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A very perculiar protest

With Live8 continuing around the more affluent parts of the Western world, it would seem remiss of me not to blog about it today. But what’s left to say?

I could align myself with Simon Murray, and implore you to

understand that change will not happen by wearing a fashion accessory bracelet on your wrist, listening to a few pop songs and saying please… by making this small trip up the road I can learn and find out about these issues from those who have a better understanding than me and certainly a better understanding than the aforementioned millionaire pop stars and those whose sole interest in Africa lies in the economic interest of the corporations that run their countries rather than the wellbeing of the global population.

I could point out that

this is a very strange protest – a mass mobilisation that is essentially in support of government policy

There’s an observation to be made, in that many people ‘protesting’ against ‘poverty’ also marched against the war in Iraq on the basis that it’s illogical to declare war on a concept (the War on Terror).

There’s also the comment about the woolliness of the aims of Make Poverty History which allow enough wiggle room to drive several double-decker buses through (eg ‘Trade Justice’), in terms of announcing after the event that the G8 have helped, but not gone far enough (as will be the inevitable conclusion). And, of course, the fact that many African leaders don’t want ‘more and better aid’, they just want the barriers to their plans removed, so that they can work themselves towards a better future. Nobody seems to have bothered to meet with and ask these leaders – or indeed African citizens themselves – what they feel would be the best possible help for each of their individual countries and cultures.

But, for all it’s perceived failings, Live8 and Make Poverty History are attracting lots of people (referring more to the performers and organisers than the crowd, who probably care less about the campaign than about seeing the performers) who have genuine feelings on the subject, and genuinely want to help. Not actually help to solve anything, you understand, but want to help to moan about the current situation. But these people are giving their time and energy to something they see as a good cause. And that’s something that’s in fast decline in modern society. Not only that, it’s also brought the issues back home to an awful lots of people. So I think it’s right to applaud the efforts of these campaigns, however futile they may ultimately be.

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