exploitation


The voice from the “right”: “Less regulation! No! Wait… I mean, more regulation! Oops… Not that type though!”

No, this is not about economics or bailouts. Nothing as fundamental as that… Just another something that has been bugging me. (As if that is something new…) No, this is about the  argument “some” make that they are in favor of less regulations. Unfortunately, they lie. They love regulations. The more the merrier.

They talk a good talk. But they don’t walk a good walk. You see, they only want to regulate so that everything fits their behaviour model. “This is me and everybody damn well be like me”. They live bigotry. Why bigotry? Let’s first look at the definition of being a bigot and what bigotry means…

“A bigot is a person who is intolerant of opinions, lifestyles, or identities differing from his or her own, and bigotry is the corresponding state of mind. Bigot is often used as a pejorative term against a person who is obstinately devoted to prejudices even when these views are challenged or proven to be false or not universally applicable or acceptable.” Thank you Wikipedia…

It.. p… hum… you know… me off. Let’s just say it gets under my skin. This bigotry. But it is bigotry of self. Intolerance of their own opinions. We are aware of the “standard” bigotry of anti this and anti that, hidden or blatant racism etc. But there is a deeper level of bigotry happening here. These people are actually intolerant of their own ideas. WTF?

Good question. They say they don’t like regulations, but they actually love regulations. They don’t like to regulate the market. (In fairness, they do like it now that the market tanked.) But, as I said, it goes beyond the market. They love regulating behaviour. They are bigots when it comes to social behaviour. They say they don’t want government to interfere? Hmm, I think they might be lying. No, I know they are lying.

You want the right to own a gun? Yep – don’t regulate that buddy. Don’t want no government to regulate that. “Step away from that regulation sir. Put your pen where I can see it.”

You want to chop down that tree? Yep – don’t regulate that. “It’s my yard and my bloody tree. Go hug your own tree.”

You want to join the KKK? Yep – don’t regulate that. “It’s my voice and I can pretty much say what the hell I want to. And join what ever I want.”

You want to form your own little sect down South? Yep – don’t regulate that. “It’s my religion and my sect so don’t dare go there. Really, the kids are very happy here.”

You want to scream “kill him” at your political opponent? Yep – don’t regulate that. “People died to protect my ability and right to shout what the heck I want to.”

It’s a noble principle. And one I agree with. To be able to have freedom I have to accept the freedom of others who do not look, speak, think, act or live like me. My freedom is dependent on that racist being able to say what he wants to say. My freedom is guaranteed by the loony also being able to carry a gun. That nutcase shouting “Kill him” embodies the freedom I enjoy to shout him down. The weirdo who has a few indoctrinated souls in the house of sects secures my right and freedom to walk around my house as an equal to others. The tough guy chopping down the trees makes me chaining myself to those same trees possible. It’s the beauty of being anti-regulation. It ensures freedoms we might not like but freedom that ensures our own freedom.

But… And this is a BIG but… (Single “t”.) That’s not what the American “right” really believes in. They don’t want freedom. They want their life just their way and no other way. So freedom for them but not for others. Only their “freedom”. That’s the bigotry. Sorry people, freedom goes both ways. You have to take the bad to have the good. But you don’t believe in that do you? You want “freedom” that is false and limited. The result is no freedom at all.

Why do I say that?

Well, easy… I’ll just give you one example of your bigotry of self.

Marriage. Gay marriages to be more specific. Look, I am not asking you whether you are gay. Or whether you want a man to be able to marry a man. Or whether you like the idea of a woman marrying another woman. All I am asking you… Why regulate? Why regulate who can marry who? Why regulate marriages but not guns? The one kills and the other doesn’t. I thought you don’t like regulations. Or is that just a double bigot I see? The one who doesn’t like anyone who isn’t as narrow-minded as yourself… And the one who likes to really regulate but who says he doesn’t? I call it snake oil bigotry. You say freedom but give us all chains. You included. Because your limitation of freedom for all means limitations for yourself. Of thought and of deeds. Bang-bang! Double whammy for you. A bigot with a forked tongue. A bigot of self.

Gay marriages. It’s not your call. I don’t like guns. I don’t like racist. I love trees. I don’t like sects. I don’t like people screaming rude insults ta rallies. But I acknowledge your right to carry a gun as part of the freedom that secures the freedoms I cherish. I know you chopping down the trees might be helping in killing this earth slowly, but I know it gives me the chance to plant some more. I despise you screaming stupid hate filled slogans at rallies, but I know it gives me a change to show those fence sitters how ill informed you are and get them on my side. And I know your racial hatred might make me vomit, but I know it is balanced by my right and freedom to shout you down and show to the world how pathetic you are.

You call yourself someone who doesn’t like big government? You call yourself an American who doesn’t like being told what to do? Right. But you can’t have it both ways. You are either for freedom or not. Not selective freedom. Selective freedom and rights are not what make America great. Freedom from interference… Freedom from over regulation…. Freedom for all no matter what… That’s what made America great. Can you handle it? Can you handle freedom? Can you handle being American?

I’m not even American but I sure like what it stands for. Freedom…

And once you taste real freedom… Damn, those pesky little “freedoms” sure go down well over here. It’s worth it. It’s worth being American. It think so. Do you?

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Actually, they won’t say that. Maybe behind closed doors somewhere. But even then they won’t use the word African. No they’ll use something much more harsh than that. They’ll tell public jokes about people from Pakistan or Poland, but they’ll stay away from Africans. Ever wondered why?

Maybe because they have raped and pillaged Africa so much that there is no joke left for them to tell. Not without feeling guilty. It’s easy to tell jokes about people that are down and less fortunate than you. But it is more difficult to tell a joke about people that you messed up so badly. Where you drew the borders with a ruler and a dice. Hey, it was a half a century ago, but it takes the fun away when you see your handiwork in the news every single day.

