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July 05, 2005

The Song Remains The Shame

stipe.jpg Fine. I admit it.

I didn't watch Live8. But then I can never stand to watch train wrecks either.

What is it about tony causes like World Poverty that shuts off the critical thinking skills of grown men? That makes them regress to the mental age of small boys? Suddenly everyone thinks they're Peter Pan - "Ooooh... if we all just Make A Wish, we'll suddenly sprout wings and bash off to that magical place called NeverNever land (the blue mask is optional) where we'll Never Be Hungry Again..."

Here we are again, at another enormous, Mega-Concert full of glittering rock stars who leap onstage full of chemically- or herbally-induced energy and and earnestly promise to eradicate World Poverty the way LiveAid wiped out hunger. Err... yeah. Right.

End World Poverty? Wake me up when we've kicked its ass.

What is wrong with these people? Simon Jenkins sums up the low-carb filler that passes for thought at Live8. Don't think, act! If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. The problem is, no one tries to understand the problem, so their knee-jerk reactions are an exercise in vapid and ultimately counterproductive do-goodererism:

Geldof is to fast politics what McDonald’s is to fast food. He is simply good at it. How can you do nothing, he screams, “watching people live on TV, dying on our screens!”. Fill up on McCartney and Madonna and you will feel much better.

Thus in the 1960s did students donate their virginity to Oxfam. Thus in 1969 did John Lennon and Yoko Ono stage a week-long “bed-in for peace”. Critics were dismissed as “for war”. Now they are for dead babies. Nothing changes.

I'm already imagining the slogans: Hump To End World Hunger...doh!...no, no that can't be right.

Live 8 is clearly an echo of Live Aid, Geldof’s money-raising spectacular for Ethiopian famine in 1985. Live Aid was a spontaneous response to what television presented as a crisis. Its outcome has been hotly debated, most recently by David Rieff in this month’s Prospect magazine. Showering money, trucks and food on Mengistu’s Ethiopia entrenched a vicious regime and aided one of the most cruel forced migrations in history. Ethiopia was never short of food.

Live 8 seems to acknowledge this critique. The £20m it raises will go not on poverty but on itself. Not a penny will go to Africa.

velvet.jpg This has got to be the Ultimate PoMo Charity: a fundraiser in which not one thin dime is going directly to the intended recipients. So what are these Derring Do-gooders raising? Lay it on me, baby:

Indeed a potential fundraising opportunity, which might at least have bought a planeload of anti-Aids drugs, has become an exhibition of high-tech media co-ordination and a celebrity fiesta. Geldof has given up on money. He rephrases Lennon’s “All you need is love” as “All you need is awareness”.

Wow. For 30 years or more, the industrialized world has been bombarded with guilt about the poor and starving throngs on the Dark Continent. We don't need more awareness. I wonder if it ever occurred to Geldof and Co. to try transporting some of this "awareness" to Africa... say, to some of those corrupt despots who keep circumventing outside attempts to help struggling nations?

If Geldof seems unaware where the problem lies, Mark Steyn hits the nail squarely on the head:

Africa is a hard place to help. I had a letter from a reader the other day who works with a small Canadian charity in West Africa. They bought a 14-year-old SUV for 1,500 Canadian dollars to ferry food and supplies to the school they run in a rural village. Customs officials are demanding a payment of $8,000 before they'll release it.
There are thousands of incidents like that all over Africa every day of the week. Yet, throughout the weekend's events, Dave Gilmour and Co were too busy Rocking Against Bush to spare a few moments to Boogie Against Bureaucracy or Caterwaul Against Corruption or Ululate Against Usurpation. Instead, Madonna urged the people to "start a revolution". Like Africa hasn't had enough of those these past 40 years?

But like the UN, folks like Geldof, Bono, and Madonna would rather rail on at safe targets like George Bush and Tony Blair. It's so much easier to bite the hand that feeds you than one that might just bite back.

Posted by Cassandra at July 5, 2005 07:07 AM

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Thank you. I am so gladd you told it like it is.
Put the responsibility right back where it belongs on corruption.

Interesting take on that, in light of your post on the moral relativism of society and politics.

