Iraq War Fifth Anniversary Protest, San Francisco, March 19, 2008

Arabian Nights Costume Party

A masquerade ball in an "Arabian Nights" theme was apparently being held in a building adjacent to the main anti-war rally, since several party-goers got lost as they tried to find the entrance. The result was comical, as hundreds of people wearing incongruous Middle Eastern and Arabian costumes and scarves were wandering around the rally in confusion!

It was a cold, foggy evening, so this lost reveler wrapped his scarf around his face for warmth.

This guy dressed up as a Saudi sheik -- at least from the neck up. Maybe he was waiting til he got inside to put on the rest of his costume.

Some of the younger partiers dressed up as Zombie Arabs -- combining two fashion fads into one! The young are always on the cutting edge.

"Do you know where the costume party is? I've been searching for it for hours!"

(Photo courtesy of ProtestShooter)
Bedouin chic with a flag cape. Nice!

(Photo courtesy of ProtestShooter)
Sure to be the belles of the ball -- if they could ever find the ball, that is!

Is it over there? Nope.

Adding to the confusion, someone competing in the Subcommandante Marcos Lookalike Contest wandered into the middle of the Arabian Nights partiers. I felt like I was in a postmodern version of Disneyland's "It's a Small World" ride.

"Darling, you look fabulous in that scarf!"

A gaggle of costumed girls seemed to spot the party entrance in the distance. "Is that it? It is!"

Mr. Aztlan (whom you can hear at the end of the video on the "Obamarama" page) seemed a bit out of place in front of the Arabic writing. And that's super-journalist Josh Wolf on the left.

I was curious as to what the sign said, so zombietime reader "Brazilian Neocon" has provided the following translation. The sign says:

"Stop the American colonialism in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan.
Expel the Americans from the Middle-East immediately!"

And here's his analysis of the sign itself: "It gives the strong impression that this was not written by a native Arabic speaker, or at least not one educated in the Middle East. The handwriting style is almost too print-like (common among learners in their first years of learning until they get a more fluid, natural and flowing style of writing), and the person use a comma instead of a chain of 'and's (that is, 'Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan', similar to English, instead of 'Iraq and Palestine and Afghanistan,' as a native Arabic speaker would most normally write). The scribe put some random vowel signs that were not wrong, but totally unnecessary (Arabic, like Hebrew, writes basically only the consonants of the words, vowels are not normally written and are clear only with the context). There is also a very basic spelling mistake in the last word (a 'shadda' instead of a 'fathatayn'). Both of these mistakes give away the fact that the person who painted the sign does not have a good command of Arabic and is most probably just a beginning student."

The rest of the pictures of the lost masqueraders I'll present without captions, as one by one they found their way to the party.

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