Look what the cat dragged in:
Saturday, July 2, 2005
Most of the world can hear Live 8, but will G-8 listen?
Bob Geldof leads musical effort to lift Africa out of poverty
By COLLEEN LONG
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Nearly everyone in the world can tune in Saturday to Live 8, the all-star concerts urging a political solution to African poverty.
"We want to stand shoulder to shoulder, to push to get countries to listen," said Live 8 worldwide producer Harvey Goldsmith. "These concerts are the mouthpieces of the public."
Goldsmith has been working round the clock to put it together, and Live 8 has grown to 10 shows around the world -- London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Moscow, Johannesburg, Tokyo, Philadelphia and Toronto, with a related all-African concert in southwest England.
Upwards of a million people will attend, and organizers say 85 percent of the world's population will have access to a TV, radio or Internet broadcast of the day's events.
The concerts come four days before leaders of the world's richest nations meet in Gleneagles, Scotland, for a Group of Eight summit -- and 20 years after the twin Live Aid shows in London and Philadelphia.
Live Aid was about raising money for victims of famine in Africa. Live 8, Geldof has said, is about raising awareness.
He wants G-8 leaders to double aid, cancel debt and rework trade laws to lift African nations out of poverty.
On MTV yesterday, Geldof and British Prime Minister Tony Blair answered questions from an audience of young people from 24 nations about the summit.
"He's going to go to a five-star hotel on a golf course and say to seven other guys, 'I come with the largest democratic mandate ever collected in the history of this planet to do this.' They can refuse or they can accept," said Geldof, the 53-year-old former leader of Irish punk group the Boomtown Rats.Whatever the summit outcome, Geldof said Blair had already won his admiration.
"I think it's fair that he can walk out and say, 'I tried and they refused.' I back him up because I know the process of how hard he's been trying. He didn't have to do this."
Blair, 52, told the MTV studio audience that concern for developing countries was partly what drew him into politics.
"Thirty years ago I was the age of most people who are here. Thirty years later I'm in a position to do something about it, so I think I should," he said.
Blair said he was optimistic that an agreement on Africa could be reached.
"We're going to try. If you don't try, you don't succeed. The European Union has already agreed to double aid, and that gets us quite a long way. ... The American president has said he wants to double aid to Africa. Japan and Canada have now indicated that they will increase their aid."
But he said African governments needed to help make the deal work. While the international communities could provide direct aid to people suffering from diseases such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, only African governments prepared to obey rules of democracy, human rights and respect for the rule of law would benefit from aid, he said.
More than 50 acts are scheduled to perform -- a mixture of "the biggest acts in the world, the best acts in the world and the newest acts in the world," Goldsmith said.
Some, like U2, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Elton John were part of 1985's Live Aid. The "new" acts include Alicia Keys, Will Smith and Destiny's Child.
Keys, who's performing in Philadelphia, said she signed on because the concerts can serve as a forum to show "here's how we can make a difference and here's how we can get involved."
BeyoncÃ© Knowles of Destiny's Child said: "When you have the attention of so many people you have to take advantage of it and do something positive with it."
Venues include London's Hyde Park, a location near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Rome's Circus Maximus and along Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Musicians are donating their services, and other costs will be met by corporate sponsors. The concerts are free and tickets are long gone.
In London, Mariah Carey, Coldplay, Dido, Keane, John, Annie Lennox, Madonna, Muse, the Scissor Sisters, Paul McCartney, Joss Stone, Stereophonics, Sting, Snoop Dogg, Robbie Williams, U2 and R.E.M. are slated to perform.
Philadelphia acts include the Dave Matthews Band, Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder, P. Diddy and Jay-Z.
Among artists scheduled for Berlin: a-ha, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Lauryn Hill and Brian Wilson.
The concert in Rome will feature musicians including Faith Hill and Duran Duran.
In Paris, Jamiroquai, Craig David, Youssou N'Dour and Yannick Noah will be among those taking part.
Geldof said people would be encouraged after the concerts to head to Edinburgh, where he expects a million people to gather for a mass protest as the G-8 leaders meet nearby.
Some anti-poverty activists already arrived in Edinburgh yesterday after a journey through Africa. The ActionAid bus, which left Johannesburg in South Africa, traveled through Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda before boarding a ship to Marseilles, France.
Ivy Maina, one of five ActionAid members on the journey, said they had spoken with Africans along the way and brought messages for the G-8 leaders.
"The main message is that people want their basic needs," said Maina of Nairobi, Kenya, after the bus ended its journey at the base of Edinburgh Castle. "They want food, access to clean water, basic health care services and access to markets for their farm produce," she said.
Maina said many of the African villagers and farmers she met were skeptical of the international community's promises of help, though.
"Africa has been discussed many a time, and a lot of hopes have been destroyed," she said. "A lot of them are reserved about the G-8 agenda."
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