But even those outside Europe don’t tell jokes about Africans. But they don’t do it because of their history of exploitation. No. They do it because of what they are still doing today. Want a trade deal? We got one for you. Okay, it’s not what you want, but it’s all you gonna get. Want some help with economic development? No problem. Just sign on the dotted line and take all the strings that’s attached. Want to deal with a health crisis? No problem. Here take these pills, but pay up and break your neck if you want the stuff that will really help. No fun telling jokes about Africans now is it? Not when what you do is no joke. It kills people.

There is another reason why they don’t tell jokes about Africans. Racism. Plain old vanilla flavored racism. It is difficult to tell jokes when you know you discriminate against people from Africa. Because you can’t laugh out loud when your conscious drowns out the laughter with its screaming. And the tears of laughter gets replaced by tears of sorrow when you are reminded of that kid you saw on the Save The Children poster. No fun now is it?

Oh, they’ll hide that racism away. And hide behind their politically correct walls. But we know better. We see it in their eyes when they can’t look at us for too long. Or the condescending voice they use when describing how much they love Africa. A good friend of mine described it in the perfect way – the “snobbery and veiled superiority of the Brits”. (Don’t worry John, I won’t give away your identity, but those were beautiful words. I just had to use it.) They don’t believe that they are better. No never, not them. They know they are better. And it is so subtle. It’s just the slight tilt of their head, the slow knowing nod of the head, the soft voice almost whispering, their chin resting on their folded hands as if in prayer, and the way they sigh in a caring way when they talk about the people of Africa and the suffering. But we know. Oh yes, we know.

They’ll let in everyone with a white skin (or money). You’re from Poland? No problem. Come on in. America? Welcome to London. South Africa? Sorry, you were okay before, but you know now that you have a black government running the country we are experiencing all these problems with visas. It was okay way back then when you only came over to visit and spend your money, but now you want to work here as well? Really, that is just too much. Give an African a finger and he’ll take the middle one. Yes, South Africa has at last become like almost all other African countries. We can now call ourselves true Africans. We have passed the last hurdle. The UK will charge our people just enough money for visas to keep the majority of black South Africans at home. Welcome home South Africa, welcome home.

But the joke is on them. Those borders they drew never kept us in. Or out for that matter. We are not some animal you can cage. We will explore the world like we always have. Move around and find a nice little place to hang out. Hey, you can thank your lucky stars that we have this eagerness to explore. A couple of us got sick and tired of hanging around hunting in this bloody heat and decided to go north for a bit. Just a winter break. And decided to stay for a while. We gave you life. And a few thousand years later those same bastards came back with white skins and a gun. Jeez umlungu, what happened to you? You leave for a few days and come back looking like this? Go wash yourself. You look ridiculous.

Hey, gotta run. Want to see the Cullinan Diamond in London before I need a visa. Oh yes, that was one of ours before as well. After London? Who knows. I hear Switzerland still takes us. Just a shame about all the Swiss. Have I ever told you the joke about the Swiss?

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You know about my father and me. We didn’t get along. We didn’t talk much. We didn’t do much together. None of that “dad and son” stuff. We might not even have liked each other much. There was bad blood. Lots of it. And still I learned so much from the man. Even when he didn’t mean it and I did…

We had many arguments. Many, many arguments. Almost always about politics. He was on the side of Apartheid and I was on the other side fighting what and who he stood for. He was a bigot and I was always happy to point it out to him. And I was just as stubborn as him. I refused to budge. I refused to try and understand. I refused to give him one single little bit of ground. I refused to give him or what he stood for the benefit of doubt for even a split second. He was wrong and so was everything he stood for. No movement on bigotry. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch. I was right about Apartheid being wrong. Why should I move even an inch for any form of bigotry? I still won’t. I refuse to compromise just because it might make people feel better. Or because it would be the nice thing to do. I won’t. Not with bigots.

And I do expect people to point out my own bigotry. Trust me, I have a thick skin and I am a big boy – I can handle it. It’s the only way I can ever answer The Question…

Anyway, back to me and my father…

Back when we still spoke we had almost daily fights about Apartheid and the fight against Apartheid. He called those who fought the Apartheid government terrorists – Nelson Mandela to Breyten Breytenbach and everyone from the ANC to COSATU. Yes, we fought like hell. It eventually tore us apart completely. There was a moment when I just gave up. And there was a time that I realized he just taught me the biggest lesson of all. He didn’t know it but it has driven me since…

It was just one of those days again. We were arguing like hell. I can’t even remember what triggered this one. The ANC was already unbanned. It could have been him calling Nelson Mandela racist names again. Or him bitching about anyone who was black and who didn’t agree with his warped view of the world. Actually, you didn’t have to be black to be hated by him. Even Reverand Beyers Naudé was a terrorist in his eyes.  But we were off on our usual little boat ride down the rough river of arguing.

My poor mother was just sitting there half in shock as always. Every now and again trying to calm us down. But she knew it was a losing battle. I was never going to keep quiet. Not anymore. And it gave me a chance to fight him on every issues that I ever thought he was wrong about – from Apartheid to my mother. So once I started I would never let go. And he egged me on by pushing one button after the other. We were predictable…

He was on about the Apartheid National Party giving him a job and me an education. He was shouting at me that the ANC and Nelson Mandela will always be terrorists. I was throwing it back in his face that he must live with the fact that we have won. That it is over. You lost your right to bigotry and murder. No more. We won, you lost. And, to rub it in, that if Nelson Mandela is a terrorist then so is his own son.

It shut him for a little bit. He stared at me for a moment. I could see he was ready to explode. He was about to say something. And then it came. The question. I popped the question without even thinking…

“Tell me dad, what did you do?” (“Sê my pa, what het jy gedoen?”)

It shut him up. He had a puzzled look in his face. Not sure what I meant. That’s when I hit him with the meaning of my question…

“What have you ever done to make this country a better place? Where were you when they were murdering people? Where were you when all the killings were taking place? What did you do to stop all the madness? What did you do to end all the hate and bigotry dad? Where is the love and the peace and the freedom dad? Tell me dad, what have you ever done to make this world a better place? For me. For my sisters and mother. And for the kids we will one day have? Tell me dad, what did you do with your life?”

