Christmas 2016 – it’s a broken and cold Hallelujah

By   /   December 24, 2016  /   30 Comments

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There is nothing as eye opening as seeing the ocean of desperation from fellow New Zealanders sleeping overnight on the street in the fervent hope of some basic gifts.

As I pass them, I think, ‘there but for the grace of God go I’.

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In the hustle and bustle of the Christmas madness, I passed by the Auckland City Mission to drop off my annual donation.

Each year the lines outside grow longer.

There is nothing as eye opening as seeing the ocean of desperation from fellow New Zealanders sleeping overnight on the street in the fervent hope of some basic gifts.

As I pass them, I think, ‘there but for the grace of God go I’.

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2016 has been a horror year in every sense. The rejection of free market neoliberal globalism has also heralded in a rejection of science and reason. BREXIT will cause irreparable economic damage in Europe in 2017 as those left behind by the free market raze the earth so those succeeding can feel the same pain they do and Trump has unleashed a fascism in America the like we have never seen.

The children of Aleppo died, the activists in West Papua were tortured, the people of Palestine brutalised and invisible to most mainstream media, the wars in Africa drowned  tens of thousands in a sea of blood.

Seasons Greetings indeed.

It wasn’t just politics where pain and anger stung us, we lost so many incredibly talented thinkers, artists and musicians, the list is tear inducing.

David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Fidel Castro, Muhammad Ali, Elie Wiesel, Gene Wilder, and Leonard Cohen all left us when we seemed to need them the most.

But 2016 seemed harsher and colder for some reason. Personally this year has been the most difficult of my entire life. Some describe their depression as a small black dog, mine is a 10 foot hydra where the only sense of relief is in the tired hope of not waking up the next day, but as extreme as my pain has been I know it’s a tiny fraction compared to the suffering of others this year.

We lost 560 NZers to suicide and it seemed that no community of friends were spared  the horror of that mutilation. So many people I know have had the most difficult year of their lives in 2016, the unseen hurdles and failures, the poverty and the hopelessness that will sit next to so many at Christmas dinner this year is never acknowledged in a culture of social media selfie boasting.

In 2016 we don’t count our blessings for comfort, instead we recognise  how many others are suffering far worse than we are. It’s not hope that we feel as we close our weary eyes at days end, it’s an exhausted gratitude that we aren’t queuing for a cheaply wrapped gift or being bombed or being driven from our homes.

Christmas 2016 is a broken and cold Hallelujah. Find warmth where you can and be grateful because life is far harsher for others.

Let us hope in 2017 we can find the peace to heal this fractured fragile planet of ours.

Merry Christmas New Zealand.

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30 Comments

  1. CosmicRay says:

    I actually see Brexit and Trump as an opportunity for hope that we haven’t seen in a very long time. They represent the rejection of globalism, which is a good thing. 2017 stands to be a very interesting year and I feel quite optimistic, which is a change from the depression I felt before Brexit happened. The little people are stirring.

    • That hope appears misguided, CosmicRay. Trump seems hellbent on escalating a new arms race, and increasing the US’s stockpile of nuclear weapons;

      “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”

      Followed up with;

      “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

      – Trump, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/23/donald-trump-nuclear-weapons-arms-race

      I find little cause for optimism in an increasingly dangerous world of more nuclear weapons and an irrational President-Elect who appears to be a warmonger.

      • Aaron says:

        Trump is as mad as a cut snake but the manner of the voting is a sign that people no longer believe the neo liberal nonsense that the media has been forcing down their throats (well, they still do in NZ).

        In fact people seem to be giving a giant middle finger to the establishment every time they vote in many western countries at the moment. It’s a time of flux and it’s up to us to present a constructive progressive vision instead of letting the madness of trump get to us.

        One thing though. Hilary Clinton was the true war candidate at the US election. She would have bought the US closer to war with Russia that Trump is doing.

        • One thing though. Hilary Clinton was the true war candidate at the US election. She would have bought the US closer to war with Russia that Trump is doing.

