As we tumble into another Christmas it is hard to recall a time when the sentiments associated with that season will have been uttered with less conviction.
Those old enough to remember the Second World War might recall a time when, for example, the phrase ‘Goodwill to all men’ rang more hollow, but the rest of us? Just buzzwords, for most, this year. Every major nation now at loggerheads, a fluid web of shifting alliances, conflicting goals, financial relationships known, unknown, at best lightly reported, endless blowback from previous ill-fated adventures...
The Great Powers Assemble! Aims akimbo, bombing, arming, funding, training. Are we at war with Russia? Is our ally Turkey at war with Russia? Who IS Turkey at war with? They’ve bombed Kurds fighting ISIS, all three parties packing Western weapons, which are also sold to Saudi Arabia, with which they bomb the Yemen, humanitarian tragedy unfolding there, as drinkers, diners and pop fans die in Paris, so France strikes back, wounded, inevitably, kills innocents, we want ‘officially’ in – we lend sufficient support already to count as unofficially in – to fling warplanes into a sky already filthy with ‘em, from every player, some crashing to earth, shot down, Tuesday gone, a fireball which finally woke everybody – imbeciles aside – in the tangled, treacherous, lethal situation we have, over many decades, engineered for ourselves.
And all the while an ultra-modern mediaeval State wages sophisticated asymmetric warfare against anything and everything not of itself. Goodwill to all men?
Yeah, our choice is to either tone that down or kid ourselves. And to be honest good will to X%* per cent of men (*a Sun Survey will make up the exact figure) just don’t light my puddings. Which is problematic, for if that notion of goodwill to ALL isn’t at the core of what we understand Christmas to mean what is?
Has this celebration of an ancient desert prophet of peace at last, as it has long threatened, become no more than a knees-up?
Mind you, I’m being naive. For decades we have already extended good will across the board while stepping over the homeless, destitute, deprived and broken in our very midst. The free market, self-self-self culture has groomed us, trained us to see yet not see.
We could not be better prepared for the new reality. So here’s to a Platitudinous Christmas, with good will to all men (and let the Devil take the hindmost)!