JOYFUL AND TRIUMPHANT
A One Act Christmas Play
Dr. Lester CN Simon
Scene: The reception area of a small hotel in Antigua.
Jonathan: It’s another Christmas and we are here again.
Mizpah: Don’t talk too fast. With all the lay-offs, I’ll be home for Christmas.
Joseph: You can plan on me. This will be our last Christmas together.
Jonathan: Don’t be so pessimistic Joseph. Things will pick up in the New Year.
Joseph: If only in my dreams. The world economy is bad enough. When you add to that the easy targets we present to terrorists, I am getting out of tourism.
Jonathan: Getting out of tourism? And do what when your relatives come to Antigua to visit?
Mizpah: They will stay at Joseph’s Inn, or, should I say, at Joseph’s Manger, as they usually do.
Jonathan: Yes Joseph, tourists are not just Americans and Europeans.
Mizpah: Imagine this: On one hand, put all the money American and European tourists spend here and all the money that goes back to America and Europe. On the other hand, put all the money West Indian tourists spend here and all they money that stays here in the region. Which hand is heavier?
Joseph: Are you saying we do not need American and European tourists?
Mizpah: I am saying we must take a completely different look at tourism and the entire service industry.
Jonathan: You and Joseph could do well with some of that reparations money you are always talking about.
Mizpah: You Jonathan, you one king of orient, are in need of an understanding of a few things about reparations. Reparations will benefit all of us West Indian: Black, White, Mulatto, Doughlah, Mixed, Mixed-up, Indian (like you Jonathan), Indigo, Chinese and in-betweens.
Jonathan: Let me hear that glorious song of old again on a midnight clear. All of us are West Indian but some are more West Indian than others. What a complex, racist nonsense.
Joseph: There is no need to get racial. We are all West Indian.
Jonathan: Sure. West Indian nationality includes our beloved Bohemian hotel manager, Wenceslas, who can’t tell when last he and his page boy, Joseph, visited the poor a good league hence.
Joseph: Do you know that poor white prisoners and others like you were sent out here to labour before we blacks arrived?
Mizpah: We did not arrive. Tourists arrive. They were making a list and checking it twice. I saw three ships come sailing in.
Joseph: That is why I ignore this reparation thing. It gets too complicated and philosophical.
Jonathan: So why do you act like white people owe you something, Joseph? Why are you always going home with brown paper packages tied up with strings? Are these a few of your favourite things?
Joseph: Are you the shepherd seated on the ground watching the flock?
The hotel manager enters
Wenceslas: Silent night, holy night. All is calm. All is bright?
Joseph: No Sir. We are concerned about the lay-offs.
Jonathan: And about reparations.
Wenceslas: Lay-offs are real. Reparations are not. When you cannot get blacks in Africa, blacks in England and even some blacks in the West Indies to join the reparations fight, reparations become a lost cause.
Mizpah: With respect Mr. Wenceslas, you are terribly mistaken. Reparations are more than a fight for blacks. We have three battles to wage. The moral battle is easy. The legal battle is hard but our legal professionals are fighting gallantly. The tactical battle is the hardest and it is the one battle all of us have to wage. Those blacks who are not engaged must understand the hotter fire that will come next time if we do not face up now to the divisions between and amongst blacks in Africa, West Indies, Europe and America. As for the West Indian melting pot of races, those of us who ignore the enigma of all of us being West Indian and fail to centralize the importance of black people and reparations will never be free.
Jonathan: Decipher that enigma for me.
Mizpah: The reason why all of us must fight for reparations is not just because the money will benefit all of us. Tactically and truthfully, the message is simply that reparations will take the load off the human soul.
Wenceslas: So is reparation a gift black people are giving to humankind?
Mizpah: No; not at all! We must not be confused. It is not for us to give; again. When I talk reparations I refer to white people making amends for the wrong and the injury they systematically inflicted on black people in building their empires.
Joseph: So why all this talk about all of us joining the fight, including blacks in Africa and blacks worldwide?
Mizpah: Because Joseph, reparation is the quintessential Christmas story. Because of the heinous crime against humanity that was inflected on us, reparation is the conduit of conscience through which whites especially, and all the rest of us will save our souls.
Jonathan: Are you telling me that black people are God’s chosen people to save the world?
Joseph: Look at Antigua and Barbuda. Take a peep; or is it a peak? We now have the mount. The sermon will follow.
Mizpah: When Joseph gets humourous, anything is possible. But put all jokes aside. Reparations will transform us from fear, to fear-not, because that mighty dread of injustice will no longer seize our troubled minds.
Wenceslas: Ye who now will bless the poor shall yourselves find blessing.
Jonathan: If reparation is the ultimate Christmas story, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas to all of us.
Joseph: And a Happy New Year for tourism; for all of us.