With much fanfare and publicity, a new Live Aid concert entitled Live 8 will take place July 2.
While their goal is admirable, I find their means to accomplish it less so. It seems they are ready to live up to the old saying: the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Event organizer, Bob Geldof, has said that he wants to use the concert to place pressure on the countries meeting for the G8 summit to end world poverty.
I have a statement I would like to issue to Mr. Geldor and all the performers scheduled to participate (some of whom I like): You first!
What I find so ironic is that if these celebrity musicians got together and all decided to donate all the proceeds from all their future albums and concerts, we would be a lot farther down the road to stopping poverty in developing nations.
I do not want to be lectured by Paul McCartney, who is valued at just under $1 billion, about why people should go out and help the poor. Most of these entertainers could double the GDP of these nations by donating their income.
I would be much more willing to get on board if P. Diddy (worth around $400 million) sold Bad Boy Entertainment and gave the proceeds to the poor African nation of his choosing. Sure it would mean one less crome covered H2 to drive around in, but we all have to make sacrifices.
Elton John sat beside Geldof at the news conference and said he was “very proud to be involved.” Elton could finance the government of Uganda for 10 years just by cleaning out his closet of all the old sequined jump suits and bugged eyed glasses and selling them on Ebay.
Virtually all of these huge charity concerts reek of self congratulation. Take a look at the logo from the last Live Aid concert. It says “July 13, 1985: The Day The Music Changed The World.” Okay can someone tell me exactly how the first Live Aid concert changed the world.
What happens so often with these events is that the performers “donate” their performances to the show, assuaging any guilt that they may have from being so rich. Their “art” is their donation. Their voice calling on others to solve the problem is their part to play.
Geldof said he wants to lead a protest march of at least…wait for it….you know how many…1 million people to the G8 meeting in Britian. Again, why don’t those “1 million people” simply donate their salary for the day that they will spend marching around England chanting and burning paper mache George Bushes?
I don’t know the charity habits of the individuals involved. I am sure many of them do give generously to charities and non-profit organizations, but the same people that scream and cry about cutting government programs in America, also want us to give billions of dollars for world poverty. Okay, economic geniuses, where does the money come from?
I’m sure many of them would say, “We spend way too much money on the military. We can start there.” To them I say: China first, Iran first, North Korea first. Until we are totally safe from hostile nations and/or terrorists, the military is the one area where you could make a case that the government should spend more money.
Instead of taking actual steps by donating large portions of their own personal wealth, these celebrities will call on G8 nations (read America and England sometimes) to give huge amounts of money to despotic governments that will smile big for the camera, take the check and build a new mansion/torture chamber down the street from the UN embassy.
Helping poor people in developing nations is a noble thing. It is something that we should all do our part to participate in. But forced charity by government, artist-influenced mandate is no way to solve the problem.
But what do I know this may turn out to inspire people across the world to erase poverty. I mean, personally, when I hear that Duran Duran will be playing in Rome, I just go ahead and take my checkbook out.