Notes from the Counter-Revolution
The president had heard we were close and rolled up his copy of Newsweek to issue instructions. The cameras came over, but the president waved them off politely and said: later. When we land, he said to us, I want you all to step out with your phones ready. Record it all just as it happens. Don’t say much, this isn’t a football match, but watch. I will come down the steps after you, but I won’t be wearing my tie. Be sure to get me in a light that illustrates my qualities. I will be unshaven, academic, careful, reasonable.
It would be good if you were all wearing similar colors, said the president, but not uniform, and not ridiculous. No one would take a fuchsia movement seriously. He laughed and we laughed too, but he pointed to us and we fell silent. Everyone, he said, especially the young people, should let themselves be seen by each other. Make it natural. You can let your nerves show a bit, but keep your cameras steady. Make yourselves memorable so the magazines have something to go with. Don’t show the faces of the soldiers: show only what they are, what they do; their batons, their rifles.
There should be no violence, said the president. Someone let their breath out but the president seemed not to hear. If there is violence, he continued, don’t be idiots. Help your fellow man. Just make sure that someone is getting it all down. They may cut off service at the airport: smuggle your memory cards out through your shoes, or on the clothes of the dead.
The president smiled, then removed his tie and sunglasses. I felt the wheels of the plane unfold. My hand slid into my pocket and touched the case of my phone.