July 04, 2005


If you ask what good I have missed lately, then the answer has the be the Live 8 concerts. Concerts in nine cities were staged simulteneously where the mainstream musicians around the world performed. An estimated 3 billion people watched the concerts either live, via TV or online.

Sadly I couldn't find any cable channels running the shows live in Dhaka and that is really pathetic. I was too busy yesterday, but caught glimses of the live coverages at my work PC via AOL Music. AOL's coverage was so superior, even with the low bandwidth available in Bangladesh, it may one day serve as a historical marker in drawing people to computers instead of TV screens for big events. With a click of the mouse, AOL visitors could jump from a video feed of the London concert to one from Philadelphia, Berlin or Rome. The performances were shown in their entirety. AOL programming chief Bill Wilson claimed that 160,000 people were simultaneously viewing the video streams at any given time, and that more than 5 million people sampled the video at some point during the day. Whereas MTV coverages were poor with many commercial breaks & shortened clippings.

The motto of the Live 8 is "The Long Walk To Justice" a symbolic journey of millions of people across the world to show the G8 leaders that the world is watching and waiting. According to Live 8 website, the mentor behind the event musician Bob Geldof says: "By doubling aid, fully cancelling debt, and delivering trade justice for Africa, the G8 could change the future for millions of men, women and children." It must be noted here that the previous such effort "Live Aid" was staged in 1985 which had the mission of raising fund for Ethiopian refugees. However, Havilland at Samizdata has other thoughts:

"But alas the main thrust of what Live 8 seems to be about is to induce the governments of the G-8 to take money from their taxpayers and assign it to nebulous and frequently counter-productive projects in Africa, often in effect propping up the regimes who are the single biggest cause of their own nation's problems and directly responsible for local poverty."

The African blogosphere had other views too. The world's most famous African, Nelson Mandela said at Johannesburg concert: "Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity, it is an act of justice."

Ethan Zuckerman says "Africa’s a continent. Not a crisis."

Whatever the politics around the Live 8 events are, the fans didn't bother as they were simply overwhelmed to see many stars playing, many big bands uniting.

Now the song playing in my head is Michael Jackson and other artists classic song "we are the world" sang in the 1985 "Live Aid" which can be remembered in any such occasions.

There comes a time when we hear a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
and its time to lend a hand to life
There greatest gift of all

We cant go on pretending day by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change

We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So lets start giving
Theres a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
its true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

If events like these never happened, how could we wake up a large number of people?

Update: The African blogosphere has more debates on Live8.

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