Aid Helping Aid

Source: Own work - Author: Chris Morrow - From Wikimedia Commons.

When Bob Geldof conceived of the idea of Band Aid at the end of 1984 with his hugely successful and influential single Do They Know It’s Christmas, the plan was to give desperate people in Ethiopia a chance for life – and an opportunity to look beyond the overwhelming sense of oppression that circumstances had created.

USA For Africa and other charity singles followed and it seemed that every disaster across the world could be used as a start-off point to become an opportunity for positive action with approval from the elite of the entertainment world.

Now it seems that some of the refugees have returned the favour after their recent 2018 collaboration with the Academy of Contemporary Music to try and create a Christmas number one.

It certainly provides optimism for the future, given that some of these individuals had a major issue with speaking the local dialects.

This project came together through the the Big Leaf Foundation and the I Speak Music initiative.

The Big Leaf Foundation is an organisation that helps people – regardless of background and without prejudice – to settle into communities that can help them move forward.

The I Speak Music initiative came together in Surrey, with a series of taster sessions that took place in the early part of 2018 at a local college and at the Electric Theatre in Guildford.

It is an ambition and dream that Mr. Geldof would have welcomed around the aftermath of the Philadelphia and Wembley concerts and perhaps he wouldn’t have banged or waved his finger as much in frustration.

We all remember Birhan Woldu, the starving and sleepy little girl whose face became the image of the Live Aid concert because of those awful pictures introduced by the late David Bowie. She admitted in a 2015 interview that the after-effects of the concert were less than desirable.

Her own ambitions and dreams appear to have been overshadowed by the fame that her exposure has brought, rather than helping to highlight a seriously significant problem that even three decades on is still no closer to being resolved in some areas and is heightened by more modern conflicts and desperation in places like Iraq and Syria.

Some of the high-level successes in the arts are by people who tend to use their celebrity for promotional gain, as opposed to using their idealism and talent to move a community or a world view forward. What is refreshing is that the very people these celebrities were hoping to get results for are taking matters into their own hands.

One of the biggest criticisms of Live Aid by some commentators was that the money didn’t get to the people that needed it the most. Even today, some countries are struggling to develop their science and technological programs through lack of clarity and funding from their own governments, who are taking the profits from humanitarian causes to shore up a stronger military overview within dictatorial mindsets.

Given the recent uncertainty over political events taking shape in the UK, there is some concern that this will temper the opportunities for genuine victims who have been forced into a fight-or-flight existence, particularly those who have been caught in the middle of dictatorships and situations that are not of their doing.

Britain, regardless of a future place in Europe and elsewhere in the world, should always remind everyone everywhere that if there is one thing we can do well, it is to help others in their time of need, particularly when the likes of the United Nations are demanding more unity from the G8 leaders in dealing with Middle East issues.

Global Seven News

John Higgins


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