Thursday, December 10, 2009

What Really Matters, pt. IV [Silent Night]

¡Hola! Everybody...
This year has a lazy blog year for me. I remember I used to write new blog every day. I will be gone all day...

The following story seriously questions the assumption that the masses are merely stupid sheep easily led to the violent slaughter -- the marginalized of the margin of profit.

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-=[ Silent Night ]=-

As everyone who makes the effort to wade through my tortured prose already knows, I love stories. I come from a long line of storytellers (no smart remarks. LOL!). In bygone eras, the responsibility of storytelling fell upon the shoulders of those we loved -- those who had our interests at heart. Today, our stories are told by highly paid, hair-sprayed teleprompt readers following the dictates of their corporate masters. They are otherwise known as journalists, TV news reporters, movie and video directors, etc.

Believe me, they don’t give a damn about you or me, nor the “truth” (whatever that is). Their God is the bottom line -- the margin of profit. Just between you and me, the vast majority of people in the good ole USA did not kill someone, set fire to their children, committed a series of rapes, or slapped his or her wife or husband. Most of us didn’t even trample someone else in a mad rush to buy a video game. While crime stats decrease, the news reporting on crime increases. I once got in trouble at my job for suggesting that we set a bare-breasted woman on fire if we wanted to garner media attention for affordable housing. If it bleeds, it leads, as the dictum goes.

The fact of the matter is that our world – our reality – has very little resemblance to the noise we see on the Idiot Box. Nevertheless, we buy into it. Yes “we” -- that means you too. It means that your children, or the children of your community, are buying into whatever the media is selling these days. The message is most often violent sex mixed with a message to consume: buy! buy! buy! It’s funny how conservatives are so repressed about the human body, but fail to see the obscenity in the brainwashing (and medicating) of our youth to convert them into mindless consumers. This is the God of the newer, improved Christianity. It’s Corporate Christianity and will solve all the world’s problems as soon as we take all other leaders, shoot them in public (preferably during prime time, EST), and convert them.

So, today, I will tell the story and I hope that you, in turn, tell the story to someone else. Maybe, just maybe, we can convince our children to sit at the table, hear, and tell our stories just once – just for today. I guarantee you our stories are infinitely more interesting than anything on “reality” TV. I'm sayin’, am I the only one that sees the irony in the phrase? Reality TV?!!

Here’s my story... it is true (it’s yours too)...

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What we preserve in the larger human story determines what we believe is possible in the world.

On Christmas Eve in 1914, two lines of homesick soldiers, one British, one German, were dug into the trenches on the Western Front in the middle of World War I. Now, you have to understand that WWI was considered the “war to end all wars.” It was one of the vicious wars because in those days, you had to look your enemy in the eye as you stabbed or shot him. You were as likely to die from starvation, exposure, and disease as you were at the hands of the enemy. So, there are these two lines and between them was a fire zone called no-man’s land. On this moonlit, snowy night in a God-forsaken frozen landscape, the Germans lifted army issued Christmas trees sparkling with tiny candles over the edge of their trenches and set them in plain sight.

The British shouted and cheered with delight. The Germans began to sing “Stille Nacht… ”and the British began to sing along with “Silent Night.” This encouraged the Germans and they set down their guns in the moonlight and heaved themselves from their trenches carrying candles, cake, and cigars toward their enemies. The British responded in kind, carrying steamed pudding and cigarettes.

These men met in the middle of the forbidden zone, exchanged gifts, sang carols, and played soccer. This seemingly spontaneous truce eventually extended for hundreds of miles among thousands of soldiers. The really funny thing was, having seen each other’s humanity, they could no longer shoot each other…

The war essentially stopped.

Horrified, commanders on both sides had to transfer thousands of men to new positions until the enemy became faceless again, something killable, not a brother -- not a human being.

Almost a hundred years later, scholars are still studying this event, reading soldier’s journals and letters that refer to it, seeking to understand “the breakdown of the military mindset,” or seeking to understand how a spontaneous peace movement could spread even in the cold heart of war.

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And that’s my story. You will hear countless other stories today. Very likely stories of death and unspeakable cruelty. You will no doubt hear stories justifying, in the name of global economics or war, the starvation and killing of innocent men, women, and children. You will hear much talk of “just” and “unjust” wars... You will see or read approximately 80,000 messages today with the agenda to get you to buy something -- most of this will fly under the radar of your awareness. But if you remember anything, remember this story because it is true and it speaks to who we really are and the essence of what it means to be a human being.



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