Sunday, April 11, 2004

Mr Blair, pay attention

Non-Australians may be unaware that the city of Melbourne is an extremely Greek place. Australia received a large number of immigrants from Greece in the second half of the 20th century and for some reason most of them settled in Melbourne. (A factoid you hear in Australia is that Melbourne contains the second largest number of Greek people of any city in the world, after Athens. This may or may not actually be true).

In any event, the Greeks of Melbourne are on the whole good people, and one finds famous Australian footballers with names like Demetriou, and Greek restaurants that in the middle of Melbourne that are still open at four in the morning, something that was quite useful when I was there over the weekend. But of course despite being as Australian as can be, the Greeks are still Greek.


Clearly, there is a lot of anger amongst the Greeks of Melbourne. They want the Elgin Marbles back in Greece and they are not ashamed to say so (although for calling them the Elgin Marbles I will no doubt never be served breakfast in any of their restaurants again - which is a shame because the breakfast I had on Saturday was excellent). Tony Blair must surely be influenced by this. The power of Greek Orthodox Community Centres in Melbourne must surely be deferred to.

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