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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

::[bday riots]::

so, the east timorese government decided to announce their controversial new prime minister on my birthday. i had originally planned a little get-together for that evening, but in the end no one could come on account of the fires, stoning, and roadblocks. i ended up passing the time on the balcony with my housemates, watching the fires throughout the city with an overabundance of wine, cheese, crackers, and birthday cake.

the media is having fun whipping themselves into a frenzy, it seems. we've seen sensational headlines like: "East Timor erupts in violence after new prime minister named"... "Police fire tear gas at violent mobs in East Timor"..."New PM appointment sparks East Timor rioting"...and "Violence as Gusmao named E. Timor PM"...

i assure you that, while tense and certainly no vacation, the situation is under control. there are enough international security forces out here to make you dizzy, and they're not going to let anything get too out of hand. it's true that there are only so many places they can be at once, which resulted in the unfortunate burning down of the customs building last night. today, things are still a little on edge - i passed the smoking husk of customs on my way to work, but was sent home early when the office closed at noon. there are still some pockets of unrest meriting caution this morning, but as long as you are prudent about where you travel, you shouldn't run into any problems. in the end, they really are just sporadic episodes of youths with a taste for blazing barricades acting up...as news of the PM grows old, i imagine they'll settle down again.

until then, i have them to thank for the serenade of roving helicopters and blaring security radios on my 27th birthday, as well as the unfortunate city lightshow.

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