A Honduran’s Christmas: Then and Now

Christmas – always bring back memories from my childhood, and one of those fondest memories is my father decorating the house while playing Jolly Old St. Nicholas by Ray Caniff’s singers in the background. This memory always makes me nostalgic as those times were simple and innocent, bringing greater pleasure and a lifetime of memories without any fancy presents, but with a great amount love wrapped in just one or two presents that were either an heirloom or something bought a year ago from some sale.

Times have changed now, and those warm feelings that used to come with the lighting of a Christmas tree have vanished in the smoke of hate caused by misunderstandings leaving everyone divided and not able to create that perfect picture of Christmas.

The perfect poetic image of happy memories has been taken over by another poetic image of a sad mother holding her two kids trying to cross over the border from under the smoke, not from the chimney of a fireplace but of tear gas, running away from ICE instead of enjoying making of a snowman with her kids. This image has become a common one these days as the older one was in the early days. After 9/11 and especially since the start of the 2000s, immigration is a subject that the US has been struggling with, as it has been misunderstood and mixed with politics.

Immigration has always been a part of USA humanitarian sections that are purely based on emotions and feelings, but politics is free from all this. I believe that politics is all about keeping things together not about leaving out, but meeting both these ends in today’s chaos has become unbearable. This is because the government is not based on feelings, rather it is based on rational decisions that are in benefit of every resident.

The matter of immigrants can be resolved by being in a rational state of mind but only when the higher authorities are thinking from their own mind and not being a puppet of somebody else’s school of thought.

Issues that are faced by people of Honduras are bigger than we think. They not only need to fight to make their existence felt but also they need to fight to stay alive. They need to keep their selves and family fed and clothed in a place that is covered in ashes and smoke. Even eating meat for a meal once a week or month is luxury. The new Honduran generation asks a question to their family that of whether or not the diet of their fathers was also only beans and tortillas?

Government is made for the people, and it is the right of the people to know why all the chaos is being created in their country. Why are they being kept away from basic needs? Why are their newborns not being provided with incubators? And where is all the money going that is meant to fund for their hospitals and not the president’s sister’s wedding?

This chaos is not a result of only one or two years of corruption, we are talking about decades, and all this won’t change until the old school of thought is changed which happens to be considered ideal. This ideal idol needs to be broken.

Are there any gang members involved in keeping this idol alive? Absolutely, you must be pragmatic about this issue. I have no doubt there are gang members taking advantage not only of the situation but of the people who are traveling along with them. The media on both sides have done a pretty good job on marketing the caravan based on their beliefs, at the end of the day it’s all politics, the humanitarian feelings are left out of this picture.

Social media has also played an important part, although I don’t believe posting political memes continuously helps the cause at all, on the contrary, it does, because when something becomes a routine either it makes you scroll down faster, or it makes you stop and see what exactly is being said. When you watch each and post again and again, it starts to make an impact either towards it or against it, in both cases chaos is helped. Don’t even start with the so-called “civil debates” on Facebook; they do not work, and it ends with a fight.

It’s time to open our eyes and read, yes, read about the laws the constitution. The Clash sang “Know your rights,” which should be done by every individual on their own, not by yelling but by obtaining knowledge of the basic laws that rule this nation.

There’s a picture, of me this time, being less cynical, decorating the house for Christmas while playing Ray Caniff’s old tunes and feeling nostalgic about childhood. Probably thinking how we as a nation escape out of our little self-loathing worlds and decide to make a difference, not only for ourselves but for the people that only want a chance in life. Meanwhile, I came across Willie Nelson’s saying “I think youngsters need to start thinking about what kind of world they are going to leave for Keith Richards and me.”

What will help us recreate the ideal picture of Christmas, is when love is wrapped in gifts, not things.

Photo Credit: Eva Cristescu Flickr via Compfight cc

Stephanie Ortez

Stephanie is a highly caffeinated mother of two wonderful boys. She is hopelessly addicted to non-fiction books and literature that moves her to tears. She is an admissions advisor for George Washington University online where she assists homeschooled students internationally. Stephanie lives with Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. She is a passionate mental health advocate, member of Stigma Fighters. Her writing has been featured on The Elephant Journal, The Mighty, The Organic Coffee Haphazardly and Feminine Collective.

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