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World View: Christmas Pageantry Brings a Little Cheer to Bethlehem

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This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Christmas pageantry brings a little cheer to Bethlehem
  • In China, Christmas is for partying and e-commerce
  • Christmas in Pakistan is subdued because of the Peshawar massacre
  • In Iraq, it’s Christmas in refugee camps in Kurdistan

Merry Christmas to all my readers!

Christmas pageantry brings a little cheer to Bethlehem

Christian pilgrims pray inside the Grotto of the Church of the Nativity, thought to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in Bethlehem on Wednesday. (AP)
Christian pilgrims pray inside the Grotto of the Church of the Nativity, thought to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in Bethlehem on Wednesday. (AP)

Thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world crowded into the little town of Bethlehem in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. Manger Square was decked out in white and yellow lights and a carnival atmosphere, at a time when there are a multitude of things to be sad about: the persecution of Christians, the July-August Gaza war between Israel and Hamas, and the war in Syria, which pits one genocidal Barbarian regime, led by president Bashar al-Assad, against another genocidal Barbarian regime, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS or ISIL), led by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.

At midnight mass, the Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal said that, “this Holy Land has become a land of conflict.” Bethlehem and Jerusalem lie at the intersection of the world’s four major monotheistic religions — Judaism, Western Christianity, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and Islam. Twal called for Jews, Muslims and Christians in the Holy Land to “live together as equals with mutual respect.” AFP and AP

In China, Christmas is for partying and e-commerce

There’s almost no sign of Jesus in China, but there are plenty of pictures of Father Christmas, especially in large cities. While Chinese festivities are solemn, serious and spiritual, Christmas is an excuse to party. Young people especially go out to movie theatres, bars or clubs. According to one citizen, “Christmas is just an excuse to go shopping, as there are many big sales at a lot of places. The theme is to have fun.”

But it’s also big business. The Christmas season allows China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba to play “Santa Claus for the whole world.” On Black Friday alone, the company set a one-day sales record of $2.65 million, a growth of 65.6% from last Black Friday. The Atlantic and Xinhua

Christmas in Pakistan is subdued because of the Peshawar massacre

Christmas is embraced even by Muslims in certain parts of Pakistan’s society, especially among the wealthy and education. Large festive Christmas markets spring up in the large cities, including Karachi and Islamabad. Even Muslim children write letters to Santa telling them what presents to bring.

However, Christmas this year has been toned down across the country because of last week’s horrific attack on a Peshawar army school, in northwest Pakistan, killing over 130 schoolchildren. Instead, Christmas this year is a time to wonder why Pakistanis have let this happen to themselves. “It is us who have failed, not our children,” says one mother. “We have to teach our children to say ‘no’ to wrong. Do not hate anybody, love your country. We are all Pakistanis.” Dawn (Pakistan) and NBC News

In Iraq, it’s Christmas in refugee camps in Kurdistan

After a year of the self-declared Caliphate of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS or ISIL) and the systematic purging of Christians in Iraq and Syria, most Iraqi Christmas celebrations are being held in Baghdad or in refugee camps in Kurdistan in the north of Iraq.

ISIS has conducted operations of ethnic and religious cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Christians. “Talk of Christmas and Christian occasions is forbidden under ISIS,” according to a researcher. “The group has destroyed, torched and looted all churches, and barred any display of Christian faith. They also forced the hijab and Islamic way of dress on Christian women, and killed several Christian men for refusing to obey their orders.” Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia) and Huffington Post

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Bethlehem, West Bank, Israel, Gaza, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Fouad Twal, Jerusalem, China, Alibaba, Pakistan, Peshawar, Iraq, Kurdistan
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