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Aygen Erdentug

The Santa Claus figure, the Christmas tree and decorations that are associated with this Christian holiday have been adopted by liberal consumers in Turkey, a Muslim country. These Turks envisage Santa Claus, in his trademark red suit, as a gift bearer on the occasion of New Year's Eve. This societal development has consolidated the cultural distance not only between the upper and lower classes but also between the established middle class and the flourishing, new conservative middle class. In protest, the religiously conservative have produced sombre 'alternative gatherings' to remind Turks of their Muslim heritage.

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Note from the Editorial Board

The Challenges of Brexit and COVID

Around Christmas 2020, a deal featuring the “reasonable” divorce between the United Kingdom and the European Union was announced by representatives from both sides. This far-reaching political event—based, from the British side, on an ideology for

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Cristina Clopot, Ullrich Kockel, and Vytis Čiubrinskas

27 October 1945 – 29 December 2018 At the end of last year, the AJEC team received the sad news that Christian Giordano had suddenly died during his Christmas holidays in Vilnius. Christian was one of the founders of AJEC, shaped the

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Competing Pulses

Secular and Sacred in Hughes, Larkin and Plath

James Booth

Since the publication of his Selected Letters in 1992 Larkin's opinion of Hughes's poetry has become notorious: "No, of course Ted's no good at all. Not at all. Not a single solitary bit of good. I think his ex-wife, late wife, was extraordinary, though not necessarily likeable. Old Ted isn't even extraordinary." In other letters Lark caricatures his younger contemporary as 'the Incredible Hulk', and the 'the old crow . . . looking like a Christmas present from Easter Island' (SL, 636; 526). Larkin profoundly distrusted Hughes's bardic mystique. Nevertheless, though he derided Hughes the poet in private letters, his relationship with Hughes the man was amicable enough.

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Mark Gilbert and Gianfranco Pasquino

Unravelling the knots of Italian politics was as elusive a task as

ever in 1999. But the key thread, if anywhere, is to be found in the

interwoven themes of the creation of the D’Alema government in

October 1998 (and its subsequent political fall-out), the difficulty

of reforming the electoral law, and hence the hyper-fragmented

party system, and the short, sharp crisis of the D’Alema cabinet

just before Christmas 1999. Short though the crisis was, it jumbled

up politics once more and left new loose ends that will gradually

unwind themselves in the coming year.

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Jari Lyytimäki

How can humor illustrate critical trends related to social, economic, and ecological sustainability? This article is based on a case study that focused on the film Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) and two related short films—Rare Exports Inc. (2003) and Rare Exports: Official Safety Instructions (2005). These fantasy films employ irony and dark humor that reverse the popular impressions related to Santa Claus and his elves and, more generally, exotic northern nature and culture. By representing the gentle Santa Claus as a savage hybrid creature brutally punishing those not adhering to certain social norms, these films break several conventional dichotomies between good and evil, human and animal, and society and nature. The use of dark humor and irony may compromise attempts to create public understanding based on best available scientific knowledge, but it also opens up complementary and potentially fruitful ways to discuss sustainability issues. Irony provides opportunities to identify and criticize unsustainable trends and to challenge and disclose dichotomies that may otherwise remain unnoticed.

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Michael McGuire

demobilizations and remobilizations came at American aid societies’ 1917 Christmas celebrations. Anglo-American Friends represented their Christmas fetes at Gruny, Villers-St-Christophe, and Aubigny as advancing “the stern business of reconstruction.” Quakers

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Interfaith Families

A Muslim Perspective – Part I

Karin (Karima) Paustian

baptisms, confirmations (including my own at the age of fourteen), weddings, funerals and maybe even the beautiful services on Christmas Eve. With other religions, however, I had very little, almost no contact up until the two years I spent in London from

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Sheila Shulman

of bloodshot eyes over our glasses through the smoke of too many cigarettes eventually we laughed II years later many changes later we spent a perfect Christmas day in a house suddenly quiet after such storms my lover’s madness my violence a breather

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Rabbi Michael Hilton

dish doesn’t turn out right, change the name and don’t bat an eyelid. A fallen soufflé is only a risen omelette. It depends on the self-confidence with which you present it’. At the Christmas/Chanukah period, he would say, ‘the best festival present you