The Who, Pink Floyd, U2, Sting, Paul McCartney, Madonna
— what could bring these music legends and many others together in the concert of a lifetime? A good cause, world poverty.
As the United States and its ally Britain continue to enforce world change through “might-makes-right” tactics, there couldn’t be a more meaningful time for this concert. I once read that a rock star (or other celebrity) can do more to change the world than a politician and Live 8 proves the statement true.
When people try to change the world by enforcing beliefs, values and laws, it will provoke people. When people try to change the world by making good, meaningful music readily accessible to people, who can argue with that?
One of the concert’s highlights was U2’s performance of “One.” Bono began by making a short political statement, reminding us that there are people in Africa who are dying of mosquito bites. The song’s message literally brought tears to my eyes. It both acknowledges the fact that yes, “we’re (all the people of the world) not the same,” but “we’ve got to carry each other.” Isn’t that the truth? The world is full of various civilizations, each with its own religion, values, level of affluence and appearance. It has always been that way and, despite globalization, it probably always will.
We have to accept those differences once and for all and, as members of our respective civilizations, take a close look at our places in this world. Those of us who are in civilizations with medical advancements and an overabundance of food need to “carry” people who are dying from lack of food or adequate medical care.
And, with a nod to Pink Floyd’s meaningful performance of “Money,” it’s not about money. It’s not about exploiting the native populations by making them nothing more than our major corporations’ customers. Putting up fast food restaurants in every African village will not solve world hunger. It’s about supplying the populations with grains, vegetables, fruits and livestock that will both feed the people right now and enable the populations to eventually become self-sufficient.
It’s about taking control of the AIDS epidemic in Africa through a combination of education and adequate medical care. In other words, it’s about giving all people the same chance at life that we have in the United States and western Europe.
As children in the United States and western Europe whine for the latest fad toy, there are children in Africa who don’t even have the strength to cry for the food they so desperately need. We have to make a conscious effort to remember that as we go to the mall or shop online for things that we want, not need. World change takes, above all, individual social consciousness.
“Are you ready to start a revolution?” Madonna screamed before her performance of “Like A Prayer.” A lot of us are and lot more of us need to be. That means taking the time and effort to raise awareness and let our leaders know, as Sting sang,”We’ll be watching you.” Western civilization has the resources to end world hunger and many disease epidemics; it’s just a matter of using those resources the right way.