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A very perculiar protest


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 15 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 15 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and write about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 15 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

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.

This 653rd post was filed under: News and Comment.

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