December 08, 2006

they do know... they just don't care

In addition to brilliant writing, The Sheila Variations also boasts a band of regular commenters who excel at providing hilarious commentary. The tangents that often ensue are delightful. In fact, I was inspired to compose the following letter thanks to a wonderfully off-topic comment thread that began with talk of a deflated Santa and ended with a lyrical analysis of Band Aid's earnest yet erroneous "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

Please read the post and comments to see how that transpired. In the meantime, here's the byproduct of my hijacking. Enjoy.
Dear Messrs. Geldof and Ure:

Thank you for your noble famine relief efforts. On behalf of the African people, I would like to convey our appreciation for your selfless dedication and desire to "feed the world." Although, truthfully, as non-Christians we could do without the accompanying relentless proselytizing about Christmas but still, we are nevertheless indebted to your tireless humanitarian pursuits.

However, I do believe it is incumbent upon me to clear up some misconceptions you seem to hold towards our beautiful continent. Firstly, I dare say the agricultural industry would beg to differ with your statement that "nothing ever grows" in Africa. In fact, my garden alone sprouts enough weeds to choke an elephant.

Secondly, the good people of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia who were recently displaced by flooding would most certainly disagree with the notion that "no rain or rivers flow." That, kind sirs, is sloppy and irresponsible reporting on your part.

And, lastly, I think you do our bell makers a great disservice by describing the melodic and resonant tones of their craftsmanship as "clanging chimes of doom." While not one of our bread-and-butter industries, our bells and percussion instruments in general are no better nor worse than your own continent's. Frankly, we feel this is yet another case of xenophobia rearing its ugly -- and obviously tone-deaf -- head.

Again, we are grateful for the money you helped raise and we are most thankful for the prayers you solicited on our behalf. But, to reiterate, we really don't need reminders that "it's Christmastime again" as we don't really celebrate it. At this point, it has become nothing more than intolerant badgering and we are weighing our legal options.

But, in deference to your season of good will as well as our desire to not contribute to your alarming paranoia about living in "a world of dread and fear," we would like to avoid litigation if possible. Perhaps you can pen a follow-up single to retract some of the falsehoods about our climate and topography as well as your cruel and slanderous claims against African bells, of all things. I'm certain the members of Bananarama, Ultravox and Spandau Ballet, in particular, would jump at the chance to help right these wrongs.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.


Nala Simba Mufasa
President, African Board of Tourism
Watch the video here.