          Is that why Trump has announced that the U.S. will be engaged in a build-up of it’s atomic arsenal?

          “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes “

          ref: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/12/22/world/americas/trump-nuclear-tweet.html

          Aside from partisan politics and personal preference, there seems little basis to pre-suppose that Clinton “would have bought the US closer to war with Russia that Trump is doing”. There is simply no evidence for that assertion.

          There is, however, ample material from Trump to indicate that his Administration is about to embark on a massive military build-up.

          We are on the brink of a new arms-race and Second Cold War. The question is: who is the “enemy”? (And please don’t say ‘ISIS’. You don’t destroy an amorphous group like ISIS with atomic bombs, aircraft carriers, and submarines.)

        • esoteric pineapples says:

          “One thing though. Hilary Clinton was the true war candidate at the US election. She would have bought the US closer to war with Russia that Trump is doing.”

          A totally weak argument which one of my friends is hanging on to as the sole reason for justifying their support of Hilary. Every time Trump makes another horrendous decision all they can come up is some sort of attack on Hilary which is quite irrelevant. Apart from that, other than Trump having close business ties with Russia, he has already raised the level of tension with China so bang goes that theory.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      100% CosmicRay

      Seems that some on the right are still actually thinking that the People are our biggest asset not cheap imports.

      Some former enemies make strange bedfellows eh?

      John Key was a sell-out of our people to free market neoliberal globalism that has also heralded in a rejection of science and reason, or inclusion of the 99% that are worse off now.

    • esoteric pineapples says:

      I don’t find much hope in millions of Americans (along with a lot of supporters of Trump in New Zealand) voting against blacks, hispanics, women’s rights, gay people etc. I think the theory that Trump supporters were voting against free market capitalism is weak.

  2. Liminal says:

    I hope you have better year, Martyn. The same for the world, but I guess utopianism is not a great basis to start from.

    Happy Christmas and thanks for all your work in helping us look in on the underbelly of politics in NZ.

  3. Blake says:

    ” What we are fighting FOR is a MILLION ! times more important than what we are fighting against. ”

    As we put a lid on this year 2016 – thank goodness – let us continue to work towards and strive for what we believe to be true and right and good for all. A new year that brings much less suffering to all those who suffer worldwide and many more spontaneous smiles.

    Happy Holidays and wishing all a more peaceful and happy and joyous new year.
    I have enjoyed and learned from TDB and many thanks to you all.

    Another person who died this year and who gave so much that should be acknowledged is — Tom Hayden.
    He was a massive force ! against the Viet Nam war and fought for human rights and justice.

    Thanks Martyn for your continued efforts, tho at times we have disagreed, I believe we are on the same page.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Well said Blake a man after my own heart.

      Stand in solidarity and defeat the evil amongst us all.

      “united we stand divided we fall.”

      Thanks Martyn and we look forward to fighting to get rid of the common enemy that rules over us at present.

      Merry Xmas & a successful year ahead.

  4. David Stone says:

    It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah surely

    And a small black dog should be a remedy for depression rather than an embodiment of it.
    Cheers D J S

  5. Michael says:

    Hey Martin,

    A Merry Christmas to you and your family and a big thanks to you and the team at Daily Blog for keeping the site going for another year.

    Change is in the air and 2017 will bring with it a number of choices, both negative and positive , that we as individuals and as planet can choose from.

    Trump and Brexit have reminded people that nothing is set in stone and nothing can be taken for guaranteed, so in that light it is up to us as individuals to do what we can to while we are here to make the world a fairer and more compassionate place.

    Merry Christmas all!

  6. Susan St John says:

    Thanks Martyn for all your consistent efforts and clear messages when it has been so hard this year. Bleakness for so many and crumbs heralded as evidence of government’s generosity!
    It is clear there is a rising appreciation of the issues and a ground swell that says no more of this. The new year has some promise with an election looming- lets hope.

  7. JRobin says:

    We love you Martyn.

