Saturday, April 02, 2016

Saturday scenes and scenery: Vets Alley

The city of San Francisco calls it Shannon Street, but these muralists have renamed this Tenderloin byway "Vets Alley." I wandered into it unexpectedly while Walking San Francisco.

The street people and Single-Room-Occupancy hotel residents who have transformed this dingy former urinal and shooting gallery are not your conventional Vets of Foreign Wars types. Nor are they conventional artists. When service in the military has left people so hurt they crash to the bottom, the images they create are not conventionally patriotic.

They run more to bitter ...

or accusatory ...

or defiant.

They seek to preserve the memory of those who didn't make it ...

to draw their pain ...

and still carry care for people still trapped in the midst of a faraway war.

You can find a sensitive description of how a few veterans somehow managed to bring about this challenging project -- and their travails with a system not designed for people like them -- at Hoodline.

3 comments:

tina a Lebanese in Beirut said...

Your usage of "faraway" to describe the war on Syria without mentioning the role of your country in creating and fueling this war took me by surprise, since I live in a country paying heavily the price of this US war on Syria and Lebanon.

janinsanfran said...

Dear Tina -- there are probably very few people in these Disunited States who are more aware of the guilt of our country in your part of the world than these down, but not out, vets.

FWIW -- not much -- some of us remind our oblivious fellow citizens nearly every day of US culpability.

tina a Lebanese in Beirut said...

Dear Jan -- my respect to Veterans as the only US citizens to understand war and to feel with us victims of wars, made us choose to bury Henri's ashes near the ones of US Veterans in your North-West, although Henri was not a US citizen.
And I thank you for having introduced us to Aaron Hugues.

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