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Jett Superior laid this on you on || July 5, 2005 || 9:25 am

Tried to watch the pathetic coverage of mindless sheep watching mega-millionaire rock stars encouraging them to vote away their own wealth to fund African despots, but MTV seemed more interested in having their VJs yapping at each other and showing interviews with geo-economic and political luminaries like Dave Matthews and Natalie Portman.

Even Sting seemed irony-deficient as he sang a modified version of “Every Breath You Take” – threatening the G8 leaders that “we’ll be watching you” obviously thinking of his villa in Tuscany he could be conducting said surveilance from. Ahem…

In case you were wondering why ANOTHER concert was necessary when we’d clearly solved world hunger with the original Live Aid show 20 years ago (didn’t we?), a hint can be found in
“Slaking a thirst with a fire hose” by Wesley Pruden:

This must be Tuesday, because poverty in Africa ended Monday.

All it took were a few chords, a lot of screaming, several acres of dirty hair and a cloud cover of lethal body odor. When the last guitar strings snapped Saturday night at those Live 8 concerts across the world, promoter Bob Geldof’s over-the-hill gang had the prescription: just stuff a few billion dollars down the bottomless holes on the Dark Continent.

“This is the greatest rock show in the history of the world,” cried the announcer at the London concert. Gushed a disc jockey on XM Satellite Radio: “This is the single most important concert ever.”

No one wanted to stop there. Shouted one of the “musicians” of a group called Coldplay: “This is the greatest thing that’s ever been in the entire history of the world.”

As if we didn’t need another reason to think Coldplay sucks.

Since “the entire history of the world” includes the extinction of the dinosaurs, the eruption of Krakatoa, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the construction of the pyramids, the Resurrection of Christ and man’s landing on the moon, Live 8 had to be impressive mush.

But this week the grown-ups take over, as grown-ups always must, when the G-8 economic summit commences in Scotland under the baton of Tony Blair, who not only wants to eliminate African poverty but to end global warming before Christmas.

The nations of the West must do something to ease the brutal pain of generations of unbridled greed, ignorant incompetence and rabid corruption in Africa. It’s our Christian duty. But it will require discipline that is out of fashion in the 21st century, and it certainly isn’t what the simple-minded noisemakers of Live 8 had in mind.

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.

Tony Blair’s No. 2 man, George Brown, talks giddily of a Marshall Plan for Africa, but Nigerian despots alone have already pocketed the equivalent of six Marshall Plans. George C. Marshall’s miracle scheme for rebuilding Europe worked because mature European leadership was determined to rescue the continent from the ravages of World War II. There’s scant evidence that Africa’s “leaders” want anything more than to drink from the fire hose.

Live 8 concerts are nice, and the photographs of starving children will break the coldest heart, but unless Europe and the West accompany aid with the kind of supervision nobody has the courage to impose, the aid will wind up in the usual Swiss banks, and 20 years from now another generation of children will die while naive hearts bleed.

It’s not cruel and inhuman to want to prevent aid from going to tyrants – it’s cruel to attack those who want to provide REAL aid, not just have a self-congratulatory concert so that we can all pat ourselves on the back and tell each other how noble we are because “we care.”

5 worked it out »

  1. sugarmama 7.5.2005

    Heh. I thought similar things about Live8 when I caught part of on TV (especially the song that Dave Matthews played – it was popular 10 yrs ago when I was in college, which is a testament to their staleness).

    South Park has this episode that cracked me up. The gang made fun of hippies who profess their beliefs in social causes and have a big outdoor concert in which they get stoned and do nothing about the social causes they believe in.

    And how does one believe in the same things that Annie Lenox or Tom Cruise believes in? Those musicians live in a fantasy world, don’t worry about paying bills, have 2 bilion dollar mansions, and have WAY TOO MUCH FREE TIME on their hands. As far as I am concerned, they and I don’t even live on the same planet.

  2. Coelecanth 7.5.2005

    Talk – action = 0 and unfortunatly concerts are just tarted up talking. But keep in mind this spectacle might do some good in the end. Hopefully it’ll remind some ordinary folks that while the rock stars blither someone has to act. Spammers count on getting one sale for every million sent, the same ratio here would be a great.

  3. del 7.5.2005

    but….but… we can END poverty in our time…

    I am glad I am not the only cynical bastard out there about this issue. That add that states we can end poverty in mere moments by wishing it so and writing a blank check is like thinking I am going to get in shape again by buying a 3000 dollar bicycle and not having the discipline to ride it.

    The thing that has really irked me is I have heard David Gilmour (of Pink Floyd) restate the same taking point 3 times since he and Roger Waters decided to patch things up at Sir Pink Geldof’s request: “It’s utterly pathetic that the US gives such a small sum of thier GNP to emerging nations”. Jackass.

  4. john 7.6.2005

    The disgust over celebrity hyperbole and egotism seemed a little over the top. The event was largely about drawing attention to the problem, which will start more debates over the big problem of corruption in Africa governments. It’s not even a matter of it being a problem of despots. Democratically elected governments like Kenya’s are just as bad. In fact, democracy can often lead to violence when it allows the rise of demagogues that exploit economic inequalities (the book “World of Fire” is a good place to learn about this). The Moonie Times author puts false hope in the G8 “grown-ups.” Debt relief won’t put a dent in poverty or hunger either. Most African nations have agricultural based economies and European and US agro-subsidies are ruining them. The other problem is that trade liberalization doesn’t do much to poverty while creating vast wealth inequalities that tend to almost exclusively benefit foreign investors. Such was situation that caused the recent revolution in Bolivia. Hopefully, we’ll get more activists out of Live Aid and that means more people keeping the pressure on for real change.


    General Article


    subsidies to agriculture

    The Impact of Trade Liberalization on World Poverty

    Great place to learn about what’s going on in Bolivia


  5. john 7.6.2005

    Sorry—The book is ” World ON Fire” It’s by Amy Chua


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