It struck me that Mike Sula’s “Cat Fight” article (August 27) framed a problem of poor communication and misunderstanding between neighbors (like there aren’t thousands of such problems every day) and opened the possibility that it was about ethnic politics. Why else would the Reader make a cover story out of it? As someone who has lived in Ravenswood Manor since 1986, I offer a few additional reactions.
Nancy Melvin, whom I’ve known as a neighbor and friend for a long time, loves animals and people and would never intentionally hurt either. I’m sure she now feels that no good deed goes unpunished.
The neighborhood is as diverse as the range of opinions that emerged on the “cat issue.” Compared to most other neighborhoods in Chicago, friction between neighbors based upon ethnic or political differences, age, or sexual preference has been practically nonexistent here.
Traffic issues, however, are quite another matter. Alley access (like a parking space) is treated more and more like gold all over the city. Most Chicagoans, regardless of their heritage, would not be surprised if parking in the alley got them a little hostility and rudeness in response. Rudeness is on the rise everywhere, isn’t it? Given the political circumstances that Mr. Sarraj fled in Syria, his sensitivity to the rudeness and to the word “terrorize” (in reference to his cat’s feral behavior) is understandable. But who could have known? (As the article pointed out, the family pretty much kept to themselves.) In any case, on behalf of my neighborhood, I hope Mr. Sarraj will consider the more local context and the more likely possibility that this isn’t about his heritage.