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Live 8

I remember Live Aid well. I was in high school, and was both an idealistic singer-songwriter and a passionate fan of U2, Elvis Costello, and David Bowie, all of whom were performing. I set my alarm for 5:00 a.m. so I wouldn't miss the beginning (Elvis Costello doing a solo rendition of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love," as I recall -- I was deeply impressed that he did that instead of promoting his own work) and stayed glued to MTV for the duration, entranced by the hope that the music I loved might really change the world for the better.

It's twenty years later, and I think that I've undergone a journey similar to a lot of those whose hopes were sky-high for Live Aid. I've come to a position that while charity is good, justice is better. Charity provides gifts from the privileged to the marginalized while keeping those two groups pretty much where they are and the world much the way it is. Justice is like a washing machine: what's at the center goes out to the margins to bring what's at the margins in to the center, and as that process continues, the entire load is transformed.

Twenty years after Live Aid, it's time to do the laundry, and that's what Live 8 is about. This time, nobody's asking for your money; they're asking for your voice, to claim the power you have and use it to encourage the G8 leaders to forgive debts and expand intelligently targeted and closely monitored aid (no buying arms or a fleet of presidential limos with it!) to developing countries in a way that could actually end extreme poverty in our lifetime.

So check out the ONE campaign site (in the U.S.) or Make Poverty History (in the European Union), and please lend your voice NOW (President Bush is expected to announce his proposals TOMORROW for the G8 summit) to what just might be the most important movement for global justice in our generation.

June 29, 2005 in ONE campaign/Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) | Permalink

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