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Enjoy responsibly

IT’S Christmas time again!

Many are already in the mood to make merry on the special holiday which most Christians say is meant to mark the birth of Jesus Christ, the central figure in that religion.

Although a few others dismiss it as a pagan holiday advanced by commercial interests, the significance of Christmas cannot be underestimated.

The pious and irreligious, famous and ordinary, young and old — people from all walks of life are captivated by the popular holiday.

Even the poor — who are the majority in our Lesotho — scrounge around to put the best meal on the table for that day.

Beer flows too to complete the merriment.

But that’s when many normally lose it.

Over the years we have had many innocent lives lost during the festive season because of behaviour linked mostly to alcohol.

Already, hardly a day passes without someone being stabbed or shot dead in Lesotho.

If it’s not robbery, it’s about crimes of passion or stupid revenge.

Too many guns — licensed and unlicensed — are in the hands of wrong people, mostly excitable fools.

Knives are perceived as a must-have accessory by most boys and men.

In the over-excitement and thoughtlessness that normally comes with the festive season, these weapons are likely to be unnecessarily used to kill or harm other people.

The senseless deaths of mostly innocent souls must cudgel us into serious soul-searching about violent crime this Christmas and every other day.

Then we have lives and limbs that are at risk on our roads.

We already have too many reckless and poorly trained or totally unlicensed drivers on our roads.

With alcohol, they become more dangerous.

The police are expected to mount roadblocks and dish out many traffic tickets this holiday.

That will not help much in stopping the carnage on our roads.

The solution lies in all drivers behaving responsibly on the roads.

If you want to drink yourself to death, better stay at home instead of becoming a menace to other people and property.

Yet the bingeing and partying associated with Christmas is also expected to come with other forms of recklessness.

Irresponsible sexual behaviour is one of them.

We must remember that about 270 000 people — nearly a quarter of Lesotho’s 1.8 million people — are said to be living with HIV and Aids.

At least 300 000 children have been orphaned after losing either a parent or both to the pandemic.

We must do everything we can to get these chilling statistics down.

The painful truth, which we will have to live with, is that our salvation lies not in the discovery of a cure but in stopping new infections.

We must realise that through our actions we either help fight or worsen this pandemic which has wreaked havoc in Lesotho.

Let’s behave responsibly and enjoy a peaceful Christmas.

May 2011 bring better fortunes for all.

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