    A fearless campaigner for the powerless. thanks and Happy New Year for all.

    • Sally's Husband says:

      Ditto from us, J Robin!

      Martyn, you may not realise it, but your blogsite does have an impact on NZ politics and raising the consciousness of the public.

      Keep it up, my friend. You have more influence than you realise.

  8. Cassie says:

    Christmas is the ONLY time of year when people give thought to others .
    However briefly these horribly Neo liberal infected days.

    Best wishes to you Martyn. You are a very good writer. Nice & cutting .
    NZ needs to be cut free of deadwood.

    New Zealand used to be a very great place, where families thrived.
    We didn’t know how good we had it. (THAT’s the problem)
    Weren’t grateful enough.
    So, God tested us, and threw all sorts of temptations in our path,
    (Enter the NEO LIBERALS)
    =”De-regulation “(= Death of Social responsibility.)
    Privatisation. False promise of cheaper prices thru competition. What a lie.
    Thus Profit before people began…
    And then they continued with their Plan..
    The Destruction of New Zealand began…

    (Some of you will get this)

    Christmas used to be a good rest for families. Remember?
    Families used to enjoy long break.(Now, shops open on Boxing Day.)
    Commercialism$$$$ vs Human Wellbeing.

    We are HUMANITY.
    Commerce$$$ should not rule Life.
    Commerce is a false construct. A FALSE Value.

    (some of you might understand)

    Merry Christmas All. Capture the moment.
    Shouldn’t be just a moment.
    Money /Currency is a False Value upon Life.
    We do not have to live this way.
    History of Humankind.
    We have been captured .
    Worse than ever before. People enslaved to Smartphones now. The Final death blow.
    Minds enslaved.
    No ability to reason =No ability to question .
    (The Best slaves are those who think they are free)
    -while the New World order, the One World Government is put in place.
    -in increments..
    Whilst Everyone TOO DISTRACTED, TOO BUSY to think.
    to notice the detrimental changes taking place
    In small steps…

    Doesn’t matter which Party to vote,
    They are all bought.
    Playing a game of which they know Nought.

    Who is their owner?
    The BIG OVERSEAS MONEY LENDERs
    A private Family.

    Lending only Digits on a screen.
    NOTHING more.
    That’s the Game.

    A FRAUD. (PLUS “INTEREST” on top!!!!)

    PERFIDY.

    This is the only explanation of how one family in the world can have a wealth of TRILLIONS .
    They are Bankers families.

    BTW what does the”economy ” really mean?
    It means the wealth that benefits the major game players!
    Never = benefit to ordinary people, (that should be obvious)

    “Trickle down” theory, as people have been led to believe is actually-
    the Reverse!
    YES. Ordinary workers are feeding the Top Feeders by way of
    Fines, Taxes, Fees, etc which are endless.

    This is NOT JUST HAPPENING in NZ THOUGH,
    It is VERY important to grasp this.

    Martyn, again, Best Wishes, and hoping that you will see the bigger picture,
    and come back with a vengeance next year..

  9. Mike in Auckland says:

    Merry Christmas all, at least, despite of a cold and uncaring, lying government, some still keep the good work up, those working for the city missions, for advocacy services and support services for those on benefits, and the likes.

    As much as I am critical of them, we must also appreciate the work done by police, as at times they serve as the bottom of the cliff damage controllers, and much more so I thank the ambulance and emergency staff working to rescue people, to save lives and souls.

    But Martyn is right, this has been a dramatic, horrific year, and with Trump now talking nuclear arms race, I wonder whether those still thinking he was the lesser evil, do still cling to their views here.

    We are heading into a disaster with what is going on in many places on this planet. It is already a disaster in so many places, so what will come next year may break disaster records.

    I dread the future, but I will try to switch off a bit over the festive season.

    • But Martyn is right, this has been a dramatic, horrific year, and with Trump now talking nuclear arms race, I wonder whether those still thinking he was the lesser evil, do still cling to their views here.

