Live 8 and G8: It’s about mortality not music


This is a real picture of my kids – which one should I choose to lose?

Let’s play a game.

  • Stop what you are doing. 
  • Leave the mouse and the keyboard alone for 60 seconds. 
  • Close your eyes and visualise a nice group portrait of your nearest family or friends. 
  • Once you have the picture nice and clear in your mind, now choose the one you love most right now – there are no favourites, of course, are there?.
  • Imagine them dying suddenly – crushed by a drunk driver, knifed by a mugger or killed in a workplace accident.
  • Imagine the police knocking at your door in ten minutes time and then imagine living the rest of your life without seeing them ever again.

Senseless?  Inconceivable?  Maybe.  Try again:

  • Imagine your loved one dying slowly in your arms.
  • Imagine being unable to provide them with even one meal a day.
  • Imagine them fatally ill for the lack of over-the-counter medication.
  • Imagine holding them, touching them, smelling them, washing them, kissing them for weeks and months whilst you are completely and utterly powerless to prevent their passing.
  • Finally, imagine what it would be like to know that their death was all because of what is basically an overdraft.  Your loss of a loved one was directly caused by the crippling conditions and interest charges levied against a bank loan you never knew you were liable for. 

Senseless?  Absolutely.  Inconceivable? In London or any other major city perhaps, but it is all too conceivable in the 28,800 other places where it will happen today.  What is a macabre and unsavoury mind game for you and me, surfing the web over a mug of conscience-salving Traidcraft coffee on a lazy Sunday is daily reality for millions in Africa and elsewhere around the world.

– – –

OK, you say, but what about the G8 summit next week, they’ll have it sorted.  Not really.  The much-vaunted debt relief and cancellation program, worked on for years by many unsung folks, will be announced in a blaze of PR and hype by Blair, Bush and Co.  However, the eight will announce that like it’s just happened since they got involved and the Live8 concerts were all they needed to finish the job.  Ongoing aid, via the organisations and charities who were involved before the world took notice, will continue.  Their efforts will continue to be fractured, uncoordinated and derailed by so-called first world governments extracting whatever political leverage and votes they can by piggy-backing the efforts of NGOs and aid agencies.  Whatever trade solutions are proposed or implemented will undoubtedly have the sheen of philanthropy but will ultimately benefit the first world just as much if not more than at present.

Enough of the ‘the greatest gig ever’, pompous pop star politics and credit cards easing consciences. 

Do something.  Inform yourself.  Involve yourself.

If you really can’t be bothered then, at the very least, copy the game above and email it to your elected political representative and ask them: what are you doing about this?  My eight year old wrote to Blair recently and got a patronising brush-off letter in return.  Do you know what she did?  She wrote back and insisted he answer the question in her original letter.  Now, are you going to stand beside her or are you going to leave it to someone else?

my lo-fi ears are listening to She Cries Your Name/Beth Orton/Pass in Time

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