Tuesday, 24 December 2013
Let's suspend Christmas: an Open Letter
Next year is the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family. But in its twilight, 2013 seems bent on rubbing scornful irony in the face of the very concept, Family.
In a space of thirty days, we have witnessed a leader execute his uncle without any tremor; we have jointly called for the head of a Governor... for what offence? his gentle reprimand of a widow to unite with her husband; and in the last fortnight, we have read the nightmare-version of a daughter's letter to her aged dad. Add these to that drama when kids were 'accidentally' treated to an adult-flick while awaiting a Disney movie as well as the steady wave of very public and messy divorces this year; and the number-churners will start drawing near-empirical statements about 2013. Oh, I hear the Chinese called it the Year of the Snake. Go figure then.
As if that is not enough; the music died. Yes, the radio airwaves rounded off this year with threats of suspending play of some of our favourite songs due to a face-off between BON and COSON. My sentiments on copyright as a lawyer now fight with my primal desire for music. An ugly situation to face at Christmas. I had predicted earlier this year on this Medium that there would be a rise in awareness of Entertainment Law. But I had hoped for a negotiated approach to gradually carter for our nascent creative Industries. Sadly, it appears negotiations have failed. And this Christmas, one will battle an additional temptation: to illegally download or not, in the face of silent FM stations
No family. No music...then, where is the Christmas? (à la Black-eyed Peas)
So, in line with recent practices, I write this open letter to the Powers proposing a suspension of Christmas down here, this year and for some time...
To the Powers...
How do we even start saying compliments of the season with a straight face, when the harmattan season is fast getting extinct across many of our principal cities? Surely, the heat-waves cannot accommodate Santa, considering his North Pole orientations. Come to think of it, don't you think it has been a bit discriminatory to make certain climes more acceptable to Santa than others? It is arguable that the scant-pleasures of our Christmas celebrations down here may have something to do with Santa's grumpiness when forced to land in the adverse weather of the tropics. So, we sing of snowy nights while our skins brutally crack in the dryness of the day. We therefore start with a recommendation that upon its reinstatement, our Christmas be complete with a customized Santa, moulded to happily thrive here for all 12 days of Yuletide.
Now, ours is a crumbling society. There is a myriad cases in our courts, and many more will be commenced. These cases stem from strife, oppression and corruption. We want to see them through to the bitter end, and do not wish to be imposed with compulsory-goodwill and amnesia - in the spirit of the season. We want the mental space to follow up on the oil subsidy scams and associated counter-accusations, we want to conclude the pension fund fraud accusations, we want fair and decisive judicial appraisal of all high officers who have erred within the year. If we must forgive because it is Christmas; then, Christmas goes.
We do not want to conduct Christmas-time visits to the prisons and meet only the guilty poor and defenseless. who are conveniently within reach. As a Lawyer, the hypocrisy is not lost on me when we pile loads of Indomie and rolls of tissue-paper for their use during Christmas. We put them there, by heating up the society in our failure to reach the guilty rich. We have only done our jobs halfway and the corrective sword of Justice is not deserving of holidays, until its job is complete.
Sirs, how can we possibly celebrate Christmas in the face of the rot of our Universities? Our fresh-blooded youths have spent 7-months hibernating in idle splendour while ASUU grappled with the FG. Now, the school-doors are to be closed again for Christmas holidays? No way!
We shall not sing cheery Carols; we shall not detonate colorful fireworks in camaraderie. WE are not real friend to one another. We sit and watch us self-destruct, and then lift a ceremonial helping hand at the close of every year, to ease our dying consciences.
WE do not want to avail our brethren abroad the smug opportunity of sending down dollars and fancy clothes (on Sale in European stores); a yearly display of their superiority in earning-power backed by a functional and responsible leadership. We cannot validly celebrate Christmas when 54% of young Nigerian were unemployed in the past year. They have been on a perpetual holiday. Christmas starts when they actually start working.
We do not want year-end crusades where private jets float down and their glossy owners anoint followers with hope that never dies. We need to soberly lift ourselves out of these self-inflicted doldrums, without disproportionately heaping it all on the unseen.
Our Country is still intact, but barely. Many regions are on an emergency ruler-ship and near-chaos. We cannot wish them away. How can we party during the festivities with one eye continually open in the awareness that we still sit on a keg of long-ignored gunpowder? We are warned that public hangouts should be warily approached during the holidays; well, let's save everyone the efforts and call off the whole thing altogether. We might as well be spending the period with those prison inmates, in the safe harbor of military and police barricades.
We will not need to kill cows and goats and send out cases of champagne to our rich benefactors in government, making them beat their chests at the honored positions they have earned in the hearts of their subjects, and encouraging them on their soiled paths.
The euphoric exchange of gifts and cards should cease. I should not be forced to bestow goodwill on my neighbour who constantly plays that obnoxious song: "I no like this your touching body...". The only sincere thing I wish him is poverty, so that he can sell that bloody Generator that robs me of sleep.
The holidays should stand suspended until the end of 2014; at which time they Year would have had its chance to redeem its image as the 2nd successful decade of Family, and nationhood.
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Meanwhile, I am here in a Boutique, irritating the attendants with my naive questions while combing their racks for a perfect Christmas dress for my daughter. I will take my leave.
By the time Christmas is reinstated, I should have matured into a better person, focused on my tasks and priorities and healthily involved in purposeful engagement with same-thinking citizens, each cleansed from the licensed-Epicureanism of the season.
So, in my old age, if my daughter picks up a pen to do me an open letter, I will rest assured that the words will be grateful and endearing.
In the meantime folks. Have yourselves a regular lunch...until the suspension is lifted