“We don’t want your money—we want you!” You’ve seen the commercials—a quick montage of famous faces imploring viewers to help eliminate poverty forever. This marketing blitz is meant to grab our attention and focus us on a meeting that will take place in
A large part of this socially conscious campaign is a series of concerts that will take place around the world on Saturday, July 2. Sir Bob Geldof, formerly of the Irish rock band, the Boomtown Rats, is the principal organizer of these concerts, known collectively as “Live 8.” Geldof’s music career was dwarfed by his role 20 years ago as the organizer of Live Aid. Live Aid gathered some of the most popular musicians in the world for concerts in
In the interim twenty years since Live Aid, the world has witnessed the fall of the
Now in 2005, Sir Geldof (pictured, right) is back, idealism intact, but informed by two decades of knowledge about the structural and societal causes of poverty and disease in the developing world. This time around, he wants to raise awareness more than funds. Geldof learned a lesson that Catholic Social Teaching has been preaching for decades—that the societal structures that our economic and political systems put in place are often the main causes of poverty. Whether it is a patriarchal monarchy in a developing country, or our own democratic capitalist system, there is no human structure that is bereft of sin. The late John Paul II was insistent that economic systems that ignored human rights, whether it is Soviet communism or the run-away capitalism in the West, are not following Gospel values. Geldof, along with his friend and fellow social activist, Bono of U2, have learned the hard lesson that throwing money at poverty will not stop it, but changing peoples’ hearts and minds may accomplish this goal.
This concert is going to be one of the musical highlights of 2005—there will be performances by the Pet Shop Boys, a re-formed Roxy Music, Coldplay, Madonna, and Paul McCartney, as well as a number of African artists. The estimate on the
Live8 website states that over 5 billion people may be watching or listening to the concert broadcasts from around the world. I invite you to join them—watch or listen to the concerts and enjoy your favorite musicians. But while you do, please consider those who will still go to bed hungry after the music has stopped playing and allow that awareness to move your heart to action.
The Live 8 concerts take place on Saturday July 2, 2005 at sites all over the world, including Philadelphia’s Museum of Art.
The Long Walk To Justice culminates on Wednesday 6th July – the eve of the all-important G8 Summit.