No Room at the Inn this Christmas


Well it’s that time again. It’s the day before the day before Christmas Eve and every diaspora is on the move, like Mary and Joseph of old, back to the homeland. I’ll spend the day packing and doing a bit of hectic last minute shopping and gift deliveries (and pet deliveries) before setting off across the sea to Scotland. Once everything is at last packed up and locked up it will be a breeze getting from here to there. The roads to Belfast will be clear and the crew on the ferry will do all the work as I park my rump at the on-board bar for a snifter or three before disembarkation at Loch Ryan. Earlier in the year, with an out-of-date passport, it was just as easy for me to get from Dublin to Brussels. There’s never a problem when you’re white and European.

As predicted, there is nothing in the news of the human tragedy over the water from Dover. The entire media establishment has conspired once again to guarantee us a peaceful and joyful Christmas with all the trimmings by ignoring the suffering of thousands. Maybe ignoring horrible realities for Christmas is useful when those realities are far off and when there is nothing we can do, but that wasn’t the case in 1984 when Geldof and friends were singing for starving children in Africa. Now that the disaster is right on our doorstep there are no songs and no news reports. We’ll have peace on earth even if it kills them.

I can’t help but wonder if whoever calls the shots is hoping that the Christmas break will make us all forget the families sleeping out in the open at Calais, and that, when in the New Year we get back to work, they will have all somehow gone away or drowned in the Channel. Either way I really don’t think that the political or media decision-makers give rat’s arse. Well, that’s not entirely true to be fair. They are people who care; they cared deeply enough about Christmas that they made it all about the money and the endless line of pointless stuff we have to buy one another to show we care. They care about the bottom line, and those people over the other side of the water are no good for their bottom line.


I did find one news story about the refugees, however, in yesterday’s Express. Marking the festive season with a printed sprig of holly – which in November is a bloody poppy – the headline reads: “Shocking moment migrant armed with hammer ATTACKED lorry driver at Calais riot.” Not the mothers and children out in the cold, not the elderly, not the disabled, but the one single youth who lost his cool with the hunger, the cold, and the frustration. Not even in the last week before Christmas is there the slightest bit of compassion from the English press; not the most meagre morsel of goodwill towards men, just more fear and victim blaming – and they are still calling them “migrants.” For shame.


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