“Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?” sang Bob et al.
For the 29% of people in Sub-Saharan Africa who are Muslim, I imagine this is a rather silly question. How many Band Aid singers know that 28th September is Confucius’s birthday? And the starving Ethiopians who had inspired the song would dispute the date since they adhere to the Julian calendar and celebrate Christmas on 7th January.
Equally many Africans might query:
Where nothing ever grows,
No rain nor rivers flow
as a representative description of Africa. (An early case of poverty porn.) Did his Bobness write about Africa because:
- Ethiopia didn’t scan well, but Africa did?
- The famine was also affecting the Sudan?
- Not everyone knows where Ethiopia is?
- To future-proof the song for other famines? (e.g. Niger?)
I shall be taking a break from bloggery until the new year. I shall spend Christmas in Africa in a place where rain falls, rivers flow and plenty grows. I’m hoping to be a little way away from chiming bells, but some lodges use them to announce dinner is ready rather than “the clanging chimes of doom”. I’m also quite certain everyone will know it’s Christmas without requiring Slade to tell them. But Band Aid will almost certainly feature on the iPod playlist, because it’s one of the great cheesy Christmas songs.
See you again in 2011, when hopefully we’ll have “plenty to cheer” (Lennon, not Geldof). Until then I wish you a very ‘melly klismas’ (people here regularly mix up their Ls and Rs), and a happy chronological incrementation.