Christmas-cide: a phenomenon that regularly kills Christmas every year. And which regularly fails because everyone, each and every one of us, deeply are in deep need of Christmas. The lorry that lights-off, ploughed into the Christmas stalls and into the festive crowd in Berlin, causing deaths and injuries, is Christmas-cide The devastation of Aleppo, so incomprehensible as not to taint anyone’s conscience, whose lament is faintly reported by distracted media, exception made for Avvenire and few news outlets such as ours, is Christmas-cide. The story of Don Pippo, a meek octogenarian pensioner, former street vendor, killed in Sicily by bullies that were lacking, according to the judges, a code of ethics: persecuting a helpless elderly man for months, torturing and finally killing him, just for fun, is Christmas-cide. Christmas-cide is the overbearing success of the post-truth, to which the social media bow down, servants of a phenomenon that is capable of subverting politics, economics, medicine (just think of the incredible issue of vaccines!) and costumes, with real consequences on the lives of people: not true narratives, in fact patently false stories, but which reach out to the “guts” of the people and are experienced as real. As if the brain pulled out the plug of rationality: post-truth is the triumph of emotionality in narcissistic sauce, exalted and magnified by social networks. Ultimately, post-truth is the euthanasia of the truth. Christmas-cide is the short circuit of pathological love that results in stalking and even femicide: every 2-3 days a victim (and many secondary victims: the children of women killed at the hands of their fathers). Christamas-cide is the irresponsible devastation that politics has made of the common good, sacrificed on the bonfire of immediate consensus, of ceaseless fraud and corruption: hence the winners are the arrogant, the strong, the cunning. the exaltation of trendy, disengaged, excessive, lifestyles that degenerate into the drugged, senseless choice to hurt someone at random just to see how it feels, as in the case of the tragic murder of the 23 year-old who fell in the trap of Foffo and Varano. Christmas-cide is the tragic suicide of Tiziana Cantone, deceived and killed by her own superficiality, but also, and especially, by an excessively cruel web. Even after her suicide, instead of letting it be enveloped by a merciful silence, merciless judges killed Tiziana two, three, countless times. Christmas-cide is allowing children – too many children and especially too early – to take alcohol and drugs, including cannabis, which have a devastating effect on the development of immature brains, and thinking of solving the issue by legalizing something. Christmas-cide is the lack of interest for the future of the next generations, as we are clinging to an exaggerated individualism and the need to meet our immediate needs, breaking the cross-generational covenant.
Yet, we cannot do without Christmas
Because Aleppo, and the defenceless people like don Pippo, the social networks, those persecuted by stalkers, the stalkers themselves and various persecutors, the political realm, uncommitted and immoderate fashion-addicts, those who thoughtlessly spread overly private content on the web in exchange for a few likes, children and the next generations, and ultimately, each and every one of us, need Christmas. We need it not to send the depressing chains-letters with technological wishes; nor to feign hypocritical euphoria of formalist do-gooders and gastric smiles. We all need Christmas – believers and non-believers alike – to experience a great truce: as it happened in 1914, when German and British soldiers, on opposite fronts, instead of killing each other, spontaneously decided, without pre-emptive agreement, to stop, cross the trenches, and meet in nobody’s land, to exchange the meagre food they had and some gimcrackery as mutual presents, to celebrate some rites and bury the fallen. And even to play football. It was the great Christmas truce, amidst the scandal of commanders and the threats of punishments.
This is the power of Christmas, to give ourselves respite, in order to nourish the hope of change.
We all need Christmas to build authentic change and recover our humanity. If not, it will be Christmas-cide.