Archive for July, 2005

Live8 Blogs: Uncovering the Real Story

July 1st, 2005, by Peter Hirshberg | located in Conversations | Comments off | trackback

2001_30 With all the attention on Live8 and Africa relief, its jarring how little content there is on the official Live8 site about the  underlying Africa issues and what actually needs to be done to help people on that continent.

The take away from Live8 seems to be its the G8's job to fix Africa and that George Bush is the main bad guy. You're left thinking these poor Africans are helpless, can't do a damn thing for themselves, and are just lying around waiting for the Rich Countries to come on in and clean up the mess. The whole thing is vaguely reminiscent of some LBJ, Really Big Government Approach and of 60's idealism, but not necessarily in good way. So come on people now, lets all get together and try and love one another right now.

Fortunately, the Blogosphere is addressing this, in the intelligent and endearingly emergent manner it does so well.

Here are some great examples of how bloggers are turning a kinda empty conversation into something really useful for informed citizens, journalists and other who blog.

Ethan Zuckerman of Global Voices posts a round-up of African reaction to Live8 . Sample: A Kenyan writes, "If a concert in Africa would have me skeptical, words cannot describe just how I fail to see how the remotest benefit a 1 million strong concert in Edinburgh will be derived by a poor fisherman in Lamu."

The Global Voices effort, part of the Berkman Center at Harvard, is a remarkable round-up of writings we in the West don't usually hear about. I was going nuts trying to find out what Africans really had to say about economic development and Live8 until Chris Nolan told me about these folks. Now I feel i've found some perspective.  Phew!

My friend Kavita Ramdas runs the Global Fund for Women. Her blog points out how small grants made directly to motivated groups can bring about remarkable change. Example: Ahero Kenya-- funding wells in a village not only means clean water and less disease, but the women no longer spend all day water gathering and can now get educated and increase their economic status.

      
A big complaint conservatives have about Live8 is that forgiving debt will just prop up corrupt governments and that aid often doesn't make it past big burcracies.  The Global fund for Women blog  does a  great job of showing how peer-to-peer aid programs solve real problems by reaching directly to several thousand small organizations, each of which makes a difference.  Some  fight undemocratic government policies.  Others hold the United Nations accountable. Why its  even better than a thousand points of light! Its African relief ---that even the Right can buy into.


The AllAfrica news service
[main site] suggests the  G8 [G8 Post] will have real effect if they focus on AIDS and womans issues.

Much of the Africa relief story is tied up in issues of human rights. So check out  Human Rights Watch Africa coverage and Pambazuka.org, which bills itself as a weekly forum for social justive in Africa. 

All of these examples and may more come from Technorati's resource's page at Technorati's Live8 "Blog Central."


I think Geldof and the Live8 cause will be a lot better off with this informed and often controversial perspetive added to the whole Live8 conversation. Bloggers will get bored with "There's a big concert, Africa needs help, Bad G8."  The rich detail, the hope of real solutions, the voices of Africans themselves will make this that much more an actionable issue.  And thats just what bloggers need to amplify the real story and influence the agenda of the world's media....and leaders.