Tristan Anderson is a dedicated and well-respected photo-journalist that has taken part in many different campaigns throughout the years. Some of the campaigns he participated in were anti-war activism, Latin American solidarity work and he was also involved in several forest campaigns. Examples of forest campaigns he was involved with are the Save the Oaks “tree sit” at UC Berkley and the Headwaters Forest campaign. Other than that, he’s also a very passionate person and enjoyed helping with the Food Not Bombs program for many years by serving food for them.

In 2009, Tristan traveled to Israel to photograph a demonstration being held in response to the apartheid wall in the village of Ni’lin (West Bank). On March 13th, he became critically injured when someone shot him with a metal high-velocity tear gas canister at close range. The shooting resulted in a loss of vision in his right eye, severe brain trauma and the loss of use of the left side of his body.

He spent more than a year in the hospital at Tel Aviv and still has a long to recovery ahead of him. He will need to undergo extensive physical rehabilitation and cognitive exercises. As of now, the Bay area’s Mr. Anderson remains wheelchair bound. Fortunately, he’s made some great progress in learning to speak again.

No Justice, Labeled an Act of War

It was disheartening to say the least when Israel finally released their official statement and report. Just before the one year anniversary of the shooting, Israel released their official findings saying that the incident was simply an act of war. This means that no one would be held liable and the case was closed.

An appeal has been filed to get the case re-opened, as there is plenty of evidence of what really happened including eye witnesses. The mounting medical expenses are only one of the reasons that his parents have also filed a civil case against the military in Israel.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, which makes it all the worse. Emily Henochowicz, a student from New York, was injured in a similar incident. On May 31st, she was also shot by a tear gas canister at a demonstration while protesting the Israeli raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. That raid ended with nine deaths among the human rights activists participating.

Questions About Tristan Answered by his Partner – Gabby

Can Tristan talk?

Yes, he can.

Does Tristan Remember Who he is?

Yes, he remembers. He didn’t have complete memory loss or anything. He remembers his life how it used to be. He can tell who people are in photos, sing songs that he likes, tell stories.

How is His Speaking? Is it Clear? Is it Difficult for Him?

He speaks well considering what he’s been through. His voice is soft, but communication is very good. If there’s a lot of noise around it can be a challenge to really hear what he’s saying, though. His grammar and such are that of an adult and luckily doesn’t need language therapy to relearn everything.

Was He in a Coma?

Many people have heard that he was in a coma, but he wasn’t… not officially. For a while he was in what the doctors called a minimal response state for roughly half a year after the injury. Most of his days (and nights) during that time were filled with medical complications and treatments for them. He could barely stay awake more than a few minutes. Fortunately, his strong will and the dedication and love from those around him helped him pull through those tough times.

Will it Ever End?

Just last month there were injuries from a demonstration. Dozens of Palestinians were injured as they formed together with thousands of others in mass protests along the West Bank. The protests were on the anniversary of Nakba (catastrophe). The Palestinians use this term to describe what took place in 1948 when the Jewish State was being formed.

Roughly 50 Palestinians were injured (minor) as Palestinian Red Crescent members bravely ventured into the crowds holding masks to their face as they attempted to retrieve those who had collapsed in the chaos.

In 2011, another person was shot close range with a teargas canister. A 28-year old protestor by the name of Mustafa Tamimi apparently was throwing rocks at a military vehicle. He was directly behind the vehicle and the response from the military was to launch a canister from a rear-facing gun that shot the canister.