Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “Happy Holidays”

A Meaningful Christmas

I will never forget Band Aid, an initiative of British and Irish (and later US) music artists who came together to form the ultimate supergroup in 1984. Best of all for me, it was founded on the energy of bad boy Bob Geldof, lead singer of the Boomtown Rats, to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia by releasing the record “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” for the Christmas market that year.

Geldof became infamous for swearing on stage whenever the rate of donations began to drop. Phil Collins performed first on stage at the UK concert and then boarded a Concord plane, flew to New York, and played there. Okay, it was cool at the time to an idealistic 20-year-old (and passionate Genesis fan).  

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” surpassed the hopes of the producers to become the Christmas number one on that release. Two subsequent re-recordings of the song to raise further money for charity also topped the charts.

– the live version.

– the recording

Here are all the artists wishing you a Happy New Year – back at you people. It was an amazing moment when people of privilege and fame made a stand. 

The struggle still goes on, the hunger and poverty a shame on humanity. But to return to my Jewish roots: “It is not for us to finish the task, but neither are we free to desist from it.

Happy Holidays to all humanity.

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Alon Shalev is the author of the 2013 Eric Hoffer YA Book Award winner, At The Walls of GalbriethThe First Decree, and Ashbar – Wycaan Master Book 3 – all released by Tourmaline Books. Shalev is also the author of three social justice-themed novels including Unwanted Heroes. He swears there is a connection. More at http://www.alonshalev.com and on Twitter (@elfwriter). Hang out with Alon on Google+

Love Actually – Roger Ingalls

Christmas is a crazy stressful punctuation to the close of a year. Like most, I turn more and more cynical with each passing holiday season. It’s truly a high pressure economic season spun, puffed and sold as a religious event. But…if you look closely, there does seem to be light shining from the hearts of many.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Christmas chores, my wife arm-twisted me into watching one of those sappy holiday chic-flicks, Love Actually.

The opening dialogue by the leading man, Hugh Grant, really stuck in my head. So much so that I had to go online to find the text:

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion… love actually is all around.”

(picture from fanpop.com)

(picture from fanpop.com)

As a blogging activist, the natural tendency is to focus on the world’s wrongs while putting the good in the back pocket. The more I thought about the opening lines in Love Actually, the more I realized that there is a lot of kindness amongst us. Within the past week I’ve seen a policeman roll down his patrol car window to hand a dollar bill to a guy holding a cardboard sign on a corner, a middle-eastern woman take a white homeless-looking kid hanging around the front door of McDonalds inside for a meal, and I a saw a young girl let go of her mother’s hand to run back to a store’s door in an attempt to hold it open for a handicapped elder.

If you look, love is actually all around us. I guess it is my holiday duty to keep a happy heart for, at least, another week or so. And I must thank my wife for making me watch that sappy Christmas love story. Actually, it was a pretty good movie.

Happy Holidays.

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