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Yes, Band Aid, they know it’s Christmas

Examining a fundamentally flawed Christmas song

The Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom.
Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you.
Do They Know It’s Christmas?
-Band Aid

B101 will play everywhere during the Christmas season – Christmas songs followed by more Christmas songs capped off with one more Christmas song. “Feliz Navidad,” all of Bruce’s Christmas masterpieces, and T Swift’s “Last Christmas” are kindly shoved down your throat. But, there is one song that plays on perpetual repeat during this time of year that annoys me a bit – Band Aid’s 1984 song, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, featuring vocals from Paul Young, Boy George, George Michael, Simon Lebon of Duran Duran, Sting, and Bono, attempts to remind us that there are others in the world suffering. The song highlights situations in Africa, specifically the 1983 famine in Ethiopia.

While I admire their work and dedication to bring awareness to a serious problem, the lyrics are polarizing two groups of people. Several lyrics in the song suggest that we are different people that are better than the people suffering in Africa.

The song refers to fellow humans as “the other ones” who live in “a world outside your window.” This wording makes the people in Africa seem incredibly different and that we would not even be able to relate to them.

Asking if Africans know it’s Christmas even separates us even further for no apparent reason. According to the Pew Research Center, the country of Ethiopia (the country Band Aid is advocating for) is 63.4% Christian and makes up 2.4% of the world’s whole Christian population.

So, I would say yes – they do know it is Christmas time and they do not need us to remind them of the fact that it is close to December 25. And in reality – our brothers and sisters in Africa will most likely be celebrating a more wholesome Christmas as their day will not revolve around physical materials.

Perhaps the Christmas bells that are the chimes of doom actually ring here.

Yes, we should be thankful that we will have food on our plates and gifts under our trees this Christmas. But why would we thank God that the people in Africa are suffering and not us? We are the same people as them – brothers and sisters in Christ.

Bono screams out, “Thank God it’s them instead of you.” We should simply thank God for what he has given us. We were never taught to thank God for what others do not have, celebrating what we have at the expense of others.

We are all a unified group of people that should be working together.

There is no doubt that we have to, “feed the world.” But let’s show some respect and decency to another group of human beings.

A song on repeat on B101 should not tell us what to think.

 

Other Christmas Perspectives:

Justice Bennett

Pat Ferraiolo

Mike Harrington

Jack Magargee

Dan Malloy

Tommy Pero + Ted Holleran

Ben Yankelitis 1 

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