WE CAN SEND MONEY AND FOOD TO THE CONFLICT ZONES BUT WE CAN’T STOP THE KILLING WE CAN CHANGE OUR TRAVEL HABITS… AND IT WON’T MAKE MUCH MORE THAN ONE IOTA OF DIFFERENCE
Like the old chestnut it is, Christmas is busy repeating itself for the umpteenth time: the ads for turrons; for perfumes (together with their quasi-daft names: Invictus, Chloé by Chloé, Good Girl Dazzling Garden [?], Musk Is Great [!!!)]); the sad-looking Xmas street displays in every town, city and village; the toys that look as if they were designed by desperately unimaginative people; the home decorations consisting mainly of lights swirling around windows or Santa Clauses pretending to be burglars. And so on.
Meanwhile, Spain has a new government thanks to the support of the Basque and Catalan pro-independence parties, something which has thrown the right-wing state-wide parties into recurrent tantrums, in which they claim that Spanish democracy is dead because the opinions of Spain’s mainly right-wing judges have been ignored in favour of a political solution for the thousands of people who were facing massive fines or jail sentences or accusations of terrorism for having turned schools into polling stations for a referendum which was not yet illegal on October 1st, 2017, or for having sat down on a motorway, or for having invaded the airport in protest against police violence and the imprisonment of half an elected government. A referendum which the right-wing politicians openly – and incorrectly – describe as a coup d’état, while at the same time fifty former members of the Spanish military have issued a demand for a real coup d’état (they, at least, have looked the word up in a dictionary) to oust prime minister Pedro Sánchez.
And meanwhile, of course, the bombs and bullets are raining down on Ukraine and Gaza and Sudan and Somalia and Mali and Yemen and Myanmar and the DRC and Syria.
Not to forget the ever increasing ravages of climate change which promise to turn the planet into a meteorological bedlam by 2035. Oh yes, and the price of olive oil has skyrocketed.
So, what to do? Well, on the face of it or even the arse of it, not much. We can send money and food to the conflict zones but we can’t stop the killing.
We can demonstrate against fossil fuels and recycle stuff and fly less and use more public transport (while trying to avoid the local RENFE network in Catalonia whose use of the word ‘transport’ should be prosecuted under the Catalan Trades Description Act, if such a thing existed, which it doesn’t) but if, as the Guardian assures us, 1% of the human race generates more carbon emissions than 66% of the poorest, then we can change our travel habits and separate plastic from glass and paper until we’re blue in the face and it won’t make much more than one iota of difference.
And as for the aforementioned situation in the Spanish state, there is little we can do but cross our fingers and hope for the best, or the closest thing to it.
In short, when Christmas rolls around, together with its satellites Saint Steven’s Day, New Year’s Eve and the Day of the Kings, perhaps the only thing to be done is to quaff the cava, eat the turkey (or the carn d’olla or the seafood or the vegan casserole or whatever) and swallow the grapes, while keeping the killing and the climate and the dodgy local politics in some mental safehouse, thus still allowing ourselves to have some fun, but without fiddling while other people’s (and maybe our own) homes burn.