I only stopped when I saw his face change. I can’t even describe to you what he looked like. That expressions…

It was as if the life was sucked out of him. Like an animal in complete fear of his life and knowing that this is the end. That he has no more to offer. That everything is empty. That all that was left was this shell of a man standing in front of me. The look of a man knowing that everything he has ever done is meaningless and worthless in the eyes of his son. The look in his eyes was of a man knowing his life and what he stood for meant nothing to his son. Nothing. Like him. His life. Meaningless. All in a single expression.

it is difficult… I can’t really describe to you what he looked like…

But I will never forget it. That look in his eyes. It was something that made me shut up. I knew there was nothing more to say. I knew he was not my father anymore. He was… He was… Nothing…

Because his expression also told me something else. It betrayed him. It told me the answer…

Nothing…

I looked at him for a little while and said it one more time softly – almost a whisper, “Tell me dad, what have you ever done?”

His expression also betrayed something else…

It wasn’t just the question that cut him up. It wasn’t just his lack of answers that drained is soul. No. It was also my expression that sucked the life out of him. The expression of someone that felt nothing anymore. The look of someone who knew his father no more. The face of someone who knew a common love no more. The questions from someone who believed in his own blood no more. The end of the blood running through our veins. He knew that my own questions and eyes told him that we were no more…

That was what he saw… And what he heard…

And then I turned around and walked away. Leaving him there to… I don’t know… I just left him there without thinking about what I wanted from him. I didn’t want anything anymore. I didn’t need anything anymore. I got what I wanted…

I will never forget his face. I still see that expression. Daily. It drives me. That single question and that single expression drives me daily. Each and every single day. Because I never want to be asked that question. Never.

Maybe I am over sensitive to what is going on around me. Maybe I love my wife and kids a little more than what I would have if I didn’t know about that question. Maybe I get angry about bigotry and injustice and inequality more than I would have if I didn’t know about that expression. And maybe I see the beauty around me a bit clearer thanks to the face I saw that day. I don’t know. But I know this…

I never want any of my kids to ever ask me that question…

And I never want them to look at me the way I looked at my dad that day…

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Note: I should have added that I did make peace with my dad shortly before he died. I do understand where he came from even though I never agreed with his politics or the way he treated some people. But we did make some form of peace. Do I wish our relationship was different? I am not sure because I would not be who I am without him being who he was. I am at peace with how it all turned out – it could have been better but it could have been worse. I focus on the here and now. The question I asked him doesn’t drive me a in conscious way where I think of them daily. It is only when I think and reflect on what I do that I recognise some of the events that played a key role – and this was one of those key events.

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There is a war for Christmas. No, not WTF but a War For Christmas. It is being threatened each and every single day. Year after year. And it is getting worse. Much worse. It is time to take Christmas back. It’s time to join the War For Christmas.

No, I am not talking about Bill O’Effing-Reilly. This is NOT a call to join Bill and his War On Christmas. Sorry Bill, you’re a stupid prick and saying anything positive about anything remotely associated with you will never happen on this blog. This is a war against your war. You like War On Terror? I like War For Peace. Yours was a War In Error. So this is my war. My war against your pathetic (again) misinformed half-arsed stupidity-induced right-wing-nut fake-Christian war. This is my War For Christmas. I want it back. And you have no choice. I was right back when we fought over the War On Terror and I am right again this time. So suck it up baby.

I like Christmas. I don’t like Xmas. Looks crap and sounds crap. Even though it comes from the Greek way of spelling Christ – Χριστός. It’s all Greek to me. I like good old Christmas.

Christmas – Christ’s mass… Not about presents and crap. It’s about mass. Getting together. Sharing a bond. Being the family we are meant to be. It’s about Christ. And it is about celebrating our Pagan heritage.

Huh?

Come on, Christmas isn’t even His birthday. In fact, we don’t really know when He was really born.

Maybe you should learn to celebrate Him and what He stands for every day. Make every day a day of Christ. Hum… That will mean loving instead of hating. Tolerance instead of war. No thank you. That will not do. It’s just too damn difficult hey? Let’s pick a date and act like we believe for a day.

So why pick the 25th?

Convenience…

Typical of some Christians, they were just too lazy to find the actual facts and just started invading. They liberated the Pagans from their little holiday. A crusade to bring Christ to all Pagans. Almost like when we try to take oil bring democracy to everyone today.

But let’s quickly step back to Bill’s Big Bitch – his (fake) War On Christmas…

The “controversy” is about people bitching about others (read governments, media, retailers, advertising and “other people like liberal-socialist-radicals”) not acknowledging the Christmas holiday. They bitch because people call it the Holiday Season or Festive Season instead of Christmas. It somehow takes away from Christian holiday… It’s mostly an American thing. Thank God for America yet again fighting on the side of the right and righteous. (Rolling my eyes…) Oh, a few people in Canada and the UK also bitches but that is more because they are Bill’s Bitches.

Sometimes they even bitch because people buy so much crap during this “holiday season”. The economy trumping Christianity’s religious celebration. But that is really fake. In so many ways.

On a minor religious point… Why the heck do you want to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the first place? I just don’t get that. You celebrate the fact that God had to send His own Son down because you messed up so badly and sinned so much that He had to offer His own Son up just to save your sorry arse? Yeah… be real proud people. You should feel ashamed by the fact that He had to do this in the first place. He went to the cross because you messed up big time. No – BIG TIME. Rather celebrate when He had to leave because that was the single act that saved your sorry soul.

Anyway… This isn’t meant to be a sermon. (But did you hear my voice booming from the pulpit? And the choir singing in the background? Damn, I heard my voice vibrate like those Southern Ministers! Hallelujah! Now cough up and fill those collection boxes. I need a guitar for Christmas…)

Look, I don’t give a damn whether calling it Christmas offends a non-Christian. I’m not too PC in that way. Grow up and grow a pair. Bloody hell, so many of our week days are named after Pagan gods and celebrations. Tolerances means letting people celebrate their religious holidays. I like it. More presents and more food to eat. And, most importantly, more days to party with my mates who are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist (and all other variations.) Party, party, party! Ha! The reason why I don’t like atheists is because they don’t have special party days. I’m easy that way – Call a party and I’m there. It’s called a free lunch. Who said we don’t have any?

