Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas In Prison

It's the solstice. And the full moon approaches.

That means the moon will rise this evening where the sun will rise next summer when the summer solstice occurs. Although this is the shortest day, it is all also helpful to think of it as the beginning of the waxing sun. Starting tomorrow, the days will grow longer, even as the winter officially begins.

There is a brisk, almost mighty wind today. Yet, it is unseasonably warm. I hear my wind chime breaking through the cacophony of the moving branches, the leaves, and the workman next door. My new Boston Accoustics radio is playing John Prine singing of Christmas in Prison.

This Christmas season, as I drive through the crowds on the freeway blocked up by thousands waiting to take their turn in the Festival of Lights, or whatever it is, it occurs to me that we are all spending Christmas in prison.

The most holy holiday of the sect that arose from Jerusalem to ultimately conquer the world with its culture, its customs, and its morals, has been completely commercialized to the point that it is now the primary bulwark of the capitalist economy against any dangerous slowdown in consumer consumption.

Even though I did give some Carbon offset credits to some friends this year, I certainly have done my part to bolster the continued raping of our planet. And except for a brief period a couple of days ago, I have been able to maintain a reasonable temper while doing so.

Yet, deep in my bones, I know that the Christmas that we will celebrate in the next few days runs directly into the strong wind of destiny that we as a people have made for ourselves. For as we endulge ourselves with the so called riches of seemingly cheap energy, we sow the seeds of our own undoing.

As we fight the traffic, and the lines, and the busy credit card processors, few of us will notice this story that appeared in the International Herald Tribune this week.

World food stocks dwindling rapidly, UN warns

In an "unforeseen and unprecedented" shift, the world food supply is dwindling rapidly and food prices are soaring to historic levels, the top food and agriculture official of the United Nations warned Monday.

The changes created "a very serious risk that fewer people will be able to get food," particularly in the developing world, said Jacques Diouf, head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
The agency's food price index rose by more than 40 percent this year, compared with 9 percent the year before - a rate that was already unacceptable, he said. New figures show that the total cost of foodstuffs imported by the neediest countries rose 25 percent, to $107 million, in the last year.

At the same time, reserves of cereals are severely depleted, FAO records show. World wheat stores declined 11 percent this year, to the lowest level since 1980. That corresponds to 12 weeks of the world's total consumption - much less than the average of 18 weeks consumption in storage during the period 2000-2005. There are only 8 weeks of corn left, down from 11 weeks in the earlier period.

Prices of wheat and oilseeds are at record highs, Diouf said Monday. Wheat prices have risen by $130 per ton, or 52 percent, since a year ago. U.S. wheat futures broke $10 a bushel for the first time Monday, the agricultural equivalent of $100 a barrel oil.

Diouf blamed a confluence of recent supply and demand factors for the crisis, and he predicted that those factors were here to stay. On the supply side, these include the early effects of global warming, which has decreased crop yields in some crucial places, and a shift away from farming for human consumption toward crops for biofuels and cattle feed." more

Perhaps in the not too distant future, we will send carbon credits to our rich friends, and we will send food donations to those who are not. Perhaps we will make charitable donations to those organizations that are struggling now to feed and care for those who are in need.

Perhaps we will rebel against the corporate capitalist take over of the Mass that celebrates the birth of Christ and we will free our Christmas in Prison.
But in truth,

"We are like the Spider.

We weave our life and then move along in it.

We are like the dreamer who dreams

and then lives in the dream.

This is true for the entire Universe". Upanishads


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