Christmas where?

I was going to try to write something, to sermonise a little, but this says it.

Christmas where?

… and so does this:

Finally, in considering the situation of migrants and refugees, I would point to yet another element in building a better world, namely, the elimination of prejudices and presuppositions in the approach to migration. Not infrequently, the arrival of migrants, displaced persons, asylum-seekers and refugees gives rise to suspicion and hostility. There is a fear that society will become less secure, that identity and culture will be lost, that competition for jobs will become stiffer and even that criminal activity will increase. The communications media have a role of great responsibility in this regard: it is up to them, in fact, to break down stereotypes and to offer correct information in reporting the errors of a few as well as the honesty, rectitude and goodness of the majority. A change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of a throwaway culture – towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world. The communications media are themselves called to embrace this “conversion of attitudes” and to promote this change in the way migrants and refugees are treated.
— Pope Francis. Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be held on 19 January 2014

We will decide?

Sadly, all too current …

2001
We will decide
Who comes into this country-
And the circumstances
In which they come. [Prime Minister John Howard, Liberal Party election campaign launch, 28 Oct 2001.]

Like a piece of poetry it was,
the toughening iambics,
those sharpened ‘c’s, like angled pikes,

the two-beat lines that got us going –
except line 3 which had its extra
fist banged on the table.

Note the subtle half-rhyme, too,
‘country’ matched with ‘come’
and how the preposition ‘in

assumes its proper place.
Like most great poetry, of course,
it’s mainly made from echoe

the glorious Three Hundred Greeks
who held Thermopylae
and Winston Churchill roaring still

“We shall fight them on the beaches . . .”
Like all such deathless works of art
it’s shivering with myth:

the golden hordes who spoil our sleep
across two centuries,
the bard far back with lyre and smoke

declaiming his alliterations,
the ancient battles of his race
with dragons, gods and men.

No wonder, then, that those who might
have shown us something else,
defeated now by poetry.

had nowhere left to turn.

Geoff Page. Overland 181:92, Summer 2005