Okay… Back to my rant.

It is a historical fact (ooh, I like facts…) that many of the “symbols” of  Christmas were taken from non-Christian traditions that pre-date the birth of Jesus – whenever that might have been. Decorating trees? Who did that? The wise men? And who kissed who under the mistletoe back in the manger? What? Were the shepherds gay? Holly wreaths? Was that one of the presents? And was it so cold they had to chuck a few more yule logs on the fire? Bet you that didn’t work too well. Christmas only recently “found” these WMD’s – Wreaths, Mistletoe & Decorations.

The season for a reason… Really…

The reason is to party and to get a guitar… Hum… I mean presents!

Like I said – Jesus wasn’t born on 25 December. Live with it. And I’ll get back to that just now-now. (A South African way of saying just now.)

I do have one major issue with those against calling it Christmas. Some of them also wants to force government to not make it a holiday anymore. Hey buddy… Piss off… Don’t touch the holiday or party. There will be some fisticuffs. African style. Woman! Bring me my spear and shield! Time to circle the ox-wagons. Our party and presents are threatened!

But when did all this crap about the War On Christmas start? The bloody Puritans again!

Yep, good old grumpy Cromwell wanted to remove all the WMD’s. Not a tree in sight. I think it was just because he didn’t get kissed under the mistletoe… And you might notice that the decorations stayed. And so did the presents, thank God. And this is when all this crap about Christmas started…

Old Cromwell and his grumpy elves struggled with getting the Christmas trees burned and the presents given to the church in monetary form. So guess what they did? Man, they were brilliant. They did the classic Trojan trick. They took it over from the inside. They just picked this date to celebrate  the birth of Christ. This was when all the crap started. When Puritans were less than pure with the truth. Because we know Jesus wasn’t born on the 25th. But who cares? It’s not as if the churches haven’t pulled a few tricks for dough before right? And they still keep on doing it today…

But wait – how about those trees hey? You know where this comes from? “For the customs of the peoples are false: a tree from the forest is cut down, and worked with an ax by the hands of an artisan. People deck it with silver and gold they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move.” Hey? Jeremiah 10:3-4. Damn. I guess that’s why we went with a fake plastic tree. Biblical speaking I am not sinning…

Actually, the early Protestant bitched a lot about Christmas. During the various Protestant reformations (more regular than the a Meryl Streep Oscar nomination), these Paganizing elements were a source of controversy. Some sects, I mean Puritans, rejected Christmas as an entirely Pagan holiday. Others rejected certain aspects of Christmas as Paganizing, but wanted to retain the “essence” of the holiday as a celebration of the Christ’s birth – even though it wasn’t on this day. It was a bit like the war in Iraq – bitching and fighting about something that never really existed.  But the fighting about Christmas has been going on ever since. And Bill has been bitching ever since.

But I want Christmas back. I want to call it Christmas just to piss people like O’Reilly off. But this whole passing of presents and having a party at the end of the year started way back before they made up a date for Jesus to be born. It started with the winter solstice.

You know the winter solstice? It happens “when the Sun’s position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observer”. Actually, I have no clue what that means. And I have read Stephen Hawking a few times…. All I know is that it tends to happens some time between December 20 and December 23 each year in the northern hemisphere. And between June 20 and June 23 in the southern hemisphere. Yeah! Christmas in June in Africa! Take that Bill-O! I get presents twice a year! 

So what about the 25th of December then? Ha! winter solstice was established on the 25th by the Julian Calendar. But quickly banned by the Catholic Church as a Pagan practice. But it was too much of a good thing for them to pass up on a good party I guess. They banned the celebration party of the sun and made one up for the Son. And kept  much of the folklore and traditions of local Pagan festivals. So today, the old festivals such as Jul, Коледа and Karácsony, are still celebrated in many parts of Europe (Pagans, Bill! Pagans!), but the Christian Nativity is now offered as the meaning behind the holiday.

How about that Yule hey? You know that Yule or Yule-tide was a German midwinter festival about a sacrificial feast that was absorbed into Christmas like I do with a meat pie? Or a Yule log…

Actually, it came from a German dude called Odin who used to fly high in the sky on his way to a hunting party. Big beard and everything. He didn’t have any Rudolphs pulling his wagin though. No good for a hunting party. He had an eight-legged horse pulling him across the sky. Oh, and he gave the kids candy if they left some straw, carrots and sugar for his Chernobyl horse. Guess where they used to put it? In their boots next to the fireplace… Now swap that for a pair of old stinky socks hanging in front of the fireplace and you get…

Really, those early Christians were even lazier than the current bunch of Bible-bashers calling themselves the religious wing-nuts.

And how about the fat dude in the red suite?

Father Christmas, the dude I grew up with and who is older than Santa Claus, was first recorded in the 15th century, but was seen as a bit of a party animal who created havoc, got drunk and acted like a stupid wino. Ha! It seems as if some of our family members still celebrate this way – creating havoc, drinking too much and acting like a stupid wino. Some things just never change. The French Père Noëlwas also a bit of a raving and raging drunk; as was the Italian Babbo Natale. But that might just be the Italians being Italian. Wearing funny clothes, getting pissed and making a lot of noise.

The best one comes from La Befana though. She was also a character during Christmas and was the bringer of gifts. Here is the Pagan clincher though. It is said that La Befana set out to bring the baby Jesus gifts, but got lost along the way. I think she was hanging out with old Father Christmas for too long… Too much drinking and partying if you ask me. Now, she brings gifts to all children. I guess she has been trying to suck up for the last 2,000 odd years…

Actually, Father Christmas is so Pagan that even calling him old comes from people bitching about the Church trying to take him away. He is “old” because of the antiquity of the old parties, which its defenders saw as a good old Christian custom that should be kept. So “old Christmas” was given a voice to protest the Church trying to kill him off. And they made him jolly just to piss off the Pope a bit more I guess. The opposite of the stern Pope? A pissed Father Christmas!

