Pop elite ready to call on G8 leaders for action

1st July 2005, Comments 0 comments

1 July 2005, LONDON - Final preparations were under way Friday for a series of star-studded anti-poverty concerts taking place in cities across the globe. Organizers say more than 80 per cent of the world's population will have the chance to experience Saturday's Live 8 event on television, radio, Internet or on their mobile phones. The brainchild of Irishman Bob Geldof, 50, the concerts are aimed at putting pressure on the leaders of the G8 countries when they meet next Wednesday for their summit at Glene

1 July 2005

LONDON - Final preparations were under way Friday for a series of star-studded anti-poverty concerts taking place in cities across the globe.

Organizers say more than 80 per cent of the world's population will have the chance to experience Saturday's Live 8 event on television, radio, Internet or on their mobile phones.

The brainchild of Irishman Bob Geldof, 50, the concerts are aimed at putting pressure on the leaders of the G8 countries when they meet next Wednesday for their summit at Gleneagles in Scotland.

The concert's organizers want them to double development aid and to allow fair trade with African countries.

London's Hyde Park will see the largest concert. Geldof has committed some of the biggest names in music to the event including Coldplay, Madonna, Elton John, Robbie Williams, U2, Pink Floyd and Paul McCartney.

Newcomers like Scissor Sisters will also play. But a planned reunion of the British group the Spice Girls will not take place.

The organizers have distributed over 200,000 free concert tickets. Another 100,000 people will be able to watch Live 8 on giant screens in towns and cities across Britain.

At the same time concerts will take place in Berlin, Paris, Philadelphia, Rome, Barrie in Canada, Tokyo and Johannesburg.

A concert has been arranged at short notice in Moscow meaning all G8 countries will host concerts.

The Russian concert will take place on Red Square with the British pop group The Pet Shop Boys as well as the Russian bands Bravo, B-2 and Spleen.

Berlin will see acts such as a-ha, Brian Wilson, Lauryn Hill as well as German artists Die Toten Hosen, Bap, and Peter Maffay at the Brandenburg Gate.

Geldof, the former lead singer of the Irish group The Boomtown Rats, once shouted into the microphone at a Live Aid concert 20 years ago, "Give us your f*****g money!"

This time he wants to exert subtle but intense pressure on the industrial nations. "This is just the beginning of a long march for justice," says Geldof.

But there has been criticism since Geldof announced his plans. He has been accused of concentrating on established white musicians and ignoring African artists.

Andy Kershaw, one of the presenters of the Live Aid concerts in 1985, told the British daily newspaper The Guardian that the organizers are saying, "Don't forget Africa - but that's just what they are doing."

A short time later Geldof signed up the black rapper Snoop Dogg.

Peter Gabriel has helped organize an alternative Live 8 concert to take place in Cornwall in England. A line up of exclusively African artists will take to the stage under the slogan 'Africa Calling.'

Some critics say the Live 8 concerts will turn into platform for aging rock stars to prove they are concerned about the plight of Africa while making huge profits through sales of music CDs.

John O'Shea, chief executive of the international aid organization Goal says, "There is a fire raging - we need someone to put out the fire, not hand out chocolate."

The concerts organizers want to mobilize thousands of people living in the industrialized nations to help Africa. In this way they hope to influence the leaders of the G8 states.

But many people are afraid the concerts will fail in this endeavour.

Britain's former development minister, Clare Short, says, "People will enjoy the concerts because there are famous bands but quite how the concerts are going to eliminate poverty in the world is not clear."

In addition to those concerns are doubts about how much debt cancellation can help fight poverty.

Romilly Greenhill from the international aid charity ActionAid says, "Debt cancellation is good news for the 18 countries that will immediately benefit, but don't forget the millions of people living in the other 40 poor countries."

DPA

Subject: German news

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