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No hope left to celebrate Christmas

At a time when people remain oppressed and millions remain hungry, I find it unfitting for me to “celebrate” anything, let alone Christmas!

Octavia Nasr

Published: Updated:

There was a time in my life when Christmas meant a lot more than a religious holiday. As a child, I used to spend hours staring at the elaborate ornaments on my parents’ Christmas tree. I used to dream of belonging to a faraway land, pure, happy, and loving. A land where poverty is abolished by good-spirited humans and disease is eradicated by scientific advancement. I used to dream of a land where no one was poor or homeless or cold. Orphans were privileged in different ways; rich and poor were equal in their humanity. In my dream world - the special Christmas version - life was beautiful and wonderful.

Christmas was never about presents; we did not get any that I remember. It was about the symbolic tree, but primarily, Christmas was about family getting together, my mom cooking up a storm and feeding the masses of celebrant family and friends just happy to be together, alive, healthy. Those memories are the mere definition of a Merry Christmas.

At a time when people remain oppressed and millions remain hungry, I find it unfitting for me to “celebrate” anything, let alone Christmas!

Octavia Nasr

Even during the most difficult times of war, Christmas was always the Holiday of choice in our family and it was engrained in my heart. As an immigrant, the Christmas tree carried over the spirit of the Holiday. Always reminding me to be grateful for what I have, even when I had nothing. Especially when I had nothing, I felt had everything. Isn’t that the spirit of Christmas after all? Of all the teachings and the teachers I remember and cherish, the meaning of Christmas, it seems, was brainwashed into my head by none other than myself as a product of a society that provided all the prerequisites for such thinking.

I lost that spirit a few years ago when I lost faith in human beings altogether. When you stand alone and helpless in the face of tragedy, when you feel voiceless as monsters defiantly butcher their fellow men, women and children. When people are rewarded for lying and cheating, when leaders take their own nations to doomsday, when food is wasted in the bushels while some people don’t even have crumbs of bread to soothe their hunger. At a time when people remain oppressed and millions remain hungry, sick or without a home or shelter, no matter how much peace and love one has in their heart, and I am filled with both, I find it unfitting for me to “celebrate” anything, let alone Christmas!

This article was first published in al-Nahar on Dec. 16, 2013.

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Multi-award-winning journalist Octavia Nasr served as CNN’s senior editor of Middle Eastern affairs, and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the use of social media in traditional media. She moved to CNN in 1990, but was dismissed in 2010 after tweeting her sorrow at the death of Hezbollah’s Mohammed Fadlallah. Nasr now runs her own firm, Bridges Media Consulting, whose main aim is to help companies better leverage the use of social networks.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.