But President Bush would be happy to know that the old drunk has different names over in the liberated countries as well. Afghanistan calls him Baba Chaghaloo – my personal favourite because it sounds so funny when you are jolly yourself at Christmas. Baba Chaghaloo sounds like a drink, doesn’t it?

But Iran and Iraq is more in line with America. They both call him Baba Noel. Wonder if they’ve checked for WMD’s there? It might be under the red outfit. Hidden as a false fat stomach. Or under the Christmas tree? Or in that big bag he carries on his back! Quick Bill-O! I found the WMD’s!

I almost forgot another good one. You know that Saint Nicholas was the Christian inspiration for Santa Claus? He is a Greek Christian bishop who lived in the 4th-century. (Actually, the part he comes from is part of Turkey today.) He didn’t drink as much as his other European fictional counterparts, but he gave gifts to the poor. Creepy though as he gave more gifts to young girls… But he had the robe and beard to make him at least look a bit like Santa I guess. Here is the clincher for me. Old Saint Nick is also the patron saint for many diverse groups. Including… Pawnbrokers! For those unwanted presents! (Or thanks to the current economic climate?)

Sadly he is also the patron saint for both dope heads and corrupt bureaucrats. Sorry, I mean of Amsterdam and Moscow…

So now you know a bit more about Christmas. And that is why I want it back!

This is my War For Christmas. More drinking like Father Christmas and acting like a jerk afterwards. More handing out gifts like old Saint Nicholas. More trees from the winter solstice feasts. And more Yule logs from the Germans please. Did I mention the drinking and partying bit already? So it’s drink, trees, mistletoe, drinking, yule logs, trees and more drinking. Just like Father Christmas would like it.

Let’s keep on calling it Christmas. We’ll steal the name just the way they stole the party. But for the real reasons. The original paty time. Drinking and presents and a bit more drinking – and the family hanging out together. That’s authentic. That’s the real deal. 

Piss of Bitching Bill. Your War On Christmas is a joke bigger than you. And Father Christmas is funnier than you. And Odin will whip your backside with his one hand tied to his horse.

I’m taking Christmas back. Now where is my beer and guitar?

Actually, I want Odin back. I want those times back when we can sit around a fire and just be happy with each other. No pressure to shop or entertain or listen to Bill-O. He can have “Merry Christmas”. I just want to use the time to play with the kids in the snow, have some malt wine with my wife, stand around a fire with my friends – share good times and brag about the scars from our bad times. Just us and Odin. Laid back and not worrying about what to buy or what to call it. Call it what you want. Bill-O, you can have it. What you can’t have is the family, the friends, the fun, the love, the peace, the memories or the good times. That is mine. That is ours.

My War For Christmas. It’s not a war to call it Christmas. It’s not a war to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. It’s not a war for presents. Those are all fake. Stolen from the good times. Stolen to be corrupted by people for their own personal gain. Whether they are trying to sell you the latest Elmo or the newest Jesus.

My War For Christmas. It’s a war for us. It’s a war for ubuntu. It’s a war for peace, love and happiness.

And it is ours. Take it and own it. It’s my present to you. Love and be loved. Reach out and make new friends. Sit back and relax your tired bones. Smile and we will smile with you. Be with each other the way your always hope you could be. This Christmas… Just be what you want to be. Celebrate what you want to celebrate. Just remember to make memories and make peace with yourself and the world around you. Make memories you can believe in. Make you.

Merry Christmas everyone.

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Note: And this last one is just for Bill-O. One of my favorite Christmas song ever. By The Pogues – Fairytale of New York…

bigots

This might be a little touchy… I tend not to write too much about religion around here. One of those sensitive areas that get people all worked up. But maybe it’s time to dig a little bit deeper. Bigots tend to hide in “high” places and behind big claims… And, of course, a lot of the things I want to write on religion comes back to haunt me. Am I doing what I accuse other people of doing in the name of religion. Well, tough. I’ll do it any way. Bigots beware…

Let’s make this clear. This is not aimed at any specific religion. I don’t care if you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist – or anything else for that matter. I don’t care if you are mainstream or somewhere hidden in a sect in the mountains. The rules stay the same. If you are a bigot then… Well, let’s just say that either your religious beliefs are warped or your God is warped. Your choice.

Tell me, what does your God teach you? Does he teach you to hate? Does he teach you to make war? Does he teach you to discriminate? Does he tell you that you are better than the next person? Or that those who look like you are His chosen people and the others are out of luck – and it’s open season on those out of luck? Well, buddy, you suck if you believe in that. And your God suck if He tells you that.

I don’t claim to be much of a religious expert. I believe and I know I am pretty pathetic when it comes to sinning – we all do really. All I know is the basic stuff – don’t do this and don’t do that. You know just the basic generic stuff. They’re all the same rules – more or less. Don’t kill (or murder) is pretty much in there somewhere in most (if not all) of the major religions. Yeah, for those who don’t know – the Qur’an (5:32) says, “….anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people.” Thoseguys who flew those airplanes? Straight to hell. No matter what the mad man in the cave has to say.

Talking about mad men in caves. We know the one with the grey beard hiding up in the mountains is as crazy as bat shit. But he isn’t the only one who claims to “lead his people” who might just be more than a little crazy…

Is your spiritual leader telling you that he speaks to God? Or that God speaks to him? Well guess what… The voices in their heads have a medical term attached to it. I think the correct technical term is… Crazy. Insane. Nuts. Loony. Sorry to disappoint you, but God doesn’t talk to the big head standing on the pulpit preaching. He doesn’t have the Verizon network.

