“It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it,” was the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. “Look here.”
From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.
“Oh, Man! Look here. Look, look, down here!” exclaimed the Ghost.
They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.
IGNORANCE and WANT
IGNORANCE and WANT
Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude. “Spirit! are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.
“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers.
This boy is Ignorance.
This girl is Want.
Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And bide the end!”
“Have they no refuge or resource?” cried Scrooge.
“Are there no prisons?” said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. “Are there no workhouses?” The bell struck twelve. (The Spirit of Christ dies)
I can never fail to be moved by the this scene from Charles Dickens immortal tale, 'A Christmas Carol'. In this chapter the Spirit of Christmas Present arrives at Scrooges home with such gaiety and oppulence, takes Sccrooge on an amazing journey to see how the Christmas Spirit reaches the bleakest corners of humanity, but as the 12th night approaches, he fades and dies.
But just before his passing, in damning contrast to man's tempororary love and generosity to all mankind, the Christmas spirit leaves and we are reminded of the stark, naked truth that poverty of mind and body is the reality of daily life for millions of children.
It is sobering how Charles Dickens labels the boy 'ignorance' and the girl 'want'. Today maybe it should be the other way round when some 66 million girls in the world are denied an education by patriarchal societies. But there is a campaign and a champion with a single, simple goal, to delete that statistic entirely. Her name is Malala Yousafzai, known by most as the girl shot in the head by the Taliban because she spoke up regarding girls education.
Below are links to her organisation, some video interviews of her and her father and the trailer of a new documentary about her life. For me it is the most worthy of causes.
“Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,” said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit’s robe, “but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?”
A Christmas Appeal
Feature Film Trailer
TED Talk, Malala's father
Best selling book that inspired the film