Topic: In the News
So, has Live 8 been a success? Well, certainly it has for all the pop artists as there is nothing more valuable than mountains of free publicity, but then perhaps I am a bit of a cynic! And, what about the millions who attended all the concerts worldwide? Did they go for the music, the 'historical event', or do they really care about Africa's poor? Would they have gone if all the tickets had cost £200 each for African Aid? I wonder...
Although many of the people involved in Live 8 are actively involved in fund-raising, the emphasis has been on justice and empowerment of the poor, for debt relief, aid and fair trade. The more voices shouting, the better. However, I personally believe that Gordon Brown has done just as much in his efforts to persuade other World Leaders to agree to consider negating the crippling debts which so many of the so-called third-world countries are burdened with. That goal would enable the people themselves to invest in their own businesses thereby building up their own national economies. Whilst rich countries are taking a huge junk of the poor countries capital growth this cannot happen. Also, offering the poor countries a pittance of aid in return does not solve the problem as, in many cases, this aid finds its way into the pockets of the corrupt administrators of those lands and those who need it.
"Make Poverty History" is not just about the continent of Africa, you know, it's about the poor all over the world. Neither is it just about donating aid, although that it essential for the victims of natural disasters and war. The initiative aims to raise awareness of Fair Trade and to change the rules of world trade to favour the poor and also to encourage businesses to invest in international development and development education.
Did you know that 2005 is the International Year of Microcredit? This initiative involves microfinance institutions changing the lives of people and revitalizing communities by providing small loans to enable them to grow thriving businesses. In other words, giving people a helping hand to start helping themselves. "Microfinance has proved its value, in many countries, as a weapon against poverty and hunger. It really can change peoples’ lives for the better -- especially the lives of those who need it most." Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General.
2005 is also part of the:-
- First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty 1997-2006 which is helping to increase international cooperation for the eradication of poverty in developing countries and emphasizing the need for governments to address the root causes of poverty.
- United Nations Literacy Decade (2003-2012). Whilst we sit here taking our computers for granted, some 860 million adults worldwide are illiterate and over 100 million children have no access to school.
- International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010). This initiative aims to foster a culture of peace through education, promote sustainable economic and social development, promote respect for all human rights, ensure equality between women and men, foster democratic participation, advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity, support participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge, and promote international peace and security.
- Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa (2001-2010). This international initiative desperately needs funding for malaria control - a disease that kills more than a million people each year, most of them children.
But, then, just as I begin to think that humanity is becoming more humane and generous, I came across an article in the e-edition of The Argus for 1st July 2005, which reported this disgraceful incident:
"Drunken racists hounded a black couple and their two young children from their new home on the day they moved in. The thugs hurled insults from the street outside the house in Brighton and shouted at the family to get out. The mother, terrified for her family's safety, dialled 999 and police were sent to the scene. A man and woman, in their 40s, were arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred and an injunction has been granted to protect the victims."Utopia is a long way off.