We have a voice and it's time we made ourselves heard

by Suw on July 2, 2005

Whilst I was in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to work on the Technorati Live 8 site. It was a concatenation of lucky events that led me to being involved, but I feel proud to have had that chance. The Technorati Live 8 site gives all bloggers a single point of reference to find out what is going on in the blogosphere. Amongst other things, we have resources there to help you contact the G8 leaders, and the Live 8 badge so that you can show support for the cause on your blog. We even have a version of the Live 8 Technorati tags page for your Treo!
Right now, I am watching the Live 8 London concert on TV, watching as thousands of people enjoy probably the biggest, most spectacular gig they will ever see. Part of me wishes that I had been there, but I can do my bit from my blog, as can every blogger.
There have been some cynical reactions to Live 8, not just from corners of the media but also from normal people, who think that it's a waste of time. Well, all I can say is this: We are privileged by an accident of birth. That is all that separates us from those suffering and dying in poverty. Nothing else. We have a responsibility to act and to do something to relieve the pain others are feeling, every day, with no end in sight.
Our leaders have for years assumed that they could do what profited them, what profited the big businesses that fund and support them. For years they have ignored the poverty-stricken and the disadvantaged because they saw no profit in it for them. And for years, we have let them.
It is time we remembered that our leaders are in fact our servants. We put them in power in order to represent us, but they have ignored us one time too many. We have a voice and we must use it to ensure that we send a message, strong and unequivocal, that we will not tolerate prevarication any longer. We will not tolerate their profiteering. We will not tolerate them ignoring our will.
Debt. Aid. Trade. Governance.
Debt: Africa is crippled by debt it cannot repay. It's time to wipe the slate clean, to drop the debt, to stop profiteering off the poor.
Aid: Much more aid is promised than ever delivered. A huge overhaul is needed, not just in how much aid our governments promise, but how much money they actually provide and how it is used. AIDS is wiping out half the population of the continent, and we need to do more to ensure that it's insidious spread is halted, and that drugs are made available to those who need them.
Trade: African trying to earn a living are being driven out of business or kept in poverty because of unfair trade laws. These laws are drafted and enacted by the richest countries in the world, and guess who they benefit?
Governance: There's no doubt that there is corruption. There's is also no doubt that there are good people doing good work in Africa. We can't ignore the problem of fair governance when addressing the problems faced by Africa.
Who benefits?
We do. All of us, because a stronger Africa means a stronger world. Every African who earns a good living, who has independence, dignity and health, who can provide an education for their children and security for themselves and the next generation, they all help our world be a better place too.
We don't want your money, we want your voice
Live 8 is not about raising money, it's about raising your voice. Join billions of others in telling your leaders that you want them to act, now, to make poverty history. Don't allow the G8 Summit to pass without telling your leaders that you want them to take an historic stand, that you want them to drop the debt, reform trade laws and double aid.
Live 8 is the first rung on the ladder – there is a lot more that will need to be done. Turning out for a gig is a great show of solidarity but we need to keep the conversation going once Live 8 is over. Let this be a start, a new beginning. We must continue to discuss what is happening, what needs to happen, and what we can make happen. And we need to keep the channels of communication open, and keep the pressure on our leaders to do something constructive.
All the links you could possibly need are on the Technorati Live 8 site. Use them.

Anonymous July 2, 2005 at 7:33 pm

Interesting voices are being raised, too. I heard reported that there is controversy about the advice that uber-investor Warren Buffet gave to Bonno: “When speaking, do not appeal to the conscience of this country. Appeal to its greatness.”
Some seem to think who was Buffett to tell Bonno what to do, and others think Buffett's advice was the epitome of how *not* to be sounding — like the US is the all-wise and other countries know nothing. Still others say hey, do whatever gets attention and gets the job done.
To me it was simply a marketing discussion: Is it more effective to appeal to people's desire to avoid bad feelings (conscience), or more effective to promise good feelings (greatness). I say, why not send both messages.

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