It’s been a year since Tristan Anderson was shot in the face with a tear gas canister by an Israeli soldier in Palestine (I still haven’t been able to bring myself to watch the video footage of the event). His long recovery continues. I am grateful he is alive, and today I’m remembering the things that make him so loved and admired by so many.
One of my favorite memories of Tristan is admittedly a little self-centered, but I think it also says a lot about the kind of person he is and why he means so much to so many who have worked with him over the years.
Tristan has this positive spirit that is infectious. It’s all the more wonderful because he’s someone who is fully aware of all that is wrong and unjust in the world, and yet through his many years as an activist he’s managed to maintain this deep-seeded love and hope that sometimes just bursts out of him.
A few years ago we ran into each other in Dolores Park in San Francisco, after an evening outdoor film. I have no memory of what we talked about or what it was I said to get this reaction from him, but at one point he just looked at me with this big smile and said “I like you soo much victoria!”
Who does that? Seriously: who, of all the people you know, will express the contents of their heart in such an honest, fearless way? Maybe I just know too many jaded activists or reserved midwesterners, but this one small encounter with Tristan still touches me.
Memories like this are also why it’s been so painful to read the negative press opinions and conjecture about Tristan over the past year. Like the Chronicle columnist who in so many words said he deserved what he got, or remarks that insinuate he must have been engaging in aggressive, violent behavior for an armed soldier to want to do him lethal harm. Anyone who has had even the most minimal contact with Tristan would know how far from the truth these ugly comments are.
I love you Tristan.