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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Setting the record straight about Live8

I'm stunned at how many people, even African bloggers, don't understand Live8.

Some question how this will effect the price of tomatoes an African farmer gets at market. Well, markets dictate prices, and markets are dictated by trade policies. And trade policies are set by the G8. It's as simple as that - if the G8 made trade fair - if they binned their obscene farming subsidies, in particular - that African farmer will get a better price for his tomatoes.

Are you listening, Mr Chircac?

They also dispute how increasing aid will help. These bloggers are obviously a million miles away from the parts of Africa which are being torn apart by war, or are being devestated by drought. (In fact, if they've got internet access, they probably are.) Oh yes, more aid is needed. It will not cure all of Africa's problems, but no-one is pretending that it will.

It will save lives though.

In fact, aid goes a lot further. Small amounts of money can provide a water sanitation system. Tools for farming. A cart to transport their goods to market. It's tiny stuff, but it sets the people firmly on the road to development. But don't depend on governments to do the spending - do your part, too.

Possibly the most astonishing is how pedantic some are over people saying things like "the African problem". Everyone knows what that's referring to - the parts of Africa which really do have problems. People realise it's not all doom and gloom there - but in a lot of places it is. And people aren't going to say "the problems in certain parts of Africa, namely Sudan, Congo..." every time they want to talk about the subject. But most of all, how does saying that compare in terms of being a problem to the fact that 50,000 people do die of porverty, every single day?

Honestly, get some perspective.

More than anything though, some people are not realising the true power of Live8 and the Make Poverty History campaign. All the G8 countries are democracies. And because of the Live8, all the voter's eyes will be on their leaders at the G8 summit. Those leaders know that, and they know that if they don't come up with the goods, they're going to feel it at the ballot box. Nothing motivates a politician more.

That's the true power of Live8. Thank you, Bob, Midge, Richard!

So tell the politicians that you care. But don't forget to do your bit - you can make trade fair yourself, today. If you are in the UK, at least, buy Fairtrade goods whenever you can, and help people, directly.

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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
My my! I suggest you read my post in entirety and react to it as a whole rather than being condescending on the strength of one or two lines.

How different is what I said

"Meaningless concerts and laughable commissions are not going to fight any poverty. Even dubiously benevolent concessions like debt cancellation are meaningless in themselves. It is utterly meaningless to cancel my debt if you do not allow me to earn money. Let us both compete fairly on the International market. Your farmers are already enjoying considerable technological advantages -- they do not need subsidies. Don't wax lyrical about debt relief if without avenues for me earning my own money I shall promptly be in debt again."

To what you've said about the subsidies?

And for the record I am not a million miles away. I was born and raised in Africa. I studied there, I live there and I work there and I dare say I am in more of a position to articulate issues on the ground than you are.
Isn't that exactly what I said?
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