Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas brings hopes, fears & laughs

British eccentrity - A swimmer in Southend on Sea, Essex
Christmas Day has passed by with relative calm around the globe though there were some tragedies reported. In Los Angeles a man dressed as Santa Claus opened fire on guests at a party killing at least three people [BBC]. The MoD announced that a soldier had been killed in Afghanistan on Christmas Eve [BBC]. Hamas has continued to fire rockets into Israel for the second day running. Israel’s patience is running thin and action is likely to follow after the Christmas holiday [BBC].

Amid the continuing violence around the planet several prominent figures have given seasonal messages of peace. In Britain the Queen made her annual message in which she spoke about the global downturn [BBC / video]. Channel Four television showed an alternate message from Iranian President Ahmadinejad prompting many complaints [BBC].

“If Christ were alive today he would undoubtedly fight against the tyrannical policies of prevailing economic and political systems, as he did in his own lifetime”, the Iranian leader said.
The pope called for an end to conflicts in the Middle East and across Africa and spoke of the “twisted logic of conflict and violence” [BBC]. Britain’s archbishop called on ordinary people to do their own small part to make the world a better place and not wait for “larger than life heroes” to solve the world’s problems

The message of Christmas and its origins were lost on most people however. People dressed in Santa costumes could be spotted making deliveries early Christmas morning using more conventional modes of transport such as motorcycle and car rather than the traditional sleigh. The holiday also brought out the eccentric as swimmers took to the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park [Daily Telegraph] or splashed about in the sea.

For most, Christmas is about eating a large amount of food, drinking and exchanging gifts. The other tradition of Christmas television is gradually being replaced with video games and other home entertainment but the main broadcasters attempted to draw in viewers with special programming. The BBC tempted viewers with Wallace and Gromit cartoons and a Dr Who Special. The offerings on ITV, Channel Four and Channel Five were a little less inspiring. It’ll be alright on the night, a program focusing on film outtakes ran on ITV while Channel five broadcast Most Shocking Celebrity Moments, yet another list style programme. Perhaps it was time to turn off the telly and sing some carols round the ol’ joana!

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