Column: Reflecting On Empathy This Christmas

December 20, 2023 | 0 Comments

[Column written by Glenn Fubler & Lynn Millett]

Christmas is a time to reflect on empathy – considering the well-being of others. That story of a mother forced to give birth in a stable, inspires empathy in most. The wise men and the shepherds demonstrated the best of humanity. The Emperor’s decree to ‘kill all newborn baby boys’ demonstrated the worst.

Some Bermuda traditions foster the best. Boxing Day, a UK legacy of sharing food with challenged families. Gombeys – African roots complemented by Native American – galvanize a sense of community.

This Christmas the human family is witnessing tragic actions, demonstrating some of the worst of humanity. On October 7, members of Hamas took action which resulted in the death of children, along with 1,100 adult civilians and a few hundred soldiers. In response since then, the Israeli military is continuing action which has killed 9,000 children, amongst 17,000 civilian deaths [with 7,000+ missing under the rubble].

This has inspired global empathy, with millions mobilizing to end the slaughter. The UN General Assembly last week voted for a ceasefire in Gaza; 153 for and 10 against. Notwithstanding this widespread consensus, a ceasefire is being blocked, since the UN system has been captured by the few.

Empathy is required, at home and abroad. Bermuda has numerous families impacted by challenging circumstances. In that regard, those able, are called to act in solidarity with those challenged.

We 70-something byes – Glenn and Lynn – had a sense of reverence for all nurtured by our respective families and communities. This has resulted in our active involvement in social justice since our teens. Notably, we staged a two-man sit-in at the office of a local board member of a South African company during the movement to end Apartheid in the 1980s, inspired by exemplary colleagues such as Canon Thomas Nisbett and Margaret Carter.

We consider circumstances in Gaza, worse than those experienced under South African Apartheid.

As we affirm the essential spirit of Christmas – exemplifying empathy, regardless of race or religion – we invite fellow residents in celebrating the season to consider joining in a symbolic fast and pass during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, exemplifying the best.


  • Select water as the only beverage during that week. The Israeli regime turned off all water to Gaza on October 8, additionally banning food, fuel, medicine.
  • Consider choosing to forgo some solid food. The Israeli regime has blocked food to all the 2.3 million Gaza residents during this siege; Human Rights Watch has documented the cruel implications.
  • Make a fast of interaction; engaging in periods of quiet reflection. The Gaza population – mostly children – in what the former British Prime Minister Cameron called a prison camp have been bombarded for 2.5 months. This strip – six times the size of Bermuda – has been crushed with more explosive power than that of two Hiroshima bombs, thus far.


  • Donate money – any amount – towards sustaining the work of any local charity assisting challenged families.
  • Consider donating money – any amount – to assist Gazans; via either Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and/or Jewish Voices for Peace.
  • Revive the original Gombey tradition by sharing stories that demonstrate empathy with family and friends.

- Glenn Fubler & Lynn Millett

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