…on Christmas and ScroogeYour Eyewitness takes his hat off to Charles Dickens, who – even though he wrote his novels in the mid-nineteenth century – still speak to us in Guyana with immediacy. It’s not coincidental that Karl Marx was writing about the same phenomena of poor and the powerless – in somewhat less riveting prose! Every year around this time of the year, your Eyewitness returns to the Dickensian classic, “A Christmas Carol”.And no, you young whippersnappers, it’s not about belting out “Deck the halls with boughs of holly!!” It was a time when the grungy English Industrial Revolution was at its apex, and making money (and more money!) was the mantra of the day. In other words, not much different from today; in the developed countries at least – where the top one per cent own 90 per cent of the wealth!Here in Guyana, there isn’t really enough wealth in our top one per cent to appreciate what real income equality’s all about. Let’s just remind you that Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, saw his wealth increase by US$27.6 billion between 2016 to 2017 to over US$100 billion!! To give you an idea of what that means, Guyana’s ENTIRE GDP in 2016 was US$3.5 billion!! That’s right – he earned in one year more than eight times what the entire Guyana produced that year!! But since everything’s relative – especially deprivation – our disparities are still as stark, aren’t they?So, back to Scrooge and his still-relevant story. Even if you don’t know the story, dear reader, surely you recognise the name “Scrooge” being synonymous with “mean and selfish” from the movie that’s been gracing your TV screen all week! The money-lender Scrooge, was so tight-fisted on those rare occasions when he took a five pound note out of his wallet, the Queen blinked!! To make you understand, he was so mean he wouldn’t have minded throwing five thousand workers into the streets if it meant making a few bucks more profits. “Profits over people” was his mantra!!Anyhow, he had a dream one night on Christmas and is visited by his dead partner, who’d been as mean as he was and who tells him he’d be visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. “Christmas Past” takes Scrooge to see his young self – suffering and lonely at the hands of a cruel father and the death of his beloved sister. Christmas Present shows folks all over London having a good time with their families, even under the most dire circumstances. Christmas Future shows him dying a miserably, unmourned and lonely death.Scrooge, wakes up, wises up and changes his ways. Will our Scrooges, piss poor only yesterday, change their ways?…on Christmas giftsYour Eyewitness isn’t too big on all this gift giving and all that jazz. It’s not that he’s a Scrooge or anything like that (he hopes!!) but he just has this thing about the over commercialisation of what he sees as ought to be a close family affair. It’s just TOO over the top for him. Christmas has joined all the other manufactured “Days” – “Mother’s Day”, “Father’s Day”, “Valentine’s Day”, “Teachers’ Appreciation Day” etc…etc…etc when you’re forced to PROVE your love by buying a gift!Your Eyewitness prefers to show his appreciation of significant others by sitting down with them and breaking bread. What can beat enjoying a meal together, with good conversation and possibly some good Vino or beer? It doesn’t matter what the food is…It doesn’t have to be a suckling pig or a fatted calf. The warmth and joy of being together with those you love will make even thin gruel, taste like New England Clam chowder!Salute to all this Christmas!!…on what might’ve beenYour Eyewitness promised himself he wouldn’t haul the usual suspects over the coals this Christmas Day – even the leaders of the AFC.“De mortuis nil, nisi bonnum” – of the dead one should only speak good!!
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