” he apparently meant the public sidewalk and curb next to H Street. I told “Sunglasses Man” that I have every right to photograph them and their “camp” was public space.

Sunglasses Man, photographed on Jan. 7, blocked my access to the public space behind the stage, calling it their “camp.” (Copyright © 2006. David Klavitter)

At this time, the one who calls himself “Yohanna” and the noisemaker I will call “The Hurler” for his extreme public spewing of insults came over and said they have permits which allows them to control the space. They said it’s to protect the fellows up on the stage so nobody comes from behind to do apparent harm to them. I told them I didn’t believe they had permits, but I didn’t ask to see them.

They relented and said I could make photographs from near the back of the stage.

In addition to the noise issue, the city needs to get its act together to determine whether this group can legally construct this stage on the sidewalk—including hanging objects from traffic signals. While I was on the corner, I saw more than four police cars drive past without stopping once to inspect.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

surely there is a public safety issue with blocking the sidewalk...

1:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you should take amegaphone to each city councilman's house and recite "The Bells" by Edgar Allen Poe until they realize that the current law sucks.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Lonnie Bruner said...

Be careful, man. These guys my be prone to violence.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Klav said...

Thanks, Lonnie. Many of my neighbors feel the same way, and won't even approach the noisemakers or attend a meeting with these guys. That's because the noisemakers try to be intimidating with the yelling, acidic content, camouflage fatigues, and a noosed rope hanging various effigies.

Their direct insults toward me have diminished greatly, but I must admit that my stress level goes up whenever I go out to photograph them.

At any rate, I'd rather be sailing...

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Abu Khamr al-Murtad said...

Regarding "Sunglasses Man," his name is James Henry, and he lives in McLean, Virginia (about a 25 minute drive from the spot where they preach). He claims his Hebrew name is Anyashawamar, which in reality does not mean anything in Hebrew (it's not Hebrew). It seems this is his attempt of saying "Ani Shomer" ("I am a Guardian") in their spurious Lashawan Qadash dialect.

For a little while I was posting to his Blog, as well as the blog of one of his fellow street-preachers. Despite the fact that they present themselves as willing to debate anyone, anywhere, any time, they masked their frustration with some simple arguments by deleting my posts and resorting to all sorts of anti-Arab and anti-Islamic slurs.

By the way Dave, I think you might find their blogs interesting, as they employ the pictures you have taken of them, without thanking you.

2:38 PM  

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