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by Astrid Essed
Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2006 at 11:18 PM
In contrary to the often hypocritical ''Christmas'' approach, The Birth of the Child is no sentimental story about ''A Little Child in a Manger'', but the reality of the exclusion of the poor, persecution by the State and seeking illegal asylum in a foreign country
That's the reason, this Story is based on respect towards any human being, regardless descent or committed crime
With this Chistmas-message, I want to wish you very Good and Merry Christmas-days
Christmas, the Birth of the Child, is based on the utterance of respect and humanity towards our fellow-human being, regardless of descent, political conviction or committed crime
Treating the other the way we want to be treated
For religious people this is based on belief
For non-religious people I think a bery good basis is the international human rights treaties like for example the Geneva Conventions, the Anti-Torture Treaty, the Refugee-Treaty, the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the Conventions on the Rights of the Child
Christmas is mostly celebrated in a sphere of hypocrisy and dinnerparties
To break through this, with my ''Christmas-message'' I have tried to go to the inner meaning of ''Christmas''
Wishing you again Good Christmas days and the best wishes for you personal in 2007 and in general a continiation of the struggle against injustice, human rights violations and the unequal powerrelations in the world
Let the struggle go on!
No place in the Inn, asylum in Egypt
''"And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn."
This story is as old as the world
It gives a vivid description of a poor Jewish couple, which has to travel to their birth-place, on the command
of the Roman occupier, which wanted a registration of every inhabitant in Judea [the present Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories]
Probably for a fiscal administration-system or out of ''security-measures''
Also a phenomenon of all times, which in the most cases is being used by governments, which are either using controversial police and ''Intelligence'' measures in their own country, or are occupying other countries, using the meaures as a form of repression
In this case, Judea had been occupied by the Romans
Also in those days the basic human rights of poor people were being violated
For them ''there was no place in the Inn''
The same story is also told in our days
For example I remember vividly the half frozen Chinese mother in the Northern part of the Netherlands, who was hiding with her 7 young children in december 2005 for the bitter cold at a bus-stop
When the police found them, they had hardly anything to eat
Expelled from the asylum-centre with a one way ticket to one of the Dutch deportation-centres
She had to leave the country immediately, this woman, who came to the Netherlands, probably being persecuted and in each case searching for a better life for herself and her children
A helpless woman in a foreign country, who could hardly read the letter the asylumcentre had handed her over and didn't know how to travel in the Netherlands
Those events should make people ''proud'' for being a part of ''Dutch democracy''
According to the strict articles of the Dutch immigration Law [which is by the way a violation of International Law, although the government will deny], the rules were not violated
Undoubtedly this was also the same case concerning the Roman occupation-law in Judea
However, the rules as such were not only inhuman and in the Dutch case also a violation of International Law, although the Dutch givernment will deny
So Mary was on her way to Bethlemen, on a donkey, in her last pregnancy-period
What a harsh and painful journey
Referring to this, I remember also the constant flow of African refugees, trying to reach Europe with only the clothes on their body, who often drown for the Spanish coast
The European government leaders barely have any interest in this group desperate people, considering their death as ''collateral damage''
That's the nowaday European ''human attitude'', which is a true utterance of 'Western civilisation''
This is the way rightlesspeople without papers are being treated
Coming to their place of birth there is no place for them to rest
The mother can find no place for the deliverance of her baby
The inkeeper, showing compassion, offer a restroom in a cold stable
Rethinking this story, the comparison can easily be made with the pregnant Palestinian women, who are not permitted to pass a checkpoint and are obliged to deliver their babies on the ground, with all medical risks for mother and child involved
''because there was no place for them in the inn."
Yes, injustice is universal
Therefore it is incomprehensible to me, that a thus horrible and also great story as Christmas is being made to a sentimental child-story of a ''Baby in a manger''
Anybody, who have ever entered a stable, knows how cold it is and how difficult it will be to deliver a baby, between the filthy smell of all sorts of animals, witb only the assistance of a husband
Great, horrible and amazing, but not ''sweet'' and ''sentimenal''
Asylum in Egypt:
But the suffering of the Family was not ended yet
Between a short period of time, the Family had to flee for their lives to Egypt, because the persecution of the newborn Child, by the State
Also in those days the rulers believed in the principle of ''collective punishment'' and massslaughters, since the Jewish King Herod, who was a puppet of the Roman occupator, had no moral problems at all, killing all newborn babies from Bethlemen to prevent the escape of the Child
Return to Judea was only possible after the death of King Herod
How many refugees and asylum-seekers are being deported in this timde, while their persecutors are still in power?
