Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I was going to post this on Facebook...

 But, I thought better of it.  This is one of those things that might be downright offensive to some people and I don't need an 87 comment debate on my page.  Here, it's a little less in everyone's face.


I can't be the only one who has a problem with this song.  It turns my holiday joy into rage.  I mean, I get the message, in fact, I like the idea of the message.  But, the ridiculousness of the statements "There won't be snow in Africa this Christmas." "Do they know it's Christmas time at all?" really overshadow the whole business.

Here's the original:

It was the Glee Christmas special that forced me to think about the song again. Luckily, I haven't really heard it much on the radio.

Here are the lyrics, complete with notes on why I find them troublesome (and, sure, I'll admit that I'm putting too much energy into this):

It's Christmas time
There's no need to be afraid
At Christmas time
We let in light and we banish shade
light= good, shade= evil, as we get further into the song we learn that if Africans knew it was Christmas, they would have a better standard of living
And in our world of plenty
We can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world
At Christmas time

2But say a prayer
Pray for the other ones
Again, the "otherness" of the Africans seems to be the problem we're combating with our overpowering Christmas love
At Christmas time it's hard
But when you're having fun
There's a world outside your window
And it's a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing
Is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring
There are the clanging chimes of doom
Well, tonight thank God it's them instead of you

Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmas time
Feed the world
Do they know it's Christmas time at all?
Considering Africa is largely Christian or Islamic, the answer to that question is a resounding "yes." 2000 years ago?  Probably not.

And there won't be snow in Africa
This Christmas time
Wikipedia says, "Snow is a rare occurrence in South Africa, with snowfall having been experienced in Johannesburg in May 1956, August 1962, June 1964, September 1981, August 2006, and on 27 June 2007, accumulating up to 10 centimetres (3.9 in) in the southern suburbs"
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
That is the greatest gift anyone gets every minute of every day
Where nothing ever grows
No rain nor rivers flow
Madagascar is still Africa, and it's not even the only region that gets rainfall
Do they know it's Christmas time at all?

Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmas time
Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmas time again

(Here's to you) raise a glass for everyone
(Here's to them) underneath that burning sun
Do they know it's Christmas time at all?

END: Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmas time

Seriously.  Rage.


  1. I remember having a conversation with you about this song, and it being downright offensive. You , very eloquently, I might add, put it into words. It would be interesting to know about the person who wrote the lyrics. What their political and other mind sets are. But I can only guess they are one of "those" who believe being a "American" is the ultimate best, and it does not get any better than this. Africans , those poor poor people. (and if anyone can't figure it out, I am being facetious with that last sentence). Yes, posting on facebook would have gotten you at least 87 comments.

  2. I don't know who wrote it, honestly, but Band Aid is actually an Irish organization from what I've heard. I just think its anglo-centric faux philanthropy at its best.

  3. Well, as long as no one asked my opinion, I'll give it anyway. We're still under the 87 comment limit, right?

    I don't think it's anglo-centric, I think it's christ-o-centric. Why the winter solstice should be a time of philanthropy more so than any other part of the year is beyond me. To me, this song is just another treacly attempt at tapping the "christmas spirit" that people are instructed to get during a particular few weeks each year so they can feel all self-righteous and good about themselves.

  4. Well said! It's pretty difficult to any sort of quality of life when you have political powers either enslaving your people or robbing your land of its resources. I remember this song being played on MTV (back when there was music on it...). All I can say is, "Bono, What the hell?"

  5. ok now I edit! Geez I meant "to have any sort".... Damn my grammar