So now it’s Christmas
It’s that time of year again — children screaming in supermarkets & parents back-handing them or screaming back even louder — gluttony & materialism to excess — huge expenditure on mostly pointless, unwanted, useless, cheap or dangerous gifts — hypocrisy of family members who detest one another coming together & pretending harmony & love all round — puerile & over-rated tv shows that have been rolled out repeatedly since tv became ubiquitous — an endless presentation of ‘good-will greetings’ by businesses, politicians & others who have never met you, would probably shrug you off if they did, don’t care a jot about you & do it only as a PR opportunity — the perpetual ‘white’ lie to children we otherwise tell not to lie: that there is a Santa Clause — so teaching double-standards and worse even, i.e. that children can be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ as opposed to just children — & of course we have the hypocrisy & pointless hyperbole of a monarch who has lived in palaces and with privilege all her life, as well as that of eligious office holders who have, in the main lived as parasites, imposed outlandish rules over women & others, caused wars, amassed fortunes & obtained privilege from the State, all the while espousing ‘Privileged Access’ to a mythical deity.
Against this backdrop, billions in the majority world will continue to starve, be persecuted, be dispossessed, suffer malnutrition & disease, go without Covid19 vaccinations at all whilst we are having boosters, & generally be forgotten because our over-indulgence preoccupies us.
Thousands of animals will suffer abuse, neglect, abandonment, euthanasia or worse after being given by well meaning but thoughtless people as ‘gifts’, i.e commodities, which they are not.
The homeless may benefit from a special ‘Christmas feast’ funded by donations and facilitated by a charity which has largely to depend on begging for funds and volunteers for staffing — but hey, that ‘Christmas Feast’ or the $5 gift we left at the supermarket is a great thing because, like the Confessional, it gives us permission to feel that we’ve done our bit and don’t have to think about what happens to these people again on Boxing Day and beyond …
Nor, of course, should we consider the contradiction between the continual hyperbole about Australia being a great multicultural nation and the reality that it is a Christian Bible that is used for oaths in court, Christian services that herald the opening of parliament, Christian ‘holy days’ that are public ‘holidays’ & that with the exception of the efforts of SBS, little if any consideration will be given to the non-Anglo, non English speaking, non-Christian, many who have contributed to and enriched our community. and continue to do so. Oh yes, some of us will probably bring to mind the Biloela family abused by the treatment of an LNP Federal government whose decisions and actions have been outrageously inhumane, lacking in compassion and a human rights abuse.
However, the treatment of the Biloela family pales into insignificance when considered against the behind-the-wire *indefinite* detention of thousands of dispossessed & traumatised asylum-seekers who are abused by our government’s spuriously justified & selectively applied policy that targets those without money and/or identity documents & who have to sell their souls & risk their lives to come here and knock on the door to ask for shelter.
Contrarily, it seems that if you have money, status, fame or contact with an LNP politician who wants a pretty, young au-pair, or if you arrive by air, then you can come into Australia with relative ease. Indeed, you can even come by sea — as long as you own a private yacht or can afford to travel by ocean liner rather than on a dilapidated fishing boat or dinghy.
So, this is Christmas.
Yes, I’m just a spoil-sport, party pooper, killjoy or otherwise undesirable downer. The picture isn’t as bleak as I’ve painted. We all deserve to have a little fun. “Father Christmas’ doesn’t do any harm.”
So go ahead, have your fun. Self-indulge as much as you wish. I’ve witnessed it before and I’ll witness it again. In any case, it is tradition & who am I to poke a stick at it.
You are right, of course. I’m a no count — a nowhere man — a nothing.
Regardless, I do still have the temerity to ask you one favour:
If you are really genuine about caring and sharing and good-will to all. please, at least when this ‘festive season’ is over, spare a thought for all those for whom ‘festive’ was about as far from the truth as could be. For those who are trapped in lives such that, for us, every day would be our worst nightmare and life unbearable. For that nightmare *is* the daily life for billions who somehow, with resilience and dignity & a mutual caring do manage to hold on and bear all. Whilst to most of the wealthy world’s population they are largely invisible or, at best, the elephant in the room.
Please give them a thought or, even better, lobby your politicians to give what Christmas is supposedly about and show compassion, understanding and caring. We can afford to do that, if we can do as we do and spend $billions on Christmas.
So this is Christmas and what have you done?
Another year over, a new one just begun. …
(Apologies to John Lennon)