Religion is supposed to bring out the best in people, not the beast. It seems that being aware makes you moral. Changing hearts would mean that
those who are preying on their own people would
be moved and their hearts softened.

How many plagues did it take Pharaoh to change his heart?


Posted by: Cricket at July 5, 2005 09:50 AM

Africa sucks aid dry. Until you change those in charge there, all aid just feeds the beast of oppression.

Posted by: KJ at July 5, 2005 10:39 AM

Would that it could suck bleeding hearts dry too...

Posted by: Cr'Q't at July 5, 2005 12:09 PM

I saw these numbers on global tv news, sorry no link;

Aid to Africa in US $;

In the 1950's ; 2 billion

In the 1980's ; 67 billion

Expected in 2005; 80 to 90 billion

This accomplishes two things;

- The do-gooders feel good about themselves

- The corrupt african government gets more money and becomes more powerful

( reminds me of oil for food, another left-supported horror...)

And the poor africans keep suffering and dying as they have been for the last 55 years or so...

Did you know that some of those multi millionaires performers at Live 8 received gift bags worth up to $ 12,000 ?
( It was on Yahho news, yesterday .)

While the left is sending money to a regime that causes an african to die evey 3 seconds, the right supports a war that has liberated 50 million people from oppression .

Is Bush a criminal or is the do-gooder left?


Posted by: Friend of USA [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 5, 2005 01:52 PM

Just found more numbers at the Washington times;

...The example of Nigeria says it all. Figures released last month by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, as reported in the London Daily Telegraph, reveal that in the 45 years since Britain granted independence in 1960 a succession of despots squandered $387 billion (that's a "b," not an "m"), almost to the dollar the sum of all Western aid to all of Africa between 1960 and 1997. One of the despots, Gen. Sani Abacha, now safely dead, is believed to have looted Nigeria's vast oil reserves of more than $5 billion in just five years.

Posted by: Friend of USA [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 5, 2005 02:21 PM

Guess the anti-america crowd will need more therapy when they read the following...
( What am I saying?! These are facts, and fatcs don't exist in their little world...)

US donations to Africa outstrip Europe by 15 to 1
(Frasier Nelson)

PRIVATE American citizens donated almost 15 times more to the developing world than their European counterparts, research reveals this weekend ahead of the G8 summit. Private US donors also handed over far more aid than the federal government in Washington, revealing that America is much more generous to Africa and poor countries than is claimed by the Make Poverty History and Live 8 campaigns.[...]

You can read the rest at ; News.scotsman.com

Posted by: Friend of USA [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 5, 2005 02:53 PM

Sorry Cassandra, I know this my fourth post in a short time but this is too good, it's from the above article;

...Church collections, philanthropists and company-giving amounted to $22bn [BILLION] a year, according to a study by the Hudson Institute think-tank, easily more than the $16.3bn in overseas development sent by the US government. American churches, synagogues and mosques alone gave $7.5bn in 2003 - a figure which exceeds the government totals for France ($7.2bn) and Britain ($6.3bn) - according to numbers from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development which deal a blow to those who claim moral superiority over the US on aid.


Told ya it was good !

Posted by: Friend of USA [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 5, 2005 03:03 PM

So, THAT is what happened to the money! They squandred it on email scams on the internet.

Posted by: Cricket at July 5, 2005 03:05 PM

I remember the first LiveAid concert and I was in junior High then.I used to believe all that stuff,but not anymore.also all you had was a bunch of has been rockers who haven't put out any music for the last 20to30 years,and these people haven't grown up and realizes how the real world works.Africa's problem as fofUSA pointed out isn't money,it is corruption and to add to that a braain drain on the Continent.When the people leave they don't return,leaving the sort of craven deficits that we continue to see there.It is time that the left face the music like many other people in this country and place the blame where it belongs,on the corrupt governments,and stop defending these goons.We've waisted enough resources on them,besides they have what they need,diamond mines,goldmines,and oil.They got resources it just isn't being used properly because you have no account people still running things.

Posted by: Lisa Gilliam at July 6, 2005 09:16 PM

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