PEACE AND JUSTICE FILES: LETTER FROM SANTA

The North Pole
December 2015

My Dear Friends:

We trust that you are having the best holiday season possible, given present circumstances. A few questions have been definitely trending, as they say, in Santa’s mailbag so far this year, so all of us here at the Workshop appreciate Mr. Mendler making this space available to us so that we can address some of these concerns.

First off, Santa would like to reassure his younger correspondents that Rudolph and the crew are all fine. The Workshop, despite its “North Pole” location, is not directly affected by issues such as the loss of polar sea ice, or the rising of ocean levels. (One could say that we are “above” such things, in a certain sense; this is also, by the way, why we don’t show up on Google Maps.) That is not to say we are not deeply concerned about the issue of climate change. We have been following the negotiations in Paris with great interest, though Santa must admit that he is not optimistic for any major breakthroughs any time soon. The traditional threat of lumps of coal as a penalty for misbehavior seems to have no effect on fossil fuel company executives and their governmental representatives, as you can well imagine. Please write your elected officials – and be sure to tell them Santa sent you!

Santa treats all requests on an individual basis, as you know – but as a general rule, we do not deal in heavy armaments. So those of you requesting rocket-powered grenades for “home defense,” or looking to get an AK-47 or an AR-15 because you “want to take up hunting,” may find yourselves disappointed on Christmas morning. Santa knows who the real hunters are, and is more than happy to help keep you guys and gals well-supplied with warm socks, sturdy tree stands, and the latest in field-dressing tools. Armor-piercing bullets? Not so much.

Speaking of armaments… that brings us to our last topic for this letter. Many of you have written regarding the refugee situation in the Mediterranean, and wondering what Santa can do. Santa’s ability to reach into war zones is severely limited; security measures make it a challenge even to get into the refugee camps in other countries. For these needs, therefore, Santa has to count on you for assistance.

There are many organizations whose work you can help with your donations, including the well-known ones like UNHCR, Unicef, Oxfam, the International Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, and Save the Children. Santa would like to give a special shout-out this year to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), whose facilities in Yemen were recently hit by bombing raids.

A recent story on public radio (http://www.pri.org/…/5-groups-doing-important-work-help-ref…) listed a number of other less famous organizations that are also providing worthwhile assistance, including:
Migrant Offshore Aid Station (www.moas.eu)
“Flüchtlinge Willkommen” (“Refugees Welcome” – www.refugees-welcome.net)
“The Worldwide Tribe in Calais” (www.facebook.com/theworldwidetribe)
Small Projects Istanbul (www.smallprojectsistanbul.org)
The Karam Foundation (www.karamfoundation.org),
Hand in Hand for Syria (www.handinhandforsyria.org.uk).
Santa has also learned of a group called Clowns without Borders (www.cwb-international.org) that has been doing amazing work with children in refugee camps!

Wherever you feel moved to help, making a donation in someone else’s behalf is a wonderful present – and Santa doesn’t have to carry a thing! So please consider that option for the people in your life who have what they need already.

From Santa and all of us at the North Pole, best wishes for a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Prosperous and Peaceful New Year!

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