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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Live Aid and Live 8, and what it's all about

The BBC ran two fantastic programmes tonight charting the making of Live Aid and then the event itself, back in 1985.

It was fascinating to watch, especially as I was just four years old at the time and have little first hand recollections :-). Apart from how much better some of the people involved look now twenty years later (Paula Yates and Midge Ure in particular!), something that struck me was the clarity of purpose - raising money to feed people starving to death in Africa.

Twenty years later things are not so clear. Live 8 is going off, but why? Certainly people are still starving, but this is not a raise-money telethon. It seems to be concerned with a much more nebulous message - getting the G8 to 'end poverty'.

This raises many questions whose answers are not obvious. What causes poverty? What can be done about it? Are these things the G8 can change? What about us as individuals - what can we do? People talk about 'cancelling debts' - but is that it? Is that all that causes the desperate problems still happening across Africa? I think not.

Wikinews can help here. We're no public campaigning platform, and we're not going to be able to answer all of those questions. But I hope as we draw closer to Gleneagles and Live 8 we can start filling in some of the blanks.

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