Live 8 motivated young to care about Africa: Geldof
By Paul Majendie
LONDON (Reuters) – Irish rock star Bob Geldof said on
Tuesday that the Live 8 concerts in July had been successful in
motivating the young to care about Africa’s woes.
“It was a bizarre confluence of politics and populism,” the
rocker turned activist said of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest line-up
ever, designed to pressure world leaders to alleviate poverty.
However Geldof said: “Some people may, perhaps correctly,
view Live 8 as the blink of an eye. Five days later, the
horrific, devastating London bombs dissipated the goodwill of
the Olympic bid and Live 8.”
“But the concert was only ever meant to be a device to push
an anti-poverty agenda through the political process of the G8.
In that it was hugely successful,” he told Reuters in an
Just 24 hours after London was celebrating its success in
being selected as the site for the 2012 Olympics, suicide
bombers struck the city’s transport system on July 7, killing
52 people in bomb attacks.
The attacks coincided with the meeting in Gleneagles,
Scotland, of leaders from the Group of Eight industrial nations
who agreed to double aid to poor countries in Africa by 2010.
He said the series of 10 gigs staged around the world on
July 2 heightened young people’s awareness of Africa’s problems
and called the concerts “a hugely effective political device.”
“The effect forever on the economic life of Africa is
there,” Geldof added.
“The aid agencies are now marketing the young like big
companies because the agencies truly understand,” he said.
Then, pointing to himself, Geldof said: “They always
suspected it but it took marketeers in popular culture to be
able to show that you can really inform younger people and get
them to move the agenda.”
Dubbed “Saint Bob” for staging the 1985 Live Aid concert to
save the starving in Ethiopia, Geldof has always been an
intriguing mixture of contradictions.
The foul-mouthed and dishevelled rocker rails against
authority but rubs shoulders with world leaders in his
determination to break the spiral of poverty in Africa.
He is a master at bullying rock stars into leaving their
egos at the side of the stage and displaying genuine altruism.
Geldof, in London to launch the DVD of a BBC documentary
series he made on Africa, says he is not a pessimist about the
future of the continent.
“I am a possibilist, I am a pragmatist,” he said. “I think
the impetus is still there.”
“This continent cannot be allowed to die nightly in the
pornography of poverty that is our news screens. People cannot
simply die every night over our dinner tables. That must stop.”