posted on Jul, 3 2005 @ 09:54 AM
21 years ago a singer/songwriter named Bob Geldoff came home from a day promoting a album his band was about to release. He settled down to watch a
bit of TV and saw something that would change his life. It was a documentory made by a reporter named Michael Buerk. It was a film highlighting the
plight in Africa, and contained images so disturbing it hit at the soul's of a nation. After a phone call to Midge Ure they started to phone as many
singers as they could. The result was the Band Aid single and it reached number 1 at christmas 1984.
Other contries followed suit and released their own singles which also were well received in their respective countries. An idea spawned from this to
go to the next stage quite literally. On July 13th 1985 a concert was held that ended up lasting over 16 hours. At the time it was a monumental
achievement both physically and technically. It didnt go off without a hitch for sure, but it did achieve its objective. It raised money, alot of
it. With hindsight though it did something more more important. It was the catalyst for the start of a change in the mindset of a lot of people.
People around the western world started the process that would wake them up to the fact that what we consider poverty is considered luxury in many
20 years later Bob was about to do it again, however this time he wouldnt make the mistake he made the first time. He now realised that no amount of
money raised would do anything significant to change an entire continent. For that sort of change something different was needed. For real change it
needed a change in mindset not from the people but from the governments of the nations who controlled the the debts of these countries. More
importantly the countries that controlled the trade of the world.
I dont know how many people reading this understand why trade is such a big problem. So I will try to summerise it briefly.
When these nations apply for financial assistance, these loans come from the IMF and World Bank. However they dont just hand over the cash, these
loans come with conditions. Countries are forced to become heavy exporters of products in order to meet the financial repayments. Now this wouldnt
be so bad accept for one major problem, they all are exporting the same thing. This results in price wars, with everyone trying to export for prices
cheaper than the next country. This forces these countries into an inescapable downward spiral that they cannot escape. They are forced to cut back
on expenditure in social areas such as health care and education, thus stunting their growth as a nation.
Carrying this on, when a nations export as compared to its import is as completely unbalanced as those of the third world nations, then the value of
its currency goes down. So the interest rates on the loans they have out go up, meaning they have to export even more product just to meet their
So what does this mean to individuals, well for me and you it basically means cheap banana's. However to the people living in these third world
countries, it means working for almost none existant wages under conditions which would get a business shut down so fast their feet wouldnt touch the
This right here is the real problem. The reason these people are in such a mess is because of the way they are treated by the Western World. Ive
seen people here say, why dont they get themselves out of their own mess.
BECAUSE WE WONT ALLOW THEM TO
We live in a society that is ruled by capitalism. It very notion of capitalism means some people get rich and others get poor. Over time the rich
get richer and the poor get poorer and this is the way it is going to change until something is done to change the mindset of the entire western
So moving on to yesterdays concert. It is now almost 20 years to the day since the first Live Aid concert. The people behind that event are smarter
and wiser to the problems. So instead of asking for money from you and me they decide to do something different. They want to educate the people,
make them realise what the problem is. Only once you understand the issues, can you begin to accept that real change is needed. However most people
reading this cannot accept the fact that they can do anything about it. Well this time we can make a difference to the lives of an entire continent.
Maybe not so much those that are there now, but certainly those that are their in 20 years time. This is not going to be a quick fix, but a gradual
change of attitudes over time.
History tells us that this is possible, it is by its very nature the one thing that makes us stand out as humans. We have this ability to change and
adapt very easily. We are not driven by instinct but by intelligence, we have the capacity to make choices, to decide our own futures.
In the last 100 years, we have all but eliminated slavery, we have cut down racism and sexism to a fraction of what it once was. The lives of most of
you would be completely unrecogniseable to those people who were in our places even 30 years ago. Every day that goes by, the less important national
boundries become. We are now starting to wake up to the fact that the futures of people thousands of miles away, is just as important as your next
door neighbour. That every human should be born with equal rights to a basic standard of life.
Yes it true that even Western Nations have their own problems with poverty and hunger.
However how many of those people are on the streets were destined to spend their lives from the day they were born?
How many of them have absolutely no escape from the way they live?
How many of them have no access whatsoever to clean water?
How many of them live in a nation where they have no access whatsoeve to drugs which we can buy in the local supermarket for next to nothing?
Make no mistake on this, Western World Poverty and Third World Poverty are NOT the same thing. Poverty in the West is an indivdual thing. It is not
the norm, the majority of the people in the countries we live in have access to all the basic requirements to life.
In the third world, it is the norm and it is poverty on a whole new scale. That is the difference right there.
This is what yesterdays concert is trying to tell us. That we as people cannot allow this to continue, we must not let this continue. 8 Concerts
held at the same time throughout the world is not going to change anything, but it was never meant to. Whether change happens or not is up to us, we
have to decide whether or not yesterdays events are just a moment, or the start of a movement. A shift in attitudes towards a more global
If everything that happened yesterday is forgotten tomorrow then it was a total waste of time. However if you like I, watched that moment when Bob
Geldoff walked onto the stage, just before Madonna was due to come on and watched a film from 20 years ago about the plight in Africa. A film that I
had seen so many times and yet was still affected by the suffering that was shown in it. Then the moment straight afterwards where a picture of a
baby girl, minutes from death was shown. When that same girl (now a beautiful young 20 year old university graduate) was led onto the stage. A
moment where I unashamedly broke down in tears, a moment that has brought tears to my eyes as I recall that image whilst writing this. A moment that
will stay with me for the rest of my life.
A moment that made me realise that change is possible.