All we want for Christmas is often something we can't get. World peace? Poverty eradication? That would make Santa sweat like a North Pole pig. No more violence, no more discrimination, no more settlements in the West Bank, no more brutality against the Rohingya, no more extremism, no more torture, no more drone attacks, no more school shootings, no more global warming, no more deportation of migrant workers, no more censorship, no more floods, earthquakes, tsunamis - wish for those and we're going to sound like John "Imagine" Lennon with flowers in his hair, though I believe Lennon was often right in general and wrong in some particulars.
Let's hope for less, then: less traffic, less pollution, less political malice, less injustice, less hot Decembers, less stupidity (mine and yours), less hypocrisy (yours and mine), and less Gangnam Style. But truly, with a hand on my trembling heart, after months of woes and shock, what I really do wish to see less and less of is a couple of things, and it will require much more than portly Santa and his red-nosed pals to deliver them.
Above all, if not world peace, I wish for less southern unrest. Christmas or not, right now we're risking the trap of numbness and insensitivity about the South, just like what we feel about, say, the news from Palestine over the past 60 years. Throughout the year the nearly daily killings have produced headlines and alarm, and yet the ubiquity and stagnant narrative have created a sort of mental distance between here and there, between the possibility of genuine distress and the daze caused by repetition and statistics.