So this is Christmas, and what have we done? Another year over, and a new one just began.
I’ve always loved this season but I’ve never been much for Christmas carols. The new ones are moronic garbage and the old churchy ones tend to depress the shit out of me. Too many ugly memories of being a differently gendered dirty secret in a harsh Catholic climate. Too many old wounds. Some still haven’t healed. Some probably never will.
Since I’m in the confessional kinda mood, I might as well admit that I’ve never been completely sold on the apparent sanctity of The Beatles either. They’re not a bad band, the hype just always felt a touch contrived to me. To be perfectly honest with you, they always struck me as a glorified boy band before they dropped acid, and even then they always sounded second fiddle to The Rolling Stones shambolic heroin blues.
But I’ve always loved John Lennon. I spent about 15 minutes as a teenage hippie between Goth and punk, and John and those fantastic Yippies are the only two relics that remain. I’ve also always loved Yoko. I felt that she brought the best out of John, artistically, politically and spiritually, not to mention being a brilliant provocateur in her own right. For this, she was naturally rewarded with the brand of chauvinistic racism and sexism that often crept just beneath the hippie veneer. And it was John and Yoko who created the one Christmas carol I truly cherish outside of the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.
Happy Xmas (War Is Over) didn’t begin as a hit song. It began as part of an avante garde guerrilla marketing campaign to coincide with John and Yoko’s ’69 Bed-ins. Billboards across 12 major cities worldwide were decorated with the simple message “WAR IS OVER: If you want it- Happy Christmas from John and Yoko.” Two years later this message was set to the traditional English ballad “Skewball” and accompanied by the Harlem Community Choir. It was a deceptively radical message for mainstream radio, even in the peace and love era. In 1971 the war was far from over. There were still millions of bodies to be buried beneath blankets of napalm and Agent Orange. What John and Yoko were conjuring wasn’t a Utopian fantasy but a simple Christmas wish. Happy Christmas, in the name of God, cant this wicked war be over? It can. If you want it. And today, nearly half a century later, that wish seems more cruelly unfulfilled than ever.
I’m a transgender lesbian with Lyme disease and agoraphobia, there are millions of things I want for Christmas; a vagina, a woman who can see me as just that even without one, a cure, a world without screaming highways and fluorescent bathed Walmart’s to hyperventilate in. But I’d give up all of that and more, I’d give anything just to see an end to America’s endless imperial campaign of forever wars. Wars without end. Wars without mercy. So this Christmas, I wish for peace, and I invite you to wish with me. Maybe together, God will hear our plea.
I wish we’d stop starving impoverished nations into submission with the financial terrorism of sanctions, from Venezuela to Korea. I wish we’d stop building toxic bases and blacksites on beautiful islands like Diego Garcia, Jeju and Ryukyu, polluting their pristine beaches and mowing down their children in the streets with heavy machinery. I wish we’d stop propping up the most despicable despots on earth since Hitler, from Rwanda to Bahrain. I wish we’d stop overthrowing democracies that fail to be convenient to our hegemony. I wish we would stop fueling and wantonly engaging in genocides, taking part in the erasure of beautiful, brave, brilliant people like the Zaydis, the Timorese, the Chagossians, the Baharna and the West Papuans. I wish the killing fields would bloom with flowers instead of flesh and blood. I wish we’d stop keeping the lights on in Israel, while that Frankenstein creature we helped birth rapidly becomes a gruesome doppelganger of the Third Reich we use to justify it. And I wish we’d just tell the Zionists to fuck off. The Wahhabists too, while we’re at it.
And I wish we’d leave Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria and Korea and Germany, but Afghanistan most of all. Those mountains that have known nothing but war since Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski began building an army of jihadist mercenaries to provoke a Soviet invasion several years after Happy Xmas (War Is Over) hit the airwaves. Those mountains that carry no memory of a world before the dopelords and warlords and rapists and pederasts who we so covetously protect. Those mountains, so tall, deep, dark and mysterious that no white man could ever possibly comprehend them. It’s 2019, dearest motherfuckers, and I wish the forever wars were over. But that wish wont come true until we realize that it’s up to us and not some divine savior to overthrow the Scroogian Empire that fuels them.
And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun, the near and the dear ones, the old and the young.