How To Say “Merry Christmas!”

It is pre- Christmas Eve today and I have already started receiving Christmas messages from family and friends. Many thanks to these folks who continue to keep me in their thoughts. I have not replied to anybody, moreover, I find myself unable to muster the words to express the Christmas joy and New Year wishes in these uncertain times. Usually, there is always something to look forward to, but this is the first time that I have felt so negative.

We, the human race, have made tremendous progress in our evolutionary march towards ‘greatness’, and we have found solutions to numerous problems that we historically faced. But we have not found enough empathy to understand and share the pain of others less fortunate than us. More than two million people have died due to this pandemic, and the rate at which people are dying is increasing, but we can’t understand because in our thinking there is always some people dying somewhere. What can we do.

There has been a war going on for more than five years in Yemen, encouraged and fueled by the Saudi monarchy and Iranian theocracy. Thousands upon thousands of people including children have been killed and are still being killed everyday. But hardly anybody sheds any tears because most of us perhaps don’t even know where exactly Yemen is. I don’t see any empathy there.

Our unequal world economic order has ensured that almost half of the world’s population lives below the poverty line. And this means that despite the MDG’s (Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations), these people continue to live in abject poverty without clean water, electricity, toilets, food, homes, education and healthcare). Seeing is believing, as they say, so please visit the slums around Manila, Mexico, and Mumbai, to mention but a few names.

If we lack empathy towards other human beings, we surely show no sign of it when it comes to animals. We capture, hunt, and kill them at our pleasure with utter disregard for nature and our environment. Many species of animals have become extinct, and many others are either seriously endangered, or very close to becoming extinct. Despicably, we continue to kill for a thriving international trade in endangered species, or for spurious claims of medicinal purposes. China is the principal culprit in this genocide, but there are other countries too perhaps to a lesser extent. Our Mother Earth has already lost millions of species for ever, and at the rate at which we are going, our progeny will be deprived of seeing life in any shape or form in about fifty years time.

But, the year 2020 will certainly be remembered for the appearance of COVID-19, which has claimed almost two million lives and has given humanity its greatest challenge. Our globalized lifestyles helped to create and spread a pandemic that is truly global in its scale and outreach. Can we provide a sustainable future for the COVID-affected millions who suddenly find themselves bereft of dignity and self-respect, forced into a life of penurious existence.

With these thoughts, and keeping in mind the unfortunate half of humanity, I wish you hope and positivity for Christmas and the New Year.