Tuesday, June 01, 2004

LIVE AID II KILLED OFF?: We're assuming that Bono's sudden going cold on Live Aid II would have been a result of Bob Geldof's less-than-welcoming comments on the first rumours of the plan; now, Bono is saying there'd be no point in doing a Live Aid because it wouldn't raise enough money - which seems curious to us, because we've yet to hear of any single charity event which ever did raise enough in one go to solve a problem in one go. We can think of many good reasons not to have a new Live Aid, but "it'd still leave some cash wanting" isn't one of them. "I was going to run the London Marathon dressed as a chicken, but the money I'd raise wouldn't actually fund the development of a drug to combat cancer, so there's no real point."


W. Farm said...

I remember talking to friend from South Africa who belittled the entire Live Aid effort to stop African famine. He recounted news stories widely published in Africa, but not so much in the US, about food rotting in warehouses or not being allowed off planes. The problem the Live Aid folks didn't understand, he told me, was that yes, there was a drought, but the famine was really caused by war, both because of displacement and because food is used as a weapon in many African conflicts. The local tribes or revolutionary groups or the governments involved were happy to have the food, but would only give it to their supporters, so people already starving continued to starve and people with plenty of food got more. "Stupid Americans," he said to me, "why can't you figure out it's got nothing to do with starving children and everything to do with war?Africa is always at or on the brink of war." And this, I guess, is the basic problem getting millionaire pop stars involved in anything. Money solves their problems, so why can't it solve everyone else's? While I agree that there should be some debt forgiveness as a justice issue, it would not surprise me if African leaders used any resulting economic latitude to buy more bullets instead of bread. After all, ending poverty can also mean just shooting all the poor people.

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

I do remember hearing some rumblings that perhaps Band Aid wasn't quite as great as we were lead to believe at the time - of course, since all the broadcasting companies had thrown their weight behind the efforts of Bob, there was never much proper investigation into the claims.

It's tricky though - food aid/no food aid does have a huge impact on politics: clearly, it's being used as a tool by Mugabe in Zimbabwe - but I'm not sure that's an argument for not providing anything at all.

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