      The Doomsday Clock set by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (made famous in ‘The Watchmen’ graphic novel and movie) is now at three minutes to midnight. In 2012, it was five minutes to midnight.

      I wonder what the next setting will be as Trump embarks on his crusade to scale up America’s stockpile of nuclear bombs. (And just how many more do the super-powers need, anyway?!)

      The threat of atomic doomsday is the real terrorism that confronts us. Everything else is trivial.

      • Hone Heki's Tau Iwi cousin says:

        That doomsday clock.
        Midnight is merely the arbitrary point at which the night slides towards a nuclear dawn.
        There is hope yet. It may well be that rather than an arms race, what will happen is an arms renovation. Nuclear weapons need much more maintainance than conventional weapons to remain viable. It is also hideously expensive. Sensitive control circuits and guidance systems become fried over long exposure to radiation from fissile materials. Fissile elements decay and become “ineffective”.
        This renovation could be variously described as maintenance, refreshment, or upgrades depending on policy context. Trump most likely barely comprehends the policy context, or the subtleties of policy, and thus tweets nonsense.

  10. All the best to you and your family, Martyn. And thank you for the hard work you’ve put into The Daily Blog. If TDB didn’t exist – we’d have to invent it!

    Let’s hope 2017 is a better year for us all, and our brothers and sisters all around the planet.

    Cheers, all!

  11. tony ricketts says:

    Yeah, like Frank and the others said, my very best wishes to you, Martyn, and to all the fractious family of Daily Bloggers

  12. Afewknowthetruth says:

    Depression is the natural response to miserable circumstances. Unfortunately, the people who are running the show have a lot more misery in stall, and will unleash some of it on the masses next year.

    Meanwhile, their solution’ will not be to tackle the causes of depression bit to mask the symptoms with pharmaceuticals that provide profit streams for manufacturers and distributors.

    Spend some time appreciating what is left of the natural world before the financial-military-industrial complex destroys the last of it for the sake of a few dollars more.

    ( Note that ice has been melting in the middle of the Arctic winter! A sure sign of how broken it all is.

    https://ads.nipr.ac.jp/vishop/#/extent )

  13. countryboy says:

    My advice to all who suffer depressions from the Too-Much-Info syndrome affliction? Try buying a dog, or better still, rescue one from a shelter.
    It’ll not care if you bend over in front of it without your undies on. It won’t worry if you’re oatmeal sticks to the pot. You can get drunk and dance to Celine Dion and it won’t out you to your Death Metal mates. You can stink and wear odd socks, it’ll not give one small dang. Feed it caviar, or saveloys, and it won’t sulk on you for three days. Shout angrily at it and it’ll love you no matter what.

    Other than that, I have no useful advice at all.

    But do any of you wonder what will happen when everything is beige and the same? All the houses, globally, are the same. The same music, food, cars, fashion, skin colour, hair colour, eye colour, clothing, etc, etc. After all. If it’s the very nature of corporates to be so competitive that the natural consequence of that is to become The One. The only ONE. The monopoly. THE partner, THE car, THE house, THE job, the ONE, corporate ONE , in all things.
    No war, no famine, no experimental music, no booze, no drugs, fags or mad-fast cars, no randomness, no adventure, no art, no cultural diversity, no disease, no cancer…
    Does that sound like a life enjoyable to live? No , me neither.
    The opposite of Beige, in all permutations, is LIFE ! To live !

    “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”Oscar Wilde.

    No one wants to die in a hail of bullets. No one wants to die in a war zone or of disease. No one wants to see kids die of some terrible thing but if that’s what it takes…
    It’s clear to me that without the horrible, the wonderful is impossible.
    So @ fabulous Martyn Bradbury, lament not. You’re terminally alive I’m afraid to say so you may as well enjoy it because it’s a hell of a ride man.



Authorised by Martyn Bradbury, The Editor, TheDailyBlog, 5 Victoria St East/Queen St, CBD, Auckland, New Zealand.