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feature : word on ths street
April 4th, 2005
Word on the Street: Live 8

Do you think that the Live 8 concert brought awareness to people about poverty around the world? Are the participants really committed to the cause? How can we do a better job raising awareness about poverty?

Katie
I would call it more temporary awareness. I think when people were there, and you see your icons and role models on stage telling you to get up and do something and you are in that exciting atmosphere, you might be really gung-ho, thinking 'I'm actually going to do something this time,' but then I think it kind of wears off as your adrenaline wears down. I actually don't think it accomplished that much in terms of solving the problems.

As far as the artists are concerned, I don't really know how devoted they are, personally. I know a lot of my friends went just to see a free concert with these huge stars, and they weren't really concerned with the real purpose of the Live 8 concert.

Instead of just giving a normal concert and having them perform the pop songs that we hear all the time, maybe they should put together a special program of these stars actually doing something related to hunger, like going to Africa and giving people food or just doing anything related to that.
Ben, 21
I think it definitely made people more aware of the issue. It makes politicians take a good look at the problem. But maybe it is a little bit commercial. You look at the African concert and there was no one there. None of these people have been to Africa they are just jumping on the bandwagon. Perhaps it would mean more if they actually went there and saw it, and then came back and told their experiences instead of just going 'yeah, it's good publicity if I am on a concert about Africa.'

I think that a lot of people will jump on the bandwagon and promote a cause if they see the celebrities talking about it. Yes, I think there is quite a lot of feeling behind the whole cause ' it's a good cause and everything ? but if they did it about something like AIDS or cancer, I reckon it would pretty much be the same kind of thing. I don?t think it was this particular cause...I think you can do that for any kind of major cause and have the same response.

I think the way the tsunami ordeal was handled was a little bit better. Everyone as a community wanted to go out and help. There was a small concert, but it was handled better because every shop had a little bucket that you could put some change in. I don?t think people really know what poverty means. I think people sort of look at it and go ?oh yeah, they?re hungry,? but when they see tidal waves, and see people dying, it is a lot more dramatic. It?s an instant sort of thing. You can see one day it was great, and two hours later it was complete destruction and hundreds of thousands dead. That?s what I think made the tsunami appeal so massive.
Bhagli, 20 (photo not available)
I don't know. I don't think it did. For me personally I didn't really care. You know celebrities always come up with a cause. Sometimes it just seems like they're promoting themselves, and not the problem itself. It's like 'U2 is performing, let's go see U2,' not, 'I want to support Africa,' or 'I want to support finding a solution to the problems happening there.' I think they tried, but I still think more needs to be done. You could do more with schools'smaller things rather than something so big that it gets lost in the commercialism.
Kani, 27(left) -- Joni, 38(center) -- Kim, 27(right)
Kani: I don't think that it really brought the awareness home to people. You can't quite grasp an issue by going to a concert or looking at images of what it is really like to be poor. In a way it actually miseducates people because it takes poverty, something that is so big and so complex and it puts it down onto a level that doesn't do poverty justice. Concern about poverty should be something that is taught in every school. It could be incorporated greatly into different aspects of what we do, see and learn. But a concert, putting some pictures up, having some rock star talk about it doesn't do it justice because it is much more complex than even the people performing at Live 8 even realize.

Joni: I disagree because I think it brings awareness, and when you become aware of something, you go and do the research about it. Will somebody understand completely what?s going on in Africa? Not until they?ve experienced it. What?s great about this concert was that it made people start to realize their voice. It wasn?t about giving money, it was about getting onto the internet and signing the letter, and that was great. And they did have people get up and tell their stories. There are going to be people who will just be like ?oh yeah, Pink Floyd reunited!? but I think they?re going to consider what they were there for, and hopefully most of them will go and start doing some more research. I remember back when the first Live Aid happened, we were all doing that. We were all getting as much information as we possibly could. Granted it wasn?t long lasting, but at least it was there for a while.

Kim: I think it?s never a bad idea to promote awareness. That?s the goal and its hardly ever done wrong, unless it is trivialized. In this case there is no other way, other than like Earth Day to get people thinking about it. You have to do it as many ways as possible. If it doesn?t affect people in exactly the right way you want it to, that's not an argument for not doing it, you have to try. This is too little, but it is a great start.


 
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