This is going to be a lazy link post. Chicken Yoghurt says a lot of what went through my mind when Bob Geldof announced the plans for Live8. He makes the excellent point about the naïvety of Live8 organisers. When you think of how Tony Blair turned on his selective-hearing aid after the election, do you really think the other G8 leaders will even notice a million protestors on the streets of Edinburgh or a bunch of young people enjoying themselves at pop concerts? (
And that’s even with Tony Blair on the side of Africa…)
[Rant On]The organisers and supporters of Live8 may have altruistic purposes in mind, but who will benefit from it? Who will go to these concerts? Most likely fans of the bands/pop groups (Chicken Yoghurt highlights the predominance of white artists). What will these concerts achieve? Back-patting for those who attend, endless praise from the media about how all these rich-as-Creoste pop stars gave their time for free, and maybe a few seconds of attention to the inability of our super-rich nations to cancel unfair debts that have resulted from years of exploitation. To the cynical mind, it all smells like a massive PR exercise for all involved.
This isn’t sour-grapes ‘cos I won’t be here by then. It’s about being annoyed that they think that people need to be bribed to care. And that their good intentions are misguided. They probably think that the raising of such issues by celebrities and making those (unethically-made) wristbands trendy will raise awareness. But the reality is probably closer to the comments gathered by the Guardian at the Hay-on-Wye festival:
An 18 year old:
“We bought the Make Poverty History one this morning in Hay-on-Wye. Many of them you have to buy on eBay. I don’t know what Live Strong stands for, but it is the one that everybody has and it came in a smaller size, as I have very skinny wrists. They make the charity more cool.”
A 12 year old:
“I wear them because they’re trendy and it supports charity. This one is hard to find. I’ve also got Beat Bullying, Breast Cancer and Make Poverty History. If I knew it was unethically made I wouldn’t buy any more but it wouldn’t stop me wearing it. Loads of people are buying fake ones from the garage for 99p. They have nothing to do with charity.”
A 10 year old:
“I wear the bands because they are cool. I’ve got the most in my class. My favourite is the anti-racism one – it’s the most famous, every single person in my whole school is trying to get one. They are banned in school but we still wear them.”
You reap what you sow. [Rant Off]
Oh, and there’s no way a million people can fit in Edinburgh. Are they going to p*ss on the streets? ‘Cos even I have difficulty finding loo facilities here.
06 Jun ’05 update: From the BBC, news that the poor man has probably lost it. For those who watch Doctor Who: “Pity the Gel(do)f”.