Live Aid - the terrible truth

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  • I have just seen this and thought I would post it on here as it is shocking and has quotations from Medicine sans Frontier people and others who have witnessed the situation. It's something every individual who is roped into charity issues should think about before allowing the urge to do good to obscure the urge to do ill that might underlie the very thing used to make things better.


    [This story, written by Robert Keating, was originally published in the July 1986 issue of SPIN. In honor of SPIN’s 30th anniversary, we’ve republished this piece as part of our ongoing “30 Years, 30 Stories”series.]


    The truth is shocking in its clarity. “People are dying because of their government,” says Jason Clay, an anthropologist studying famine in Ethiopia. “And what groups like Live Aid are doing is helping the government set up a system that is going to cause people to die for decades to come.”


    “Western governments and humanitarian groups like Live Aid are fueling an operation that will be described with hindsight in a few years time as one of the greatest slaughters in the history of the twentieth century,” says Dr. Claude Malhuret, whose relief agency, Medicins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), has been kicked out of Ethiopia for speaking up against “the most massive violations of human rights we have seen in recent years.”

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

    Is standing in the clothes that you once wore

  • Hmmm. I will come back to this another day.

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  • We do need to be careful with aid. I think it's hard to argue against emergency aid but if you're not careful you undermine local entrepreneurs. Unfortunately it is the naturally left wing that get involved with charities and they tend to impose their (failed) political beliefs on these places.


    I remember reading about a chap in Nigeria building a nice little low-cost clothing firm employing locals, only to have his business undermined when charities dumped a load of free second hand clothes on the local market.


    We need to allow these nations to build a future without aid, and that, I'm sorry to say, will involve individual entrepreneurs rather than worker's collectives...

  • Absolutely, Hox. People need to rebuild. The brutal regimes that have crushed the people into poverty need to be replaced. Any money given to this cause usually ends up in the bigwigs' coffers and mostly makes its way to foreign banks.

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

    Is standing in the clothes that you once wore

  • I've only skim read that article, so will need to go back and read it in full.


    My initial thoughts are, if people are starving as with the famine in Ethiopia, it is absolutely essential that other countries intervene and stop the crisis. It is a humane thing to do. It is the right thing to do.


    However, that article highlights that much of the Live Aid funds were funnelled by the Ethiopian ruler into purchasing Russian weapons to be used in his wars. That cannot be allowed to happen.

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  • You can't stop it. Meaning well and reality often don't coincide.

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

    Is standing in the clothes that you once wore

  • Just as repugnant are some very high earners who donate very large sums to political parties.

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

    Is standing in the clothes that you once wore

  • Still haven't read the original article fully yet, so will come back to this thread when I have.

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