The seriousness of this pandemic does not mean that you should be drowning yourself in “seriousness” even though the troublesome microbe has been bugging us for nearly two years and counting. No, with Christmas all about us, it pays to take a Caribbean position on the clash of two forces with entirely opposing agendas: the virus, forcing us to isolate, separate, lock down, while Christmas insists that we embrace each other, sharing goodwill and good food.
The divisive virus in tension with the unifying force of Christmas would generally elicit this response by the Caribbean person: let the virus go ‘bout he business and I will go ‘bout mine.
Lest our readers think that we are countenancing unsafe practices at a time when safety should be the first consideration, we want to assure you that this is not our intent. What we are hoping for is that for this holiday season you don’t allow your fears to prevent you from embracing the fundamental elements of Christmas as described by Charles Dickens as “a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time… when men and women seem of one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of people bound on other journeys.”
We admit that in order to embrace this Dickensian prescription it requires walking a fine line between isolation and connectedness; between fear and fortitude. Our best advice is for those who chose to walk the line that they always err on the side of caution. And once you are comfortable with that fine balancing act that the times require, keep the Caribbean idea in mind of letting the virus go ‘bout he business and you go ‘bout yours.
In order to light the path towards a new day, beginning with Christmas, our paper has decided to do its best to counter the sunless winter that oppresses us all with the light of Yuletide. So, we have asked our essayist friends to send us a piece as a contribution to The Caribbean Camera Christmas issue. We asked them only that the brief essay or story must have Christmas as its theme; apart from that, they write as they please.
The willingness with which our essayists said “yes” confirms our “modest” belief that there are folk out there who like us and wish us and our readers well. We would also like to believe, with great humility, that they all had a brilliant Christmas piece in their heads just dying to be committed to the page, thereby ensuring their literary immortality (nudge nudge, wink wink).
So our Christmas menu boasts essays and stories for adults and children by a wide array of writers with roots from the Caribbean to Africa. Taken together we hope that it provides you with some interesting Christmas reading, and puts you in the Dickensian spirit of kindness, forgiveness and charity.
And remember to treat the virus with the respect and vigilance it demands, then follow Lord Kitchener’s directions and “drink a rum and a punch-a-creama.”
In the spirit of the season, we wish you a truly joyous Christmas and New Year.