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Why I’m not supporting Live 8

Why I’m not supporting Live 8

Duncan Riley> The Blog Herald is a not a political blog and I hope it never will be, but I’ve been emailed by a few people asking me to link to blogs and related sites covering Live 8. Whilst I respect the people who have asked, and know that many supporting Live 8 do so with good intent, I won’t be supporting Live 8, and its not just my mostly general dislike of modern music that’s driving it (note I do like Coldplay though :-) )

Here’s my beef. The Aims of Live 8 are said to be as follows:
“Live 8’s aim is to get the attention of the leaders of the eight largest industrialized nations, the Group of Eight or G-8, ahead of their July 6 meeting in Scotland. The message: Forgive Africa’s debt and formulate a concrete plan to double aid, wipe out hunger and poverty, and help Africans become viable trade partners to the rest of the world.”

All very well and good, but it ignores the real problem in many countries in Africa and that’s governance. Seriously, ask youself, we went through “Live Aid” 20 years ago, Western countries have spent billions of dollars in aid in that time in Africa, and how much further have we advanced today?… In the most part: ZILCH. And the aims of Live 8 will achieve the same, throw some more money at the problem and hope it will go away. Guess what people, it won’t. The whole guilt industry that Western society is to blame for the plight of the African people is rubbish. If the same held true then why is Asia booming? Again the issue at hand is Governance. Most of the world stands silent whilst the butcherer of Zimbabwe Robert Mugagbe destroys the homes of millions of people all because they didn’t vote for him. Does Live 8 look at challenging Mugabe? Of course not, because we are to blame, not the Goverments of many of the nations of Africa. Seriously ask yourself this…we talk about forgiving debt. How did all these nations come to be in such as great debt? They borrowed the money in the first place and they mis-spent it. How much longer must we keep spending billions on Africa whilst the majority of people live in poverty or in the case of a number of countries now, actually die out. Debt relief will make NO DIFFERENCE because those same countries that F*cked up their finances in the first place will continue to do so. The Western world will continue to ignore the political genocide in Zimbabwe because its not PC to talk up about these things in “black countries”. Want to help the people of Africa? Write to your goverment no matter where you live and urge them to take a stand in favour of democracy and good governance in Africa, because the only real future Africa will have is if this happens.

Update: Jason Calacanis is back stage at Live 8. Don’t begrudge anyone attending and a great line up, but lets all think a bit more deeply. Why is Africa so f*cked up?.

View Comments (15)
  • You’re absolutely right, Duncan. Most of those dictators claim to be Marxists who stand for helping “the people”, as Mugabe does. But Marxism is just an inversion of an aristocratic society, with the proles replacing the peasants. The only type of society in human history that has delivered prosperity deep into the lower classes is a middle class one ~ the despised bourgoise of the communists. They spread power widely and create businesses, hence employment, and depend on a constant stream of go-getters rising from the lower tiers of society. The Western, free, democratic model is the only one which will work in Africa or the Middle East. But how many of those who support Live 8 with their emotions actually want that? Most see an anti-enterprise, neo-Marxist solution, run by the government (corrupt as it may be) as the future. Few attending today will support property rights (essential for creating the capital for small businesses), rule of law (for stability and continuity), and a black, bourgoise platform ( to provide the owner-managers of enterprises) as the way forward. All other schemes will simply drain into the parched African plains, as they have done in the past.

  • Thanks Duncan,

    Unfortunately, tho’, this PC BS isn’t limited to Africa, is it…

    My feelings about being PC is that it’s killing people all over the world and is just a pathetic attempt to “get people to like me.” But – “they’ll” put a “spin” on whatever needs to be spun because humanity appears to have some very sick motives underlying everything. And God, or whatever Higher Power we might believe in, is being completely lost in the shuffle.

    Damn shame – all of it!

    Have a great day,


  • Sure, it’s not limited to Africa, but the net result in Africa speaks for itself. I can’t wait for a blogger to start a Live-8 style push to highlight what’s going on in Zimbabwe because I want to be the first to promote it. And while I’m at it, I think it was Swaziland, but I could be wrong, where 1/3 of the entire population is dying of Aids, and I’ll tell you now: no amount of money will fix the problem, only good governance will address it. Money is never the solution: the best people to fix problems are people themselves, and people are led by their Government.

  • I agree with you, Duncan, and I appreciate someone as “public” as you saying such in a very public forum.

  • You know, I just wrote virtually the same thing this afternoon (Live 8 not the way to save Africa) with some more information.

    In order for Africa to prosper, peasants need to become the real owners of their primary asset — land — over which they currently have no property rights. — Moeletsi Mbeki

  • Live 8 was the most effective brain-washing programme I’ve ever seen. Snap your fingers every three seconds for an African child. Sing along. Thought leadership by heroes. Crowd conformity. Moral satisfaction. You really could start to believe the simple message, that somehow all that’s stopping ‘Making Poverty history NOW!’ is a group of 8 world leaders.

  • The eight men sitting round the table at Gleneagles this week simply don’t have the power to enforce the outcomes that Live8 and its supporters are demanding. They are all constrained in various ways. Bush can’t suspend the enterprise culture of the US by a snap of his fingers. Probably Blair has the most raw power of any of them, which is why he’s been leading the show. As Hugh points out, Africa isn’t a single entity. Each country has its own priorities. The difference between the Islamic north and sub-Saharan Africa is profound. So the question is wrong. Africa can’t be treated as a sick person. It’s like many people in various states of health.

  • Just to add I’ve just been reading the morning paper here and an article I read hit the spot about Live 8:
    “Oh Lord, this will mean more Mercs for jerks”
    Without going through the whole thing it details which African leaders by which types of Mercede Benz…again governance is what’s killing Africa, not the G8.

  • Come to think of it, Duncan, the G8 is as daft as Live8. It was set up by that French would-be aristocrat, Giscard d’Estaing ~ yes, he who produced the swaggering “European Constitution” so decisively rubbished by his own voters and the Dutch. G8 was never meant to be a world government. But egotists like Tony Blair have used it to promote their occasional chairmanship as President of the World (for a day). Personally, after Live8 and G8, I can’t wait for the AfterEight.

  • I agree Andy, it was just all the emails I got from people asking me to highlight their Live 8 blogs and sites.

  • Well said. Thank you for INTELLIGENTLY stating why you are not supporting Live 8. One thing I find ghastly about the help Africa movement is the lack of intelligent planning or follow through.

    What will throwing more money at the problem do? Obviously, we are dealing with either rogue governments or warlords or whatever else. Point is, we are dealing with bad people. Deal with them first, then maybe NGO’s and whoever can go in help. But if they continue to get shot up or have their food and other supplies ransacked, I doubt we will see any group going in there.

    Unfortunately, military intervention will be decried as imperialism and we’ll have the same problem over.

  • Good points raised in both the post and comments. I’m a Zimbabwean blogger who’s trying to become that blogger who, in the words of site admin, is going to “start a Live-8 style push to highlight what’s going on in Zimbabwe because I want to be the first to promote it.”

    I’m currently trying to get people to inundate Mugabe’s office with “furious faxes.” See this and help out if you feel led;

  • G8 & Live 8 aren’t going to fix all of Africa’s problems, by a long shot, but getting more anti-viral Aids medication into Africa can only be a good thing…if you guys have some grand scheme for how to overthrow multiple African Governments I’d love to hear it, but otherwise I personally think you should keep your complaining to the vast majority of the population who aren’t trying to help AT ALL. However misguided you may find their techniques, supporters of Live 8 have at least put their money where their mouth is…

    Just my 2 cents.

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