Six Weeks Until Christmas

Six week until Christmas; unbelievable.  I have written a list of cards I need to send. I’m going to Northern Ireland for a week at the start of December, so I think it’d be a good idea to get at least some cards written before I go. The price of stamps is a major incentive to cull the list, but it still seems very long. I have put the letter e by a number of names, meaning I shall send e-cards. Another group come under the delivered-by-hand option, but since the Post office  has been privatised I am less and less keen to boost the bank accounts of share holders.

But at times like these it’s also important to keep in touch, to remember our shared humanity, our overseas friendships, to write a line or two to people who we like but seldom see. The most dystopian forecaster probably wouldn’t have come up with the past twenty-four months. Refugees continue to arrive traumatised and exhausted in leaky boats meant for far fewer people on far shorter journeys. Reports of attempted genocide, with footage for proof flood our screens when we watch the news. Allegations of sexual abuse, of men  using superior power to manipulate and control women in the film industry fill acres of newspapers.

It’s all about power. It’s all about who thinks he/she/they is able or has the right to control others. Look at Grenfell Tower. People with the power to prevent this tragedy thought more about saving money, they are still planning to redevelop the area reducing the number of people in social housing and attracting  investors, money, status. Still with Grenfell Tower look at the stories that were spread about residents who were illegal immigrants, unofficial tenants. None of these stories has been proved to be true. So who spread them, and why? It seems all too likely that this was a cynical attempt to somehow shame the people who died – they were here under false pretences; they shouldn’t even have been in the flats; therefore they were guilty, and if they were guilty our sympathy can be less, our compassion can be rationed, really they deserved their fate. Only they didn’t. No one deserves to die like that, no one deserves to die from neglect, because make no mistake, this was neglect. No one deserves their neighbourhood to be shamed and abused  by a national press that wants to make the people who died and those who survived somehow less than the rest of us.

The story of Christmas, whether you believe it or it, whether you are Christian or not, is one of hope, one of  redemption and of love. The idea that a baby can be born and that baby, helpless, an exile, homeless, can save us all demands our humility and that we recognise that high or low, rich or poor, men or women, black or white, we are all human; that not one of us is the child of a lesser god and we all deserve  justice.

5 thoughts on “Six Weeks Until Christmas

    • Thanks Pat. I had no idea this post was going to head off into a rant when I began it. It’s interesting how you thoughts demand expression once you begin writing. The spirit of Christmas this side of the pond has already been threatened by people who object to a Tesco’s ad that shows people of all types celebrating Christmas, and includes women in hijabs. There are people saying they will never shop in Tesco’s again, that Tesco’s has destroyed the meaning of Chrsitmas. Unbelievable. Season of peace on earth and goodwill to all men? Not a chance. On the other hand, I am making a point of shopping at Tesco’s which is normally not my first, second or even third choice supermarket, and I’m guessing I’m not alone.

      • That is amazing. What I am seeing happening is that the usually silent majority who are not so narrow minded are beginning to use their voices in many ways. A transgendered woman was elected to a state assembly against a man who was the author of their “bathroom bill” making it illegal for a transgendered person to use the toilet of there preferred gender as opposed to their birth gender. This was not what she ran on, however. She ran on things that mattered to people and the people said her being transgendered didn’t matter. Also women are running for all levels of elected office in huge numbers. It gives me hope.

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