Oh, to be in Bethlehem on this auspicious day

To wake to the sound of church bells and the distant crump of mortars landing in Beersheba.

To see the early morning sky light up as Israeli helicopter gunships unleash their missiles.

To smell the teargas and hear the festive roar of traffic on roads built exclusively for Jewish settlers.

To watch construction workers go about their merry way as they build the wall ever-deeper into Palestinian territory.

To gaze in awe at the bright star above … hang on, that’s not a star, it’s a military flare.

Fifty years ago you couldn’t throw a stone in Bethlehem without hitting a Christian. Today they constitute less than 15% of the population. Christians have been sloping out of the city ever since their leader was strung up on a stick, but the exodus has picked up in recent times. Understandably so. It can’t be much fun being picked on by both the Arabs and the Jews. One can only turn one’s cheek so many times before packing for Canada where Islamic jihad and cavity searches are frowned upon and your neighbours don’t steal your land the moment you pop out for a spot of the old body and blood of Christ of a Sunday evening.

Christmas itself is a bewildering affair. While the Israeli security forces herd people around like goats, the Catholics and Protestants party down much like we are doing today but probably with fewer incidents of drunken domestic violence. Then the Greek, Coptic and Syrian Orthodox Christians break out the baubles on January 6. As if that’s not mad enough, the Armenian Orthodox Christians cut loose on January 19. God only knows what they get up to. Something involving nude wrestling and coma-inducing folk dancing, I imagine.

All I know is that you don’t want to arrive in Manger Square looking for a bed at this time of year. You can also forget about getting the Bethlehem Municipal Council to do anything. That bomb crater outside your house? Best you fix it yourself. And don’t even think about going for a Sunday afternoon drive. By the time you have your permits and talked your way through the Israeli roadblocks and checkpoints it will be Easter and you will have to turn around and come back.

Christmas just isn’t the same without Father Christmas and it’s a shame that the cheerful old pederast can’t put in an appearance in the Holy Land. If a strange man in an ill-fitting red suit and long white beard tried moving around the West Bank at night with a sack full of parcels, an Israeli soldier would shoot him in the head. No doubt about it.

Christians would have us believe that Jesus, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, could return to Earth at any time. Fair enough. I believe that we evolved from sea monkeys. So who is bonkers – me or the Christians? It’s a tough call.

If Jesus hasn’t cut his hair and got a proper job by now, there is a good chance that this is the year his father kicks him out of the house. “Aw, c’mon Dad,” he might say. “Not Bethlehem again. Conditions are worse than ever. And it’s full of pushy tourists.”

“Fine,” God might say. “Fish Hoek it is, then.” God, if you’re listening, which I know you’re not, let me just say that the Deep South is hardly the best of places to deliver your embattled son unto us once more. For a start, this verdant valley is already infested with child-bearing “virgins” loudly insisting that the holy spirit had come over them. This is usually followed by the cries of angry fathers: “You lying little slut! What’s his name?”

Christmas is absolutely the worst time of year for the Second Coming. Parking is a nightmare and every room at every inn has someone from Joburg in it. And you can forget about sleeping in a stable. The DA council is bound to have a by-law preventing that sort of thing, especially if donkeys are involved. Perhaps check for cancellations on

You would also be hard-pressed to find three wise men in Fish Hoek, let alone three kings. Your best bet would be three cross-dressing queens from Ocean View. Camels, oddly enough, aren’t a problem. The trannies need only nip across the road to Imhoff’s Gift farm where several ships of the desert are inexplicably moored.

In these harsh economic times, gold, frankincense and myrrh are in short supply, but I’m sure our surrogate Magi will be able to scrounge up a few interesting gifts. A snoek, a bag of crystal meth and a papsak of wine should do nicely.

It might also be a good idea to revise the ten commandments. We don’t have anything as impressive as Mount Sinai, but you could slip a couple of bucks to the shark spotter on Boyes Drive to play the part of Moses. In fact, there’s a good chance his name really is Moses. When you mention tablets, he will think you are talking about Mandrax. If you have any, give them to him.

And if you want anyone to take the new rules seriously, they are going to have to be written on the iPad 2. In Apple We Trust.

So sayeth the Gospel of Ben.

5 thoughts on “Oh, to be in Bethlehem on this auspicious day

  1. jurgen says:

    A German’s View on Islam – it’s well worth reading.
    This is by far the best explanation of the Muslim terrorist situation I have ever read.
    The author’s references to past history are accurate and clear. It’s not a lengthy read, it’s easy to understand, and it’s well worth the read.
    The author of this email is Dr.Emanuel Tanya, a well-known and well-respected psychiatrist.

    A man, whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II, owned a number of large industries and estates.
    When he was asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism.

    ‘Very few people were true Nazis,’ he said, ‘but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care.
    I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come.
    My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.’

    We are told again and again by ‘experts’ and ‘talking heads’ that Islam is the religion of peace and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace.
    Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the spectre of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.

    The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history.
    It is the fanatics who march.
    It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide.
    It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave.
    It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honour-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque.
    It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals.
    It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.

    The hard, quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the ‘silent majority,’ is cowed and extraneous.
    Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.
    China’s huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people..

    The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.
    And who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were ‘peace loving’?

    History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points:
    Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence.
    Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

    Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

    Now Islamic prayers have been introduced into Toronto and other public schools in Ontario, and, yes, in Ottawa too while the Lord’s Prayer was removed (due to being so offensive?) The Islamic way may be peaceful for the time being in our country until the fanatics move in.

    In Australia, and indeed in many countries around the world, many of the most commonly consumed food items have the halal emblem on them.
    Just look at the back of some of the most popular chocolate bars, and at other food items in your local supermarket.
    Food on aircraft have the halal emblem, just to appease the privileged minority who are now rapidly expanding within the nation’s shores.

    In the U.K, the Muslim communities refuse to integrate and there are now dozens of “no-go” zones within major cities across the country that the police force dare not intrude upon.
    Sharia law prevails there, because the Muslim community in those areas refuse to acknowledge British law.

    As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts – the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

    Lastly, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand.
    So, extend yourself a bit and send this on and on and on! Let us hope that thousands, world-wide, read this and think about it, and they also continue to send it on – before it’s too late.

    And we are silent……

  2. Jaime Abrahamse says:

    We Three Kings of Orient De Aar? One of the classier parts of that Northern Cape mecca…

  3. Mario says:

    Brilliant as always. Of course, there are some – many – who have no idea!!

  4. Irene says:

    I was wondering if you had a Facebook presence, and found a fashion photography page:, which informed me that Ben Trovato means ‘Well found’. Eh, well, if you can’t be named “Well hung”…
    However! I also found that you are very good for my skin: 😀

  5. Vernon Lazarus says:

    The Israelis are really BAD guys?? Yeah right! Sometimes I have to shake my head in disbelief at how your mind works.

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