Okay my annual Yuletide lamentation is becoming, for me, as traditional as all the universal and (very) local activities and traditions now associated with this “joyous” Christians Festival being celebrated in December.
At least by many Western nations and the countless other societies and cultures they have “infiltrated.”
“Infiltrated”? No. I suppose it is not intrusion if adherents of the Christian Faith, wherever they are, must believe and celebrate the Virgin Birth. One foundation of their Christian religion.
Poor me. The older I “advance”, more boredom sets in even as I can still appreciate all that the original gospel story symbolises and the Guyanese customs which can still attract my (cynical) attention. Last December this column called the December Christmas goings-on, “A necessary wonderful lie!”- or words to that effect.
I was making the point(s) that even the most devout Christian, the learned theologians and Christian Scholars have long concluded that the Gospel never recorded December 25 as the birth date of the Divine baby. Jesus, a precocious spiritual child who, would become a Christ, and supposed to be God the Son, himself never espoused any celebration of his birth. But his followers and a few European Monarchs- decided that December 25 would be the “mass of Christ” Day.
It is almost a necessary lie for Christians. All the festivities – except the commercialism- are needed; all the spiritual reflection on the consequences of that Virgin Birth are crucial to the very faith Christians embrace. The Christmas season, through religious in nature and origin, is therefore a part of the global calender for centuries.
Most Decembers of recent times find me griping over such things as the rampant commercialism that Jesus would reject; the parenting, or lack of it, that has parents not cautioning their children about demanding too much, even though “the season” is supposed to be for the kids”; the over-indulgence which probably brings on illness, disputes, even traffic accidents and increased crime.
Don’t get me too wrong: I still like the intent, the joy, unity and generous caring the season ushers in. But even though I’ll never be a scrooge-like spoil-sport, I can still share with you two cautioning quotes I reflect upon when December arrives.
From an Amar Panday: “Christmas in Guyana has been… “Christmas in Guyana has been the grandest instrument of an excessive consumerism where our people are psychologically cajoled and lured into unfettered spending, spending that is in the context of a poor country a drainage of scarce resources. Spending that in no small way contributes towards the perpetuation of that vicious cycle of poverty in our country. To tangibly demonstrate the reality of this is not very difficult. Savings that could have been put to entrepreneurial use with long lasting economic reward are frittered away with religious fervor. Parents who deprived their children of text books and additional reading material suddenly plunge into a spending spree. I have often wondered why so much Santa Claus paraphernalia? What part of Christianity stipulates this?
Then my friend Hamley Case (H.C.?) warns, really warns, against overloading God’s Design – the stomach – at this time. Hamley is dire about our diminishing the time granted to us by stuffing down much too much of various foods.
Just in part he cautions: “Imagine that over a period of four (to seven) days we put into our bodies, a range of meats (“dead animals”, as God calls them) – garlic pork, pepper pot with beef and pork; cook-up rice with pig-tail, tripe, beef or chicken, lamb, ham (turkey or more pork); a range of sweetened home-made drinks – sorrel, mauby, ginger beer, rice wine, egg nog etc; all the liquors and malts, then there are the nuts, chocolates, cakes, ice cream, potatoes, dressings…”
You get the idea and Hamley’s concern? He says even our friends who invite us over to eat at Christmas can shorten our lives by 10/15 years and if they send us home with “a bag of goodies”, that’s another three to five years off of “God’s Design.”
So have a Great, Peaceful, Reflective Christmas 2015, even as you consider the two gentlemen’s concerns.
Citizen Farook, Citizen Hongbo
The Arab refugee challenge as it’s now affecting some countries of Europe gives me varied opportunities for reflection. I shared a few views last Friday.
Today I ponder: Europe, more than Canada or America or Australia, exploited the lands she colonized in Asia and Africa.
Even in Latin/South America. Asians and Africans stayed under- developed as both their (one-time) colonisers and their own post- independence leaders devised ways to keep those masses needy.
So the descendants of depressed, exploited post-colonial societies have been making their way to Europe and America to (re-) claim their economic salvation. Witness Africans and Asians in France, Germany, Holland, Portugal, Canada, the US and the UK.
Do you realise however, that the Syrians, Iraqis, Tunisians and Lebanese are not economically exploited?
These Arab peoples, these Islamic citizens are fleeing from war and persecution from their governments and those regimes’ opponents in those very oil-rich States. The solution to the refugee crisis is to get them back to peaceful homelands. But how? When?
Farook, the US citizen who mowed down 14 Americans, used American rights and opportunities, as a radical extremist, to kill. He was “citizen” but not American. America sometimes accommodates its own demise!
Hundreds of Chinese- the new wave- are now amongst us- still struggling Guyanese citizens. One of them heads a company that now “reaps” our forest, gold-fields and housing needs. The company enjoyed dubious concessions from the Jagdeo/Ramotar outfits. Baishanlin’s Head Mr Hongbo has become a legal, paper Guyanese citizen. Mr Hongbo, Guyanese citizen, now has all of Guyana’s constitutional rights, guarantees and opportunities. Frankly Speaking, to me Mr Citizen Hongbo is more equal than many of us born here decades ago. Discuss…
Comrade Sherwood Lowe is right: Citizens to be elected as local management leaders for their Communities have to be provided with training, classes in local government laws and community governance generally. And wherewithal. Especially if they are not from Party affiliations. But when?
One of my most favourite proverbs is “when yuh own louse bite yuh…” Comrade Ralph Ramkarran is actually assisting the APNU+AFC but note the withering, incisive questions from Anil and other former PPP comrades?
Is Director of Culture Dr James Rose there? Is Mr Johnson “consulting” the Director on the “new” cultural policy?
’Til next week!