Why the hell do you think He would talk to your guy? Because your guy says so? Well guess what? Why does it generally go with something you have to do instead of the liar leading you? Did Osamathe Coward fly the airplanes? No he didn’t. Did the preacher say that you should give him some money instead of the other way around? Did he say don’t sleep around but then got caught witha prostitute around the corner? Do they drive a nice car and have a nice house while telling you to donate to the “work of God”? Do they spend money on lobbying for policy changes while people are dying of hunger? Are they paying for ads against gay marriages while people are losing their jobs and livelihoods? I think God will most likely pick someone witha little bit less mouth and more character. Someone who cares about being good and doing good more than what they care about how other people are behaving…

Ask yourself this question… Why the hell is your religion so interested in controlling what others are doing instead of what the hell they themselves are doing? You beat your wife? You look at that girl down the road and wouldn’t mind a piece of that? You keep that $10 mistaken change because it’s your lucky day? You think that car of your neighbor is pretty cool and you have just a touch of jealousy? You rather watch the game on Saturday or Sunday or go shopping instead of taking it easy as the Book says? You sometimes say “Oh my Gawd” or “Jeeze” and never thought where it might actually come from? You like the big screen telly a little bit too much – almost like it is your god instead of the God you claim to follow? You break thoseGod-given rules so often but still think it is a much better idea to “fix” thosewho don’t believe in your version of God? It’s fine to throw stones at those who don’t attend your church? But you can’t stick to your own rules? Believer on a Sunday and a bigot the rest of the time? No. The bigotry starts at your church.

That’s what we call bigotry of the self. When you look at other people and throw stones at them instead of getting your own house in order. You want a voice on gay marriages? Then why don’t you first start by solving your own teen pregancies, divorces, wife beating, family murders, forced marriages in one way or another, multiple partners and other forms of moral corruption before you come and try to throw your weight around here.

You remind me of the same big government you apparently despise so much. Big mouth but once the shit hits the fan? Then we have to clean up after you. Get your house in order. Learn to be “just” according to your beliefs before you tell other people how they don’t “comply” to what your God said they should comply with.

For God sake. You can’t even stick to your own rules. Who fuck are you to tell other people to stick to your rules?

About those rules…

Did your God say that you should judge others? Or did your God say that you should first sort yourself out before you open your big mouth?

And if your rules says that other people shouldn’t have certain rights… Then stick your God where the sun don’t shine. Yes, you heard me right.

Why should I care about your God if your God doesn’t care about me? Huh? Come on… Tell me. Why should I care if you tell me that He doesn’t care?

If your God tells you it is just fine to be a bigot… Then He isn’t much of a God or you aren’t much of a follower.

Your God tells me more about you than what you tell me about Him. If you claim your God doesn’t tolerate gay marriages then I don’t tolerate your God. Why should I? If you claim that your God doesn’t tolerate equal rights for all then I don’t tolerate your beliefs. If your God tells you that you believing in Him makes you better than others and allows you to take out your “righteousness” on those “others” then I don’t listen to Him. If your God tells you that you should give more money to the preacher shouting those words of hate then I will shout back even louder. If your God tells you it is okay to kill others in His name then I will defend those who you attack.

Any bigotry coming from your God via your mouth means nothing. It remains bigotry. And you remain a bigot. And the words of your God remains full of bigotry if you spew out your bigoted lies.

So take you God. And live your life with Him. According to His words. I want nothing to do with you or your God. He is not my God. And you are not my people.

Actually… No.

Your God is a figment of your bigotry. And I am taking the true God back.

Don’t think that your God is my God. He is not. You can call Him by the same name but He is NOT your God. Better still… Why don’t you just use another name. I don’t give a shit what you call Him. Just leave my God out of this. I am taking Him back. To where He belongs. With us. He is ours.

Because he is just. He is compassionate. He is tolerant. He is he is respect. He is life. He is love.

He knows how pathetic I am. That’s why He laughs at me. And smiles at me. And why He loves me. Because He knows I am pretty pathetic. But He knows He is mine because of how stupid I am. He knows I don’t like you because of what you do to others and He doesn’t like that. But He is tolerant and forgiving. Thank God for that. But I am not. He knows, that’s just me. Because of us.

And it is time to take God back.

You have used and abused His name long enough. No, you have used and abused Him long enough. Your hatred and bigotry from the crusades to slavery to the Klan to flying airplanes into building to strapping bombs to your chest to denying equal rights to others to beheading and stoning people to… to… to everything that you have done in His name. Stop it right now.

Stop. It. Right. Now.

Time to take God back.

He is not yours. He never was. You just abused Him like you do with your powers and your hatred and your bigoted way. You just used him like a rag to clean up your mess you left behind on the counter of life each time you spilled and spewed your bigotry.

Each and every bigot talking about how God does not stand for this equality or that justice and his freedom or her liberty. Stop it. You are raping God the way you have raped this world for centuries in His name. No more. He is not yours.

No. More.

He. Is. Not. Yours.

My God is the God of Mother Theresa and Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela. The God of peace and happiness. My God believes in love and life. My God believes in freedom and justice. My God believes in equality and liberty. My God believes in compassion and passion. My God believes in goodness and doing good. My God believes in me and in us. Because, with God on our side, I am because we are.

My God believes in love not war. My God believes in understanding not hatred. My God believes in compassion and not bigotry. My God embraces before he declares war. My God believes in living amongst everyone before he kills anyone. My God is a liberal who cares about others more than what he cares about Himself. My God believes in us and not you.

So…

Stop using Him for your own selfish reasons. You’ve had your time. And now your time has come. My God is not your God. The only God you know is the hatred in your heart and the bigotry of self. And that is not God.

I am taking God back. We are taking God back.

Now go. My God has no place for bigots. God has no place for bigots.

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(Note 1: I know the gaping hole in my argument. I am telling people not to judge but live according to the principle of God and not the bigoted God some are trying to sell them, but at the same time I am judging. Oh well… At least I am judging based on what their own beliefs are saying and if they don’t agree – just don’t call him God because he isn’t the same God as mine.) 

Note 2: Before someone attacks me for referring to God as a “He”. I just didn’t feel like writing Him/Her or He/She the whole bloody time. It’s silly. Argue the bigger point and don’t nit-pick minor details. Just swap the Him for Her and see if it changes anything. I can’t live with a God that is bigot – male or female.)

