Christmas – A continuation
December 21, 2010 3 Comments
(To keep with the theme that KC has started, I decided to relive a few experiences I have had abroad concerning the PC-loathed celebration of the birth of Christ.)
It was the end of the year in Iraq and some of the management had been informed that we had to attend a regional logistics conference in Dubai concerning everything from logistics flow of spare parts for vehicle repair functions to the operational capacity of the perishables warehouses from Baghdad to Mosul, with myself representing the southwest region, primarily Taji. Not to say that I would have minded being in Iraq during Christmas, as the trees were up in the DEFACs and decorations were all over our offices (bite it, gubment requirements for contractors!) but to be able to just get out of theatre for a couple of days was a WELCOME respite from the day-to-day. After packing up a go bag we processed out to Baghdad International, boarded a plane, and took off to Dubai.
When we disembarked the flight the first thing I noticed was the red and green decorations… as they were EVERYWHERE. Mistletoe was tastefully hung about, poinsettias lined the decorative planters, and holiday jingles were being broadcast softly from the concealed speakers. If I remember correctly they even had a Santa’s Village scene set up, complete with that stupid train and maniacal elf mannequins. Meh I thought, maybe this was put in place to calm the international travelers as they entered the gateway to Arab land or something, so all of this I instantly disregarded and moved on.
After passport control and gathering our luggage we located our escort and boarded the bus that was to take us to our hotel, and what was on the radio? Christmas carols, and our driver was Turkish! Once again I saw this as a token way to make us comfortable, and settled in for the pure insanity that is driving in the Mid East. An aside – those of us that have been out there know EXACTLY what I am talking about concerning the driving; those people ALL drive as if their lives depended on it, and if you yourself do not drive the same way you could be the center of a potential 90 car pile-up. Thing is, this time down the freeway I saw… dare I say it… MORE Christmas decorations hanging from the street lights.
Alright, this is getting ridiculous I thought. We are in a country that is part of the Arab League, neighbors to the country that is the home of Al-Jazeera, one of the most caustic news groups concerning both the West and Israel, and overall frowns on the erection of any other place of worship in their country other than a mosque… and here they are OPENLY displaying all of the tokens and trinkets associated with the Western celebration of the birth of the Christ child. I know, the Koran sees Jesus as a prophet and all, but this was different. This was that holiday as we celebrate it back home, with the tassels, colored glass bulb decorations, and friggin fake PINE trees all over the place. The hotel we went to had a banner up at the front that declared the time being of greetings of the season AND a Christmas to be merry about! Who gives two shits if it was a marketing ploy or what, there was still visible evidence that the holiday was recognized, and that was enough for me.
Christmas had come to Dubai, and I was thankful.
You see, they were not fearful of some idiot that had a fucked up Yuletide when he/she was young (“Where is my PRETTY IN PINK BARBIE MOTHER!!!” YOU RUINED THIS FOR ME!!!”) complaining, and they were not worried about a governmental agency having heads explode because of POTENTIAL or INFERRED offense.
It was the Christmas Season and they had responded accordingly.
Pretty bad when Arabs are allowed to do it up right, more so than ourselves.
Merry Christmas everyone. This includes the Muslim, Jew, Buddhist and Zoroastrian; the Hindi and the Atheist.
Merry Christmas to all.