Joyeux Noel…


… a movie based on true accounts of the 1914 Christmas Truce’s which sprang up between enemy troops along various fronts during the First world War. Whilst aspects of this might seem completely unreal to those of us who weren’t there, strange and often unexplainable things happen during times of war. The irony never ceases to amaze me; when soldiers and circumstances are at their most brutal – humanity has this amazing tendency to shine on through it all.

To fraternise with the enemy in times of war was a punishable offense. Depending on the level of ‘fratenisation’, you could well have been shot for such a crime. During the Christmas of 1914, men from both sides of the line cam together to celebrate a moment of peace. Some played soccer (football), some sang, some exchanged gifts, some swapped stories, others shared family pictures, tried each other’s tucker and then drank whatever they could find. I’m guessing that nearly all of them ‘switched off’ (as hard as that might seem in a time of war) for just a small while. They might have stopped thinking with their reflexes; stopped snatching glimpses of their enemy over the edge of broken trenches; stopped squinting at them through the sights of their rifles; and mostly – just for a smally while – stared in absolute wonder as men from both sides might have smiled nervous smiles, and held out shaky hands.

I don’t mean to romanticise such an event – and yes – this movie might appear to do so in some ways, softening it all up some. It’s a movie after all – the director has to share an experience with you about a particularly brutal part of our collective world history. It doesn’t matter who you are, nor what your nationality might be – when war visits you – I’m guessing no two people will ever seem the same again. If history is any indicator it’s true – War is a bloody, senseless business, and people give their lives to take part in a process that most people – viewing it from well outside the ‘war-zone’ – shake their head, and wonder why it is, that history really does seem to repeat itself.

I sit at home – warm, well and healthy and often at this time of year, I reflect on things that might have been. Australia is an EXTREMELY lucky country. Aside from colonisation -and the horrors such an experience visited on this country and it’s many Aboriginal and Islander peoples (not to mention many of your own ancestors who were forcibly transported here under a cruel and harsh law) – we have never faced a fully fledged, occupying aggressor on our own soil. Australia was attacked by the Japanese Imperiel Forces during World War II, but this never became occupation. We have never – in our recent history – been invaded. Today’s Australian citizens (barring those migrants and refugees who have originally come from other war affected countries) know nothing of the horrors facing those who have had their homes, and lives completely torn apart by an invading and occupying ‘army’. We know nothing of the types of situations that turn your friends and neighbours against you,and we know nothing of the horrors that force people to leave their families behind – just so they might be given the tiniest opportunity to survive.

Our Australian way of life is a blessing. Can so many Australian’s really be so suprised that there are people who come from all over the world to live here; do any manner of things to be able to wash up upon our shores; pay any price – and I mean ANY price – just for a mere glimmer of hope, and the promise of safety? I think on those who sleep with one eye open out of necessity and habit. A full and safe night’s sleep isn’t available to all of us who inhabit this globe. The food will cover our Christmas table, and people will ask politely for this or for that – and no-one will go hungry. No-one will want for anything, people will sit back and relax afterwards – hoping for a afternoon siesta – just before they bugger off and annoy the other side of the family – as we often tend to do here in Oz.

I think of all those I know who are wearing a uniform right now. Your country or mine, and I remember a life in uniform where there but for the grace of God go I. If I had of made a different decision in my life at that time, maybe I’d be out there somewhere – doing a job that no one person has the right to ask you to do. A Christmas Truce is unlikely for these fellas out and about doing their job. Again – I’m not reflecting on the political position or decision that put them there – just the people, and how well they cope with the cards life has dealt them. I don’t wish this on anyone. I don’t wish any of the horrors out there on ANY person at all – I simply wish we could realise the absolute waste of it all, and stop aiming to kill or maim others in the name of one thing or the other.

Christmas is a time to think on others. Wherever possible, it’s a time to hold those you love close to you, and celebrate them. If you can, you mightn’t realise just how lucky you are – many out there can’t… in fact many here in Oz can’t -and it doesn’t hurt us Aussies to remember this, wherever you may be.

Peace and Joy to All – or so I hope – Merry Christmas!

Belongum – Out!

