21 December 2005

Bad news

Christmas greetings from Sydney, current temperature 25°—that's 77° to you, seppos. And the first person who can tell me the meaning and origin of that word will get a nod in my next update.
I'm sure most of you have heard about the racial violence here in Sydney last week. If not, go to the Sydney Morning Herald website and read up on it. Basically, the violence erupted from tensions between the predominantly Anglo citizens of Cronulla and a group the media refers to as "Lebanese gangs." Cronulla is a beach community about twenty minutes by train from our apartment. On a Sunday afternoon, 5000 people gathered at the beach in an effort to "take back their beach," and a few hours and many beers later, the mob was out of control. Much of the violence that followed on Monday and Tuesday was retaliatory. It was very shocking for Heather and me. In our time here, we have been constantly impressed with the diversity of culture, and the celebration of this diversity. But after last weekend's riots, we are not so sure. Most people are embarrassed, but letters continue to appear in the paper saying, "yeah, they took it too far, but I've been to Cronulla and understand how they feel." On a more personal level, that same Sunday afternoon, Heather and I went to our favorite Indian restaurant around the corner only to find it was closed because their glass storefront had been shattered, certainly race-related. We spoke to the owner, and it doesn't appear he plans to reopen. I am curious what kind of news coverage this received in the States, particularly any editorials, so let me know what you had heard about it, or direct me to any online articles or editorials you have seen.

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