Beyond Bob Geldof’s Ebola Christmas

charity

The debate and backlash that surrounded Bob Geldof’s resurrection of Band Aid’s 1984-charity single, Do They Know It’s Christmas, to raise funds for Ebola held my attention for many days. While some questioned the rich celebrities’ motives, others were appalled by the patronizing lyrics, which they claimed cast West Africans as people who cannot solve their problems and so were always in need of foreign aid. In between were a thousand other pros and cons. I capture selected sentiments (edited), below:

 

They need all the money they can get. What have the people complaining done?

My parents gave money when I was two. Now I’m thirty-two, I have to give money—hang on, my daughter is two. Is this a generational thing?

Well at least they’re changing the lyrics.

How about new lyrics: cure the world, yes they know it’s Christmas time, doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?

It’s called Band Aid not Deep Surgery for crying out loud!

 

Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the countries facing the wrath of Ebola, cannot afford to turn up their noses at financial assistance from Band Aid 30. I suppose it is left to the rest of us to speak up for them. And we did.

By now Bob Geldof knows:

  • Rhetorical questions like, do they know it’s Christmas time at all? will be answered on Twitter and Facebook, with viral effect, as long as he keeps asking.
  • Hyperbole, that literary device sometimes used to coax emotive response, has been withdrawn from his poetic license—where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears; where nothing ever grows; and now, where a kiss of love can kill you and there’s death in every tear.
  • Irony, well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you, has never been more tongue in cheek.
  • Synecdoche, a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa, is the preserve of Africans for Africa.
  • White savior complex means that in the absence of a black Jesus, Africans might accept a mixed race one, the scion of a black father and a white mother or vice versa.
  • The danger of a single story will haunt him, although thirty years later, Africans are yet to acquire their own Cable News Network, African Broadcasting Corporation, or Al j’Africa to tell their multiple stories.

 

But I suspect Bob Geldof also knows:

  • Visibility creates heightened awareness. Celebrities generate greater visibility for causes than the United Nations does1.
  • When it comes to charitable giving, people act from the heart not from the head. Facts and charts are boring.
  • Emotion is the language of donation, images of children and women, the defenseless, make viewers emotionally invested2. Images of a prosperous Africa will zip purses close.
  • Words can evoke powerful empathetic responses because they transport us into other people