Tuesday 14 June 2005

where you live should not decide whether you live or whether you die...

"Every single day, 30000 children die, needlessly, of extreme poverty.

On July 6th, we finally have the opportunity to stop that shameful statistic.

8 world leaders, gathered in Scotland for the G8 summit, will be presented with a workable plan to double aid, drop the debt and made the trade laws fair. If these 8 men agree, then we will become the generation that made poverty history.

But they'll only do it if enough people tell them to.

That's why we're staging Live 8. 5 concerts, 100 artists, a million spectators, 2 billion viewers, and 1 message... To get those 8 men, in that 1 room, to stop 30,000 children dying every single day of extreme poverty.

We don't want your money - we want you!"

[from the Live8 website]


One summer in 1985, I sat at home and watched a good chunk of Live Aid. I don't remember Bono pulling that girl out of the crowd. I don't remember Queen's famous performance. I don't remember Bob Geldof angrily hectoring the watching millions to hand over their money because "people are dying". Pretty much the only thing I do remember is Phil Collins performing at Wembley and then hopping onto a plane to get over to Philadelphia to perform a set at the US end of proceedings

Well. He is a legend.

And now this.

I know this is worthy, and the intentions are laudable.... but is it just me, or does the idea of a concert aimed at the leaders of the seven richest countries in the world (and Russia) not quite have the same simple appeal as the original concert 20 years ago? The original Live Aid was easy to understand: there was a famine in Ethiopia and money was needed immediately to help stave off a disaster. A concert was put together at short-notice. People paid money to watch the concert. The concert was on TV. The viewers made donations. Millions of pounds were made, and aid was shipped out to Ethiopia. Easy.

It wasn't just a short-term thing either. The Band Aid Trust had shown a deep and lasting commitment to providing long-term help to some of the poorest regions of Africa.

We've already heard a lot this year about "Making Poverty History" - Great Britain has the presidency of both the European Union and the G8. The British Government, and especially Gordon Brown, seem to have shown a real commitment to getting the richest nations in the world to drop the debt owed to them by the poorest nations in the world (I've covered this before, so catch up on the details here).

This all gives Bob Geldof an idea....

These 8 guys, the leaders of the richest countries in the world (and Russia) are the ones who can really make a difference. If these guys agree to drop the debt, then they could make a massive difference to the lives of millions of people. I know... let's have a series of concerts designed to put the eye of the world upon them as they meet in Gleneagles, and to try to embarrass them into dropping the debt. The tickets would be free, because we don't want money this time, we want to make a much bigger difference.

In a way you know what he means. A bit of concerted pressure on these men could make a far greater difference to the world than another few million pounds worth of donations from the public.

It's not quite as exciting though, is it? All of the excitement centres around the fact that people like Coldplay, Robbie Williams, Elton John, Aha, Duran Duran and a reformed Pink Floyd will be performing (and the Spice Girls might be) and not around the G8 summit at all.

Oh, and those free tickets? Who'd have thought that they'd end up on Ebay? (£1000 a pair, before Ebay took them off sale. I don't know why Geldof is so outraged. These wankers have been doing this for months now to every other gig, so why not this one?)

"Where are my feckin' oars?"

Bless him. His heart's in the right place, but it's all a bit half-arsed isn't it? I know.... we need the French to come over. Let's send some boats! Yeah! Some boats... let's go and pick them up and take them to Scotland!! Let's march to Edinburgh! I'm gonna walk up the M1! Fuck yeah! that'll show them. Mind you, it makes a change from his usual emotional blackmail though, eh? People are dying! Give them your fucking money!

Maybe I'm just bitter because I didn't get tickets.

He's right about one thing though.... those bastard politicians should drop this pointless and destructive debt and do something positive for once in their worthless, self-serving lives.

I think we can all agree on that.

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