One thought on Live8
Writing about web page http://www.live8live.com
Iíve been mildly sceptical about Geldof and Live8 in the last few weeks, just as I was sceptical about his Christmas release here
Iíve spent the afternoon watching the coverage, enjoying most of the acts, but my fears of celeb-ego massaging realised, especially with the pissy BBC coverage, flicking between Jo Whiley and Fearne Cotton mindlessly interviewing the performers like they were backstage at Glasto and not something with the intention of being more important.
When it comes down to it, Iím not against the idea. I wholeheartedly support 2 out of the 3 points being put forward to the G8 and have signed the petition. I donít want to do Geldof down for doing a brave and hard thing.
What I was worried about was the overall impression the day was giving of Africa. Even referring to ďAfricaĒ grossly generalises millions of diverse people into 1 solid lump. Unfortunately a lot of things that have been shown to us or said at the concerts today give this impression.
Yet there have also been several redeeming moments: Dido (no great political activist I know) brought Senegalese Yossou N'Dour on stage and performed. Miss Dynamite said some very well spoken words along the lines of the first world owing debt to the continent and not the other way round. And the BBC have brought on some good commentators as well: George Alagiah, famously brought up in Ghana himself, reminded us all Ė although briefly Ė that we mustnít take away the desperate image of ďAfricaĒ too be true.
And thatís the point. Whether the concerts will do anything in Gleneagles is debatable, but the Live8 phenomenon has at least sparked debate and introduced ideas of Ďtrade not aidí and the evil of agricultural subsidies around many dinner tables. The BBC also deserves credit for its excellent Africa Lives series which (with the exception of Geldofís over-poncy Geldof in Africa programme) took the topic seriously and tried to open it up to a wider audience. But we mustn't come away with the same black and white view that's stained our perception of Africa since Michael Buerk reported from Ethiopia in '84.
And so to make the point Ė hereís what I see when I think of ďAfricaĒ: itís a picture I took in the Ho Hoe region of Eastern Ghana about 2 years ago
Live8 is raising awareness, but donít let it fool you into thinking African people are helpless and hopeless.