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About Belongum

People bring 'things' to me. Not necessarily PHYSICAL things as such - mostly just the loose bits and pieces floating around in their 'brain-box'. Sometimes, they also bring themselves - and THAT isn't anywhere near as simple as it sounds. I come here to pass some of this 'brain-box business' on to the ether world, and to empty my head. Besides folks - I love a good yarn - so come and join me!
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7 Responses to Joyeux Noel…

  1. Talula says:

    Hey to you Belongum! Hope Father Christmas brings your children all the bounty their little hearts desire (with a good dose of charity for others mixed in) and I know that your & your XO’s hearts will be full when you see the joy in your children’s eyes on Christmas morn!!!

    Must tell you I read your post last night and I thought about it all day in the back of my mind, until I finally knew I must write my own little holiday card (post). So I just finished it; though a little simpler than yours. Much love & holiday cheer to you and yours, Talula from Texas!

    Gudday Talula… I’ve been a bit lax over here in the West mate – my apologies! Hope you and yours had yourselves a good Chrissie – and that all is well. You take care there in Texas eh… all the best! 😉

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  2. Melissa says:

    You always write the most touching posts. I saw that movie not too long ago and its humanity moved me. Hope you and the XO enjoy a wonderful Christmas with your little ones. Hohoho, Mel

    Cheers Melissa… you’re a good hand mate – nice of you to say so! I don’t know if it’s all that true though – lately I’ve really been struggling to write anything I’ve been even remotely satisfied with – I just haven’t had the time nor inclination. This family business is a full-time gig after all lol 😉 Looking to change that (the writing business – not the family business lol) in 2009, so I’m hoping you can watch this space, and see some more interesting posts. Thanks for dropping by – I often wonder how it’s going for you mate – hope you’re well in your life – or at least as well as you can be… leave those terrible Aussie sailors alone -they’ll cause you nothing but trouble lol

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  3. Ian says:

    Best wishes to you, the XO and your expanding family… may Christmas Day bring you peace and joy ( and not toooo much happy banging and crashing )
    Cheers,

    I hope it has found you well too Ian – hope your ‘recoveries’ are going well too mate – sorry I didn’t have the chance to wish you well earlier, families (I’m slowly figuring out) and very much unpredictable creatures at the best of times lol! You take care mate… 😉

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  4. Spike says:

    Excellent post.

    Merry Hogswatch and a happy new year.

    And a Merry Hogswatch (somewhat belatedly) to you Spike – hope you’re well mate! Wish We could apply a Disc World unit of measure here on our mad planet, but sadly as common sense went out with the bathwater, we’re not really in any position to apply it well at all… lol 😉

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  5. Cellobella says:

    Hi Belongumm
    I saw that movie on the teev the other night and for the first time understood why the ptb were so freaked out by it because how could you convince your troops that the other side was so evil they should die when they’d got to know them and realised they were so alike!

    How could you convince them that fighting the war was not pointless and a waste of good men?

    Bring on fraternisation I say!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours,

    CB x

    You and me both CB – you and me both… I wish there was more moments were people had the opportunity to see past the ‘bulldust’ they’ve been ‘sold’ and see each of us walking this earth as the equals we are. Sadly – there are a determined minority of people out there in the world, who’s sole mission it is to undermine any of our efforts to see the world this way (and they’re not just your stereo-typical ‘terrorists’ either)… whilst people there are people about on this planet who wish to do harm to others for all manner of reasons – I don’t see us (as a whole) getting any smarter about this crappy business called ‘war’! I really hate that this seems to be the case… but what do you do?
    Hope you all enjoyed your own family Christmas etc… all the best! 😉

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  6. Mandi says:

    I haven’t seen the movie but do know the story, Belongum. It is an amazing example of humanity and our capacity for love despite, or perhaps becuase of, the circumstances.
    A good friend is currently serving in Baghdad and I can’t even begin to imagine what he’s going through. I just look for his facebook updates – when they come through I breathe a little sigh of relief that he’s still okay.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours – hope you’re having a wonderful time visiting.

    Cheers Mandi… I think on people like your mate more often than I should – but I can’t really help it. It’s something I’m very aware of – and I too have many mates still serving in uniform in those places. I hope all was well in your household and that all the little people (including those of you big people who can’t help but become little people too – during Christmas) got their hearts desire!

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  7. lillipilli says:

    I sometimes can’t hold onto the ones I love when I would like to, and it makes me very sad. When I get sad I think about others, like those serving the country, or like those who will never again get to hold the ones they love, and it gives me perspective. I am lucky.

    Happy New Year B.

    I think on you often LP… wonder how things are going for you and yours… I hope all’s well mate… cheers 😉

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