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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Live 8 for African Awareness. You’re Kidding, Right?

Johannesburg to Philadelphia, from Berlin to Tokyo, musicians and fans gathered for a universal music marathon to raise awareness of African poverty and press the world's most powerful leaders to resolve the problem at the Group of Eight summit in Scotland next week.

On Saturday, July 2, 2005 in 8 venues around the world, Berlin, Tokyo, Rome, Paris, London, Toronto, Johannesburg, Philadelphia celebrity types and their adoring fans all gathered to make the population aware of people starving in Africa. In fact one statistic given stated 30,000 people die of poverty and starvation everyday.

Somehow I’m having trouble seeing how a cavalcade of rock music stars and the genre’s faithful meeting for a nonstop music concert at various places all over this planet will stop hunger and poverty in African nations. No tickets were sold. No money was collected as donations from the audience. I’m confused. How does this mega entertainment industry party help untold thousands who are starving in Africa?

The event seemed to help the sagging career of one former Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney. McCartney along with the band U2 gave a rousing performance of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” to open the show in London. The result, according to Adam White of Universal Music International, was the recording of the performance became No. 1 on the iTunes charts in Britain, Canada, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Belgium. Universal Music International says the track was also No. 2 in Spain and No. 3 in France. I just don’t understand how musicians giving a free performance at an event that will no doubt help their careers, burgeoning, sagging or otherwise, will aid starving people in Africa. (?)

With the goodly number of musicians, some from the original event held 20 years before at Live Aid to help the starving in Africa, present why weren’t they just asked for a couple thousand a piece. I think they could have fed at least half of the 30,000 they spoke of all during the day. The amount of money spent by the corporations to sponsor this event could have saved 30,000 from immediate starvation on July 2 '05.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a party as much as anyone, and I did enjoy the music. Linkin Park, Jay-Z, Black-eye Peas, Destiny’s Child, Madonna, Tim McGraw. It was great to see my hometown of Philadelphia, and the other international cities showcased. I just don’t see what it had to do with Africa. More like the rich white people having a party because they are worried about the poor black slaves on their plantations. Or Marie Antoinette worried that the peasants only had bread.

Harry Chapin did a song called, “Dance Band on the Titanic.” Maybe we should call this, “Party Celebrating Death and Starvation in Africa.” It was a great party, can’t wait till next year. And it allowed all viewers to feel so smug and righteous, “We are so conscientious, We are so concerned.” Yeah right.

I suppose this event will give a boost to tourism on the planet. Where shall I go, Paris, Rome, London, Philadelphia? No I want to go visit the starving poor in Africa. Or better yet, I’m going to send them money and do everything I can do. Uh huh!

Call me old. Call me a fogey. Call me an old fogey. The whole event was kind of lost on me. They have this great party invite every one of their economic strata...collect not one dime from those who attend...and say how wonderful they are for having this event.... I don't get it.

I think when the 8 leaders get together and make whatever decision they make, I hear they’ve already made some decisions to benefit the poorest nations of the continent, it is going to have nothing to do with the great big party in eight cities.

Helping the people in Africa? Please….!


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