xer-files
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
  Poverty History? Live8?
In The Independent - Remember Make Poverty History, anyone? It seems a long time ago that some 200,000 people flocked to Edinburgh to rally G8 leaders as part of an unprecedented campaign for global justice. That same day, 2 July, Bob Geldof organised free music concerts in nine countries under the Live8 banner. [..]

The coalition's anger has intensified over revelations about Live8's paternalistic treatment of African campaigners and their relationship to corporations operating on the continent. Firoze Manji, the co-director of Fahamu, an African social justice network and a member of G-Cap, recounts how the African coalition had planned a concert in Johannesburg in early July to be held in one of the townships. According to Manji, a meeting of Oxfam GB, Curtis, Geldof and Kumi Naidoo cancelled it in favour of Live8.

Geldof, having excluded African artists from the London concert, eventually gave his blessing to "Africa Calling", a hastily arranged concert in Cornwall. The sponsors included Nestlé, accused of benefiting from the HIV/Aids epidemic in Africa by selling more milk substitute products; Rio Tinto, the world's largest mining corporation, condemned for alleged human rights and environmental abuses; and Britain's biggest arms manufacturer, BAE Systems - which, according Mike Lewis of the UK's Campaign Against Arms Trade, is "fuelling conflicts across Africa". Criticism of MPH's celebrity set has particularly angered Oxfam, and insiders believe the agency will lead a breakaway from other MPH members once the coalition disbands early next year, taking Comic Relief and Bono's charity - Debt Aids Trade Africa - with it. Given Oxfam's free-trade solutions to Third World poverty, and - along with Curtis, Bono and Geldof - its leadership's close relationship to New Labour, this scenario could be an encouraging development for efforts to realign MPH with the "global justice movement". [..]

 
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