Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Twelve Blogs of Christmas (3)

This is the third of what will hopefully be a twelve part series of blogs between now and Christmas based on lyrics to holiday songs. See also: Part One and Part Two.

Part Three: Do They Know It's Christmastime At All?

This song was released in 84 and I think when it was getting extreme radio play (84-86) I was too young to really realize what it was about. It wasn't until recent years when I began to seek out Christmas songs I didn't know that I heard and memorized the lyrics to this one. I'll include them here for anyone else who wants to know the whole song.
It's Christmastime there's no need to be afraid, at Christmastime, we let in light and we banish shade. And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy, throw your arms around the world at Christmastime.

But say a prayer - pray for the other ones.
At Christmastime it's hard, but when you're having fun, there's a world outside your window and it's a world of dread and fear, where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears, and the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom. Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you.

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime, the greatest gift they'll get this year is life. Where nothing ever grows, no rain nor rivers flow, do they know it's Christmastime at all?

Here's to you - raise a glass for everyone.
Here's to them - underneath that burning sun, do they know it's Christmastime at all?

Feed the world. Feed the world. Feed the world.
Let them know it's Christmastime again. Feed the world - Let them know it's Christmastime again.
It's a pretty sad song and it was written to raise money and awareness for the famines plaguing Africa in the mid 80s. As a radio tune it's easy to get carried away in the catchy tune and lost in trying to identify the 80's rockers (Was that Bono? Yes!) but when really searching the lyrics, it sends a pretty powerful message about a forgotten continent and an ignored people.

As I mentioned in Part 2, I've been home sick from work this week. I was in on Monday and made it back today but it's interesting that on Monday morning the top story in the news was a massive earthquake between Congo and Tanzania and there was no mention of it anywhere in the news today. No reports of casualties? No rallies for relief efforts? How is this tragedy any different from the quake that hit Pakistan in October?? For several weeks the media kept us informed and up to date on the situation there and pointed us toward organizations we could support. And yet three days after African children die buried in rubble there's no words to report, no places to offer aid.

It's been suggested that since the quake in Pakistan hit a more densely populated area there was more damage to the infrastructure where as in Africa, not as much aid is needed because the areas hit were mostly small farms and refugee camps and there was not much infrastructure to damage. I don't mean to - in any way - say that the quake in Pakistan was not a situation that deserves our help but I am left with one question: Wouldn't farmers and refugees need help EVEN MORE than city businesses and suburban families?

If anyone knows of any organizations that are providing help to survivors of the quake in Congo give me the heads up. I still don't know why this story disappeared so quickly from the headlines. I'm optimistic to think that it's because the damages weren't that bad rather than to think that it's in a place America isn't concerned about. If there's a way to help, I'll be the first to want to share love in that manner and "let them know it's Christmastime again".

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