Dear Readers,


Readers, Merry Christmas!!!
Christmas, however, is not just a merry feast
Christmas is that specific remembrance of rejection, occupation, fear for the ones at power and the necessity to seek asylum

But moreover it is the feast of hope, love and the respect of all people, regarding race, descent or social position
Regardless being a criminal or not

The whole event started with the travel of a poor Jewish couple, that had to be registrated on the order of the Roman occupator in their birthplace

No consideration at all for the condition of a high pregnant woman, that had to make the journey on a donkey

How painful and incomforbable must that have been

Comparable with the journey nowadays of a Palestinian couple through their own country, which is also occupied.
A Palestinian couple, that has to go to the hospital, because the woman has to deliver a baby

Just like there was no place for that Jewish baby, Jesus, in the inn, so that His mother had to deliver her baby in an cold cave, without any medical assistance, so the Palestinian mother is often not allowed to pass an Israeli checkpoint and has to deliver her baby on a cold street, with all medical consequences of delivering a dead child

Jesus stayed alive, but the Familiy had to flee, because the King Herod, assuming that the baby would grow up into a ''potential revolutionary'' , attempted to kill him

The Family fleed to Egypt, to stay there untill Herodes had died

Refugees and asylum-seekers, because the life of the baby was threatened with death

Many so-called ''christian'' politicians in Western-Europe, who have introduced strict asylum-laws, by which people are going to be sent back to unsafe and war-countries and are being threatened with their life because of their religious and political beliefs or simply being of a different sexual origin, like gays, forget, that also the baby Jesus and his mother and Joseph were asylum-seekers and refugees

What would have been their fate, when they had fled to for example the Netherlands?

Sent back to King Herod?

Christmas offers us an opportunity to break through manmade inhumanity and evil

The Child is a Friend of every people, regardless descent or way of living
He eats in the house of Zacheus, tax-collector of the Roman occupator, so making Zacheus a traitor in the eyes of many people

He is forgiving the murderer, hanging on the cross, inviting him to paradise
He is curing the blind man on Sabbath day, learning man, that helping people is more important than a religious dogma

He learns mankind, that showing respect for the universal rights for all people, is the heart of religion

We are living in a time of growing international conflicts and experience, that governments, especially under pretext of ''war on terrorism'' are violating the fundamental human rights

The real Christmas-message shows us a way out, by appealing to the human rights and the right on a fair rial of any man, whether a common criminal, a terror suspect, Saddam Hoessein, an American war-criminal or any other suspect or convict

But it is of no importance whatsoever, whether people believe in the Christmas-story and Jesus or not

The message of Christmas of Love, and Forgiveness is applying to every religious of atheist conviction, being the universal message of humanitarian solidarity

Readers, again, I wish you a very good and haronious Christmas
And for 2006 much health, warmth, friendschip, peace, harmony, wealth and all othergood things of life
May the struggle against injustice continue

With many regards of solidarity

Astrid Essed
Amsterdam
The Netherlands