Last week I did not mean to sound too cynical about being squashed as part of the 200,000 strong Live8 audience in Hyde Park. Instead, I suggested the need for better crowd control, guidance and for people to enjoy themselves in a far more relaxed situation rather than standing in compressed (physically) manner from 2pm to Midnight. I must admit that I felt distressed that special viewing arrangements had been made available from an area called The Golden circle. In addition, press gazebos (that what they looked like from a distance) and Jonathan Rosss special pod added further to my personal issues. On a positive note, it felt good to be connected to a global audience of over two Billion and that over 1 million of us were actually there rightfully stating the case for debt relief and removal of poverty.
Preceding this event and with subsequent thoughts about the situation I wondered if there is more that we can do.
Back in the days of the South African Apartied regime, the big economic words of the day were Boycotting & Sanctions. Some argued that such a strategy hurt both the people and the countrys finances. A different view came from the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Unfortunately, I can never forget Mrs Thatcher giving a press conference and suggesting that only, a little bit, a little bit of sanctions should be endorsed by the UK against South Africa. Did anyone undercover what multinationals were supporting and present throughout the regime?
So what can we do? 20 years on from Live Aid, we have an odd situation of pop stars becoming politicians. Although the event attempted to put pressure on the G8 leaders to resolve trade constraints and aid relief, I cannot help thinking that another area is missing.
In a recent article in The Times (UK), it was suggested that Aid can arrive into a country in many forms. For example, governments can allocate food, money and surprisingly as arms shipments! Pardon? Arms Shipments! Since when was a gun something that ever helped a dire situation of starvation and extreme poverty.The article also suggested that corrupt regimes were failing many such countries.
Much has been said about corruption and lost aid. Even worse is when a regime undermines its own people, just take a look the Sudan situation. In the meantime everyone looks past them, failing to acknowledge that they need urgent help.In terms of corruption, I wonder if the associated questionable leaders are under some miscomprehension that the money they receive or manage is actually theirs.
Surely there must be a way to expose them.Live8 has certainly raised awareness but the momentum for change must not slow down. Instead we should be asking financial institutions, the World Bank and Swiss Bank officials to allow the authorisation of opening up questionable or suspected accounts. If funds are being embezzled by corrupt leaders, they should not be given a chance to get away with daylight robbery.
We all have a part to play in thinking of different ways of helping people: for example, approved sabbaticals, connected communities, support and pressure from the media. Once the seeds of change have been planted, let us hope that it can sustain itself.