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Saturday, July 02, 2005

Power and Entertainment

Let us not confuse the "Make Poverty History" campaign with Live 8.

For far too long the richest nations have fucked up the natural distribution of a world, which left well alone would produce enough food for everyone. And I for one applaud that cause to end global poverty.

So I will walk shoulder to shoulder with others in Edinburgh. As the leaders of the world's richest countries gather in Scotland for the G8 Summit, I will join tens of thousands of others in Edinburgh today demanding trade justice, debt cancellation, and more and better aid for the world's poorest countries.

Live 8 on the other hand is a part of, but not the whole picture.

I prefer to call it Christmas window-dressing, but sadly one so glittering that it might overshadow the real message.

I hope it will "bridge the world" and not merely become stale as it stays in the message and does not turn to action. Once the crowd leaves, I hope the audience doesn't say "We've danced for poverty, now we've done enough." It may be a global party, but what will happen after the party ends?

The truth about Live 8 is that it isn't trying to raise awareness but simply to rally the mob.

Nothing wrong with rallying the mob, unless the odour of being used as a political tool and economical gain stinks out the moral message.

Anyone who thinks that Live 8 artists will not be makeing any money, check out the sales of the artists that will appear on stage tomorrow.

Entertainment + Politics = Power

Of course power and entertainment are inextricably linked, and its impact on politics is nothing new. It may possibly be that the series of Live 8 concerts today is the largest of its kind in modern history, but this type of extravaganza was nothing to Imperial Rome. Here, politicians knew that keeping the mob happy was paramount to political success. However, will Live 8 have the impact on the G8 that the bloody coliseums once had on Roman Emperors? Or will politicians wise up like the Romans of old and begin to use this as a tool for merely more power while Africans still starve?

History will let us know soon enough.

Today Is The Day, But Do They Know It's Live 8?

A final interesting thought is the fact that, outside of Johannesburg, the people all this aid and charity is for actually have little or no knowledge of their angel protector Mr Bob Geldof or the huge concerts that are going on across the world. Would Mr Geldof say it is because the concerts are in the civilized world?

Now that is untrue and unfair. But maybe closer to the truth than Mr Geldof or I would like it to be.

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