Are deported to countries and areas, which are at war?
According the International Law that is forbidden, but it is happening anyway
Being expelled mostly by leaders of the European ''christian'' democratic parties, who sing sentimentally about the ''Child in the Manger'', but anyway are expelling almost frozen mothers and barefoot children
Sending them back to the King Herods of the world
The Child, growing to Manhood, knew, because He Himself had faced the hell on Earth
The violation of the rights of poor people
The hypocrisy of ''religious'' rulers, who were collaborating with the occupation-power
The system that neglected poor people ''for who was no place in the Inn''
He knew of the illegal asylum of His Family in Egypt, also occupied by the Romans
This Child is being daily symbolised in the children of asylumseekers in the Netherlands and Europe, who are without any rights
Who live in the insecurity of being deported
Who can be arrested and closed into a jail, despite the fact, that they are children and their parents didn't commit a crime
This Child, knowing this, called on people to give your fellow human being the same respect and humanity, as you would receive and giving your ''enemies'' a humane treatment
The meaning of Christmas:
Christmas is celebrating the Birth of this excluded, expelled and persecuted Child, that refused to accept the inhumanity regarding rightless people and the ''enemies''
Who called on people, to open the doors of respect and humanity concerning everyone, regardless descent, social status or committed crime
I think therefore, that the best way to celebrate Christmas is to remember the inhumanity of occupations over thd sworld, whethdr the Israeli of the Palestinian territories, the American in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Morroccon in the Western Sahara, the Chinese in Tibet, the British in Northern Ireland, etc, etc
To visit the detention-boats for ''illegal'' migrants in Rotterdam [in Dutch ''bajesboten''] condemning the human rights violations as detention without a limit, putting 6 ''prisoners'' in one small cell and the bad medical treatment
And especially emphasize on the fact, that those people are being detained without committing a crime
Or signing a petition against detention-centres for ''illegal'' migrants
Another possibility is to visit the highly secured prison, located [although renewed] at the former German concentration-camp Vught
This prison is destined for dangerous criminals from the Dutch high criminal section and for terrorsuspects and convicted
Among else members of the so-called Hofstadgroup and the socalled group of Samir A are held in this prison
Although it is understandable that there are high level security measures, especially for the first group, human rights violations are not permitted
So the prisoners are constantly cuffed or blindfolded,, when led outside, contact with other prisoners is limited and there are no recreation and laborrights, which is a fundamental right of prisoners
Also the prisoners are not allowed to touch their visitors, except giving a hand, with as a consequence, that a man isn't able to kiss his wife or a father to kiss his children
Also it has been denied to a serious criminal to touch his old mother for the last time
I think, that is inhuman and also the Europan Court of Human Rights has condemned this prison regime
Also Mohammed B, who had killed Mr van Gogh dd 2-11-2004, is being held since his conviction in 2005 in total isolation from other prisoners, which is not only inhuman, but a violation of International Law
Yes, it is important to pay a visit to this prison, giving those people a sign of humanity
Of course I don't defend the serious committed crimes, but thd RIGHT of any human being to a humane treatment, regardless the committed
Only when people can give a sign of humanity to those people, who were convicted by politics and society, long before their actual verdict, the real Message of Christmas will get real meaning
Peace on Earth
Peace is not just the absence of an armed conflict
To me, peace is starting with humanity and respect for everyone, regardless the person and the committment with human rights and equal economic relations in the world
And a humane asylumpolicy
A wise man once has said, that civilisation of a country is to bd measured to the way of treatment of the ''enemies'
According to me, that's the best description of the Christmas-thought
Readers and Editor, I wish you Good, Merry and Blessed Christmas days and the best wishes for 2007
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