Eleven crocodiles and an alligator

The Bible tells us that Jesus came to die for our sins and the Romans, upon the insistence of Israelite priests, obliged him. Whether we have since been saved is an interesting discussion for another day.
Oscar Kabatende
Oscar Kabatende

The Bible tells us that Jesus came to die for our sins and the Romans, upon the insistence of Israelite priests, obliged him. Whether we have since been saved is an interesting discussion for another day.

There is more than a little irony then that his birthday was arbitrarily fixed on a date that coincided with Roman celebrations of the winter solstice. 

Be that as it may and, despite my ability to grate on Christian nerves on the subject of the Almighty’s parenting skills, there’s always a little bit of magic about that day and the season as a whole. I hope everyone enjoyed a merry Christmas.

Last week’s events were mostly overshadowed by the impending birthday party for Christ. The death of the “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea [North Korea] brought on some chatter with lists of hilarious portrayals of the leader quickly becoming an internet favourite.

I liked the one that showed him at an adoption interview [available on YouTube – The Adoption Agency Kim Jong Il]. You would think that the death of the man who has been causing diplomatic ulcers in the Asian Far East for the last 15 years or so would draw more attention.

Yet even the Dear Leader could not match the star power of a man born 2000 years ago in a stable [the North Korean official version of Kim’s birth involves a mountain and double rainbows].

The Mayor of Kigali city made the news by passing, and then rescinding, an overzealous order to limit private celebration to midnight during this festive season. No one is entirely sure why he flip-flopped but I for one, I am happy that the Mayor had his ‘road to Damascus’ moment and changed his mind on what would surely been categorised as the killjoy move of the year.

The mayor, his rain-on-everyone’s-parade order and the quick volte-face were quickly forgotten too by the time Christmas came round.

The news out of Damme in Belgium about the discovery of 11 Nile Crocodiles and an Alligator at a private residence was the best story of Christmas. A tax investigation into a German resident of that town led to discovery, and subsequent rescue, of a reptilian bounty. The toothy beasts even managed to eclipse the sports cars that were discovered at the home.

The BBC article in a rare oversight  did not mention what kinds of sports cars were found at the residence but went on to describe the miserable living conditions of the crocodiles and alligator. You might have thought their mistreatment was worse than whatever tax fraud the authorities believed the owner was engaged in. 

How the man got the beasts and why is not known. I’m going to be uncharitable here and say that I hope they are never released from those facilities. It’s one thing to know about food cycles and pyramids, it’s quite another to be splashing around in a lake or river and wondering whether you are about to become lunch.

The countdown to 2012 is down to single digits and I would like to wish everybody a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. Oh, and do not believe the hype, the world is not ending next year, I am willing to bet that there will be a 1st of January 2013.

okabatende@gmail.com

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