Counting down to Christmas 2010.

I must start by wishing you a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year because I might lack the strength to do so later on.

How do we say it’s a good Christmas to wish one another when a Kwazulu-Natal family of nine has just been massacred by faceless murderers. It might sound like the usual news headlines, but people have gone so extremely senseless, even to the extent of subjecting a nine month old to death at the barrel of a gun.

The whole gory picture sends back the memory of Bongani Kheswa, the 12 year old boy who was killed in a hail of bullets by the South African Defence Force operatives in Mamelodi,  Pretoria in 1986 while playing Guy Fawkes with friends. 

Which is much the same like the murder of little Mita Ngobeni in Atteridgeville, Pretoria in 1986 by the same SADF gun-totters who claimed the little girl was carrying a hand grenade, whereas in truth she was holding a loaf of bread. In both cases, the soldiers – ‘defenders of society’ – were acting under conditions of the State of Emergency, which was meant to meet the comrades’ fire by the apartheid State fire. But the two kids hardly knew there was any conflict in the country.

These two kids were as innocent as all kids who continue to suffer, be maimed, raped and killed in Sudan and elsewhere where fighting and civil wars have become the order of the day.

Come up with ideas, please. How do we start wishing one another a pleasant Christmas with the impasse in Cote d’ Voire between incoming President Quattaro and outgoing Presidnet Gbagbo? It may sound Coted’ Ivorish, but it’s an African problem, and above all a global sore. Looking at the whole thing from a sociological angle, Gbagbo is playing an I-don’t-care-a-damn kind of game; he doesn’t respect the rule of law for which he was elected to be custodian until now. He has no heart to say thank you for the term in office you afforded me. He doesn’t care about the potential disruption to society which a civil war may visit on the poor citizens. This on the eve of Christmas!

You only need to encounter the disruption to society which such acts of stubborness and belligerency bring to ordinary citizens. I am taking no sides here, but I am a firm believer of the fact that the people’s wish is expressed through the ballot, and out the peoples’ ballot did shift him. I believe that anyone who does not show respect to the peoples’ expression of confidence simply puts his interests above the nation’s. That person never minds the anguish, the panic, the violence, the massacres, children being torn apart from their families, ending up in growth of child trafficking and all related ills that befall a nation gripped with power struggles.

But then we aren’t a bunch of saddists. Or are we? We have the capacity to condemn the bloodletting and to mourn the deaths; and at the same time highlight issues that decorate our life and give praise where it is due. 

This Christmas let us search for a bigger reason to kneel down and bow our heads to Christ the Lord. For the World Cup that He oversaw in South Africa, and the one that He will preside in Brazil. For the life that continues after the Tsunami in Thailand. For the life that He sustains even after the devastating bombs in Japan, Kenya and elsewhere. For the food and clothes that we hav; for the roof that we still have over our heads; and for the fact that we can still rise up in the morning.

As we count down to Christmas 2010, may we all be part of the peace brigades, give hand to road and air safety, be the instruments of peace,  and be much of the solution to global problems.      Let us all join Father Christmas and give a little flower to our neighbour.

And, ofcourse, because I have had the strenght to, may I endup by wishing you a very merry Christmas and a thousand-fold blessed New Year!


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