Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
But this year was different within the Middle East
For there will be no Christmas dinner, no turkey feast
For the first time in decades in grand old Baghdad
Noel won't be coming and there are none to be sad.
For here in this city, for the first time in ages
Christians are fleeing, erased from her pages
But in the Holy Land surely, things must be different
Yet for some strange reason festivities are absent.
King Herod has spoken and issued an edict
Christmas is cancelled in the Nazareth district.
Santa came by in his magnificent sleigh
To give out his presents and be on his merry way.
He tried to stop by and visit the Nativity church
and instead was given a full-body cavity search.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, screw you and good-night!"
That is probably not how the famous poem goes, but then again, it is not natural for the Middle East to slowly be emptied of its Christian communities. In Iraq Christians are leaving in droves whilst in Nazareth Christmas celebrations were cancelled by the Israeli mayor. It is quite telling that in the two Arab countries under direct Western occupation in the region, the plight of Christians there has never been more dire. There is probably more Christmas cheer in Riyadh today than there is in Bethlehem.