Wednesday, June 01, 2005

a new message



The BBC best explains what yesterday’s announcement by Bob Geldof & co was all about, plus there is a video link with the press conference itself.

First, I will say again that it is a complete coincidence (karma maybe?) that I did a post on my experience of Live Aid one week ago today – at the time I had no idea whatsoever this statement was imminent.

This series of concerts is not about raising money. It is about raising awareness toward poverty. Many think the original Live Aid concerts were a success simply because they raised millions on the day. The real success was the legacy left to people like me who are left astounded that poverty has actually gotten worse in Africa since then. Great though the day and the sentiment were, simply putting our hands in our pockets and then turning our attention to the next headline in the news cycle wasn’t anywhere near enough.

Geldof & co aim to get their message across when the leaders of the “G8” nations [hence the Live8 name – I can hear people scratching their heads saying “How did I miss Live Aids 2 through 7???"] ; France, Germany , Italy, Japan, the UK, the USA, Canada, and Russia, gather in Edinburgh on July 2 to discuss just how rich they are and how they fully intend to stay that way, and, quite likely, how they should probably expand to “G9” and allow China to join the party.

Here is the bones of Make Poverty History’s manifesto…

“Today, the gap between the world’s rich and poor is wider than ever. Global injustices such as poverty, AIDS, malnutrition, conflict & illiteracy remain rife. To end poverty and protect the environment we need Trade Justice not Free Trade. The unpayable debts of the world’s poorest countries should be cancelled in full, by fair and transparent means. Aid must also be made work more effectively for poor people.”

For me, this event is an opportunity for all those in the 18-35 [I can just about stretch it a year to include me] age bracket to show they can make a difference in politics in ways other than getting themselves arrested for anti-social behaviour and the like.

Around election time, when journalists ask “young people” what they want from their politicians, they invariably say little more than “lower tuition fees”.

Now they have a chance to say you wanna know what we want? THIS is what we want. And we know it can be done.

This time, it is not about putting your money where your mouth is.

This time, it's about putting your VOICE where your mouth is.

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