The night of January 5th is a night of magic for the children of Spain. In every city, town and village the arrival of the Three Kings, is awaited with an palpable excitment in the air, which mounts during the day to a crescendo, as dusk falls. Despite the creeping popularity of Santa Claus in recent years, there is a magic about this night which belongs to the children alone. The processions which herald the arrival of their Majesties are colorful, happy, fantastical, extravagant and aimed at the vivid imaginations of children or the willing suspension of disbelief of adults. Most of all there is fun as they arrive by camel or horse or on sparkling floats, accompanied by clowns, jugglers, fireeaters, musicians, characters from fairy tales, nursery rhymes and cartoons. To watch the faces of children on this night warms the soul, reafirms your belief in humanity.
Of course it isn’t quite the same for the children of Gaza, their fragile corpses are being laid to rest, side by side in their innocent sacrifice. Their parents are a universe away from the jollity and extravagance of Spain, or from the lavish celebrations many people have just enjoyed over the Christmas holidays.
I sat for three days glued to the tv after 9/11, the murder of JFK shattered my own innocence, I have watched awful things in news broadcasts or simulations of them in movies, but I have never experienced the blow to the stomach when I switched channels tonight. I’d been channel surfing, watching the arrival of the Kings in different cities in Spain,at some point becoming away of a huge smile on my face, but the last time I clicked the button the news had begun and what I saw was a grieving father carrying a wisp of a body, which he laid by the side of two others, maybe three or four years old.
I am trying hard not to make sweeping statements, not to lay blame where it doesn’t belong, but WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING?