Christmas spirit

For most of us, Christmas means being with the family, around a festive table with as many decorations as one is able to afford, a sense of peace and a break from the daily struggle for survival, from routine. Christmas is one of those times that is becoming all too rare, but is still wonderful, when our good side prevails and governs our behavior. The spontaneous seasonal desire for close contact with other people also prompts us to think about the people beyond our narrow circle of family and friends. We have an increased sensitivity that allows us to remember those who are less fortunate than ourselves, those who are on the fringes of society, struggling to earn their place in the sun, and those for whom paradise on earth is just across the border in a richer country. The tragic number of men, women and children who have fallen victim to this agonized search for a better future as illegal immigrants, led by human traffickers, reminds all of us in the most painful way of the failings of our societies. It goes without saying that care of the weaker sectors of society should be the concern of both the State and its citizens, that pockets of poverty, a lack of human warmth and social indifference should be fought against continually if we want to boast about progress and development in our society. But the truth is that although thoughts like these fill the hearts and minds of many ordinary people at this time of year, it is extremely doubtful if the same applies to the powers that be. Tucked away in chic ski resorts – preferably abroad – or dancing the night away at gala receptions where they cultivate and strengthen their connections, they spare no thought for scenes of human misery that might strike a sensitive chord in them. To be more precise, it has been some time since they have had any idea of what most people go through every day and have a tendency to present their own world of excess as a kind of virtual reality for the whole country. They live in a world apart, where even in the Christmas season relationships are governed by vested interests and uncertainty – particularly now that a «new situation» is being determined. In the world inhabited by the rest of us, at least at Christmas the overriding feelings are those of the kindness, peace and solidarity that give us a sense of our humanity – something that is becoming rarer and rarer nowadays, where the emphasis is on the «I» rather than the «we.»