Tonight in Europe will be the 90th anniversary of the spontaneous acts of sanity that historians call the "Christmas Truce". At various spots across the western front, the guns fell silent and were replaced with Christmas Carols in English, French and German. Young men ignored the propaganda about their alleged enemies, and came out of their trenches to exchange gifts and prayers.
By any objective measure, we are better people than these men. We are wealthier, smarter, and understand our place in the universe far better than they do, thanks to science that hadn't even been invented yet in 1914. What does it say then that the Christmas Truce was one of the last examples of a "twitch" in history? Why is it that this was the last time that two opposing sides were able to face each other with respect and understanding instead of the hate their superiors demanded of them? Does anyone think this could happen again in Iraq?
The Christmas Truce did not happen without punishment. Men were court-martialed, and the high command was so concerned about this outbreak of treason that they ordered every following Christmas be preceded by artillery barrages.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. In this most commercial of holidays (you know it's true), in our already over-commercialized culture, "rebellion" is most often defined by choosing coke over pepsi. Real rebellion is acting sane when your world demands madness, acting humane when your world demands that you be bestial. The Christmas Truce was a great act of rebellion, but the wonderful thing about this is that it's do-it-yourself. We can all engage in little acts of rebellion, every day. Smile, laugh, have a happy holidays, spend time with loved ones.
Merry Christmas all. I'll be offline for the next little while, between work and holidays. Down in Toronto on boxing day - I'll see some of you then.