British Ebola survivor calls Band Aid 'cringeworthy'

9th December 2014, Comments 0 comments

The lyrics of the Band Aid 30 single to raise money for anti-Ebola charities are embarrassing and ignorant, the British nurse who survived the disease said on Tuesday.

William Pooley travelled back to work in Sierra Leone to treat sufferers in an isolation unit, after surviving the disease himself.

Pooley said the single is "definitely being talked about here among my colleagues."

"But stuff about 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' It's just like, actually people live normal lives here and do normal things," Pooley told Radio Times magazine.

"It's Africa, not another planet. That sort of cultural ignorance is a bit cringeworthy. There's a lyric about 'death in every tear'. It's just a bit much."

Pooley, 29, was evacuated from Sierra Leone by military plane in August after he contracted Ebola working as a volunteer in the West African country.

He made a full recovery after treatment in a London isolation unit with experimental drug ZMapp, and returned to Sierra Leone as a volunteer in October, saying it was "something I have to do".

Pooley urged people to donate to charities working directly to treat the disease, such as King's Sierra Leone Partnership which he works with, as money from governments was arriving slowly.

"There are still people outside the front of the hospital dying of Ebola because there aren't enough beds for them. I had hoped that by now that would have been over," Pooley said.

His comments come after criticism of the Band Aid lyrics by pop star Emeli Sande, who contributed to the single along with stars like One Direction, Bono, Chris Martin and Ed Sheeran.

Sande said she thought the lyrics needed to be re-written, and told British media she had edited her lines, but that the edits were cut.

The new recording of the song -- the 30th anniversary version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" recorded by Bob Geldof to raise money for Ethiopia -- has become the fastest selling single of 2014 in Britain.

CDs of the single were launched this week in a new drive to raise funds to combat the haemorrhagic fever outbreak, which has killed over 6,300 people in its epicentre in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Pooley said he plans to celebrate Christmas with "a few beers" after his shift ends, and dismissed the idea he was a hero.

"I'm working with masses of local staff who are risking death... But they're still coming to work," he said. "They are the heroes."

© 2014 AFP

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