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I’ve been asked about my “anger” many times. What do you have to be “Angry” about? Why are you the “Angry African”? Why indeed…

I would rather have a good meal. Maybe help my wife prepare the food. Get the table ready. Talk about whether we should have brocolli or peas or carrots to go with the maple syrup chicken and roast potatoes she just made. That’s what I would rather do. Just have a good meal together with my family. Sitting at the table and laughing at the silliness of my daughters. Making funny noises and joking with their mother. Good times. Me, my family and a good meal. I would rather have a good meal. No need for anger here.

But how can I? How can I just have a meal when I know that somewhere out there in Zambia is a family arguing about how they divide the last of the nsima. Maybe this will be the last meal they share together. Because tomorrow brings no food and no hope. Maybe tomorrow the kids will have to go down to the charity handing out food and slip some away for ma and pa back home. But will grandma make it? Can she wait another 24 hours before she gets a little something to eat. No laughing or poking of fun. Not when the bones on their bodies are poking hard at their skin. How can there be no anger?

I would rather watch telly. Just vegetate and do nothing. Stare blankly at the screen. Flip channels because I can’t decide between CSI Miami or Kitchen Nightmares. Or maybe I should watch that Bond movie I taped? Or watch Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King again? Yeah. That’s what I want to do. Just stare at the telly and think of nothing. No anger here.

But how can I? How can I stare at the telly when tonight someone might be staring at the barrel of a gun somewhere in the Congo? No channels for them to watch. Maybe tonight will be the last time they see anything. I can change the channel but they can’t change their lives. I can play with the remote but they are here. Waiting for me to think of them. Always hiding somewhere in my conscious. Waiting to flip the channel of my brain to their station. No static. Just their lives waiting to be changed while they live a reality life. How can there be no anger?

I would much rather read a good book. Maybe just finish one of the many I am reading right now. Should I go with Mao and his killing or read about hope through the eyes of Obama? Maybe just get away from all that stuff and laugh at Bill Bryson telling me about A Short History of Nearly Everything. Aah. That what I want to do. Just read my book and let my mind slip away for a little bit. No anger here.

But how can I? How can I read a book when tomorrow the children will go and work those cocoa fields? The pages they flip are the pages of their life going past. One empty page after the other. Or maybe it is a horror. The horror of their lives. Living a Stephen King life larger than even he can imagine. But maybe some khat will help numb the pain. At least it will take away the glint in their eyes. And the empty pages of their life can be seen in their empty stares. How can there be no anger?

I would much rather play with my kids. Play outside like the crazy gang we are. Wild splashing we call swimming down at the lake. And go down that snowy hill when winter comes. Just me and my girls. Crazy, crazy, crazy. All I want is to hear their laughing and more laughing at their silly dad. Egging them on. Come on! You can do it girl! That’s what I would much rather want. Me and my crazy girls. Having fun. No anger here.

But how can I? When the other kids are running away from the warlord down the road. Playing dodgeball with the bullets. Not a sound of joy and belly laughs to be heard coming from their mouths. Just cries of pain as the bullets hit. Lucky if it misses. Dodge, dodge, dodge. That the games they play in the Congo. How can there be no anger?

I would must rather lie next to my wife. Falling asleep and hearing her breathe next to me. I can feel the stress of the day just slip away. Here is where I belong. Always telling her how much I love her. I can never say it too much or too often. And I run home because that is where I want to be. Just there next to her. My lovely wife. The one who gives me meaning. No anger here.

But how can I? When the women in Africa have to walk miles and miles just to get a drop of water for their homes. Every day. Down to the river and back. In the rush forgetting to boil it clean. And they see their families die around them. From a simple thing like drinking dirty water. How can I look at my wife and not see those women carry Africa on their backs being beaten and beaten and beaten. Day in and day out. Rape and murder. That’s what lies next to them at night. Death and destruction giving them meaning. How can there be no anger?

I would much rather just go on holiday. Maybe take a trip to Europe and visit those fancy French. Some cheese and red wine. Aah, that’s the life. Or laugh and point at Mickey and Minnie down at Disney. Maybe get away for just a week or two and visit my friend back home. Another trip to Bucks County would be nice. Just me and my three girls. Hanging out in New Hope for a drink and maybe a small piece of memory for the mantle. No anger here.

But how can I? When the only break my people get is another trade deal that fails. Or another empty promise for those dying of aids or malaria. Or the breaking of another leg as the torture continues in countries down South and East. But also here in the North and West. Broken promises to go with their broken lives. How can there be no anger?

I really just want to hang with my friends. Or drink a coffee by myself. Sip by sip. A braai and a good old fire. Learn to play the guitar like I’ve always wanted. Or write that bloody book that’s been bugging me for years. Save some money and retire early. Go for a drive in my car to watch the leaves go all rainbow in fall. The good things. That’s all I ever really want to do. Take it easy and stay easy. A smile, a laugh and good times.

I don’t want anger. I hate anger. It’s not nice. And it is not me.

Why am I angry?

I know happiness. I know what it is. I have it. Oh boy, do I have it. But I can’t enjoy it. At least not the way I want to enjoy it… Fully. I want to give myself totally to happiness. I want to live my happy days by throwing myself at it. Just living it 24/7.

That’s what pisses me off. That I can’t just enjoy life because of bigots. Because of liberty for some. Equality for those who can afford it. Freedom for those who were born free. Justice for those at the top.

I am angry because I can’t enjoy my life thanks to oppression of others. My right to have a fun time is shot to hell because of the rights of others being shot to hell. Bullet by bullet. Every warlord pisses me off because they remind me of what I am missing because of them. They are taking away my happiness because they are taking away the happiness of others.

I am angry because my friends and people I don’t even know can’t just love who they want. I love my wife. I love my wife. But the more I love her the more I am reminded of those who can’t love the way we love. That their love is somehow less meaningful than our love. I am pissed at bigots taking away happiness because they are taking away the rights of others.

I am pissed and angry for purely selfish reasons. I don’t want to fight for the rights of kids to have a shot at a life. I don’t want to fight for justice in the world trade and aid system. I don’t want to fight for the freedom of African women. I don’t want to fight for the equality of my gay friends who want to get married. I don’t want to fight for the liberty of the slaves working the sweatshops or farms in China or Africa. I don’t want to do all this crap. I want nothing to do with any of this.

I. Do. Not. Want. To. Do. This.

I just want to sit back and enjoy my life. Just me, my girls and my friends. Happy times. Good times.

But I can’t. And that is what pisses me off. That is what makes me angry. That is what makes me the Angry African.

I can only go do nothing when there is nothing to be done. When others can afford to do nothing. When everyone has a shot. You bloody people. With your rights and freedoms and liberty and equality and justice. Just have it already.

Fuck. Dammit. And everything and anything else that go with that.

I am because we are. Ubuntu.

I can only stop caring about what to watch on telly when there is nothing to care about. I can only be happy watching my kids go crazy when you have a shot at happiness. I can only have the liberty to drink my coffee sip after slow sip when you have liberty. I can only have my braai in peace when you have peace. I can only be the equal of my wife when we all are equal. I can only have justice when you have justice.  My freedom is your freedom…

I can only be free when you are free.

I can only be me when you can be you.

Until then… I am the Angry African.

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We won and we lost. Obama winning helped to put one piece of injustice to sleep. But injustice is still with us. Discrimination is still lurking in the laws. Liberty is still for the select few. Freedom is still not for all of us. Equality still hunts us down like we were on cotton plantations.

Because “they” are still not allowed to get married. “They” are still held as second class citizens. Tell me? Who the hell are “they”?

Bullshit. Bullshit I tell you.

It’s like playing that whack-the-mole game. You hit one piece of bigotry on the head and another one pops up. Whack! Whack! Whack! It never stops. But unlike the game, we can’t pull the plug on bigotry. Their batteries get charged by their own hatred.

Look. I am REALLY getting sick and tired of this. There is no “they”.

There. Is. No. They.

There is only us. “They” are you who are bigots. The only people who are “they” are those who preach hatred. Hatred for gays, hatred for Africans, hatred for African-Americans, hatred for rednecks, hatred for Jews, hatred for Muslims, hatred for Christians, hatred for… and more hatred and more hatred and more hatred.

You! Yes you! Bigot! That one who hates gays. Or who doesn’t want “them” to have the same rights as everyone else. All that separates you from burning “them” on a cross is some wood and matches. All that separates you from strapping a bomb to your chest and blowing them up is a book in your hand and a different language. Bigotry is bigotry. Hatred is hatred. It’s only the degrees that differ.

You think you are so different from those who kill innocent people elsewhere in the name of a jihad? You think you are so different from those policemen who killed Biko? You think you are so different from the Christians who murdered during the Crusade? You think you are so different from those who flew those planes? You think you are so different from those who kept slaves on the plantations? Who burned people at stakes? You think you are better than a Hutu or a Tutsi? You think you are better than the priests leading Jesus to the cross?

You are not. You are no better. You are separated only by the degrees of action. You speak the same language. You spew the same hatred. You can cloak it in nice words. But so did Hitler. So did Pontius Pilot. So did PW Botha. So did Mao. So did Stalin. So did everyone who believed they were better than “the others”.

You are no better than those who killed and murdered. You are them. Separated by a small degree of heat. A small step. One action separates you. Just one. They are your brothers. Your keepers. In thought and prayer.

Don’t ever call me straight. I am not straight. I am me. Who I sleep with and who I love has nothing to do with you. It has nothing to do with my bad fashion sense. It has nothing to do with my anger. It has nothing to do with defining who I am inside.

I have no choice about who I am. I am because we are. I have no choice about being straight. I have no choice about being gay. I am just me. Like the color of my skin is not my choice. And my gender is not my choice. Or where I was born was not my choice. It is who I am. We should not be defined by these parts of who we are. We should be defined by our love and compassion for others and for ourselves.

Hell, if I had a choice I would not have chosen to be a pale heterosexual male. Except for the fact that it helped me find the love of my life it is nothing to be proud of. It is nothing special. In fact, I don’t like many of those who look like me. Hitler, Bush, Stalin, Verwoerd – all white males proclaiming to be straight. Too many bigots wear the same “clothes”.

I don’t ever want to be defined as heterosexual. I don’t. Because I am not. I am just a person who met another person and who loves. It could have been anyone. It just happened to be someone from the opposite gender. I didn’t make the choice to love her. It just happened.

That’s all I want the world to have. Just to feel the same love I feel. I don’t care who you are. Jew, Christian, gay, Muslim, straight, male, female, black, white, Chinese, Russian. I don’t care.

I. Don’t. Care.

All I want is “us” to all feel love. And see a better future together. As us. Not as “them” and “us”. There is only us in this world. All of us.

There is no such thing as a “gay issue”. Any injustice is my issue. Our injustice. Any limitation on freedom is a limitation of my freedom. Our freedom. Any inequality takes away my equality. Our equality. Any time the liberty of others are restricted then my liberty is restricted. Our liberty. Any place love is threatened my love is threatened. Our love. There can be no “others”. There can be no “gay issue”. There is only my issues. And our issues. We all have freedom, liberty, equality, justice, life, love and opportunity. Or I have none. I am not gay. But I am gay. 

I am the “gay issue”. We are the “gay issue”.

Because… I am because we are.

All of us. I am us. I am the “we”.

We will not fail each other. Because there is no gay issue. There is only an us issue.

 

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A few other posts of mine looking at the “gay issue”:

The “gay problem” or The Idiot’s Guide to Bigotry

The Gay Agenda

And one more thing

How to solve the “gay marriage problem”

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A friend of mine just passed me this link to something Keith Olbermann had to say on gay marriages. I missed it completely as I don’t watch enough telly. But it seems as if Keith and myself have more in common than what I thought. Go watch what he had to say. It is long. But it is worth it. His questions are very similar to mine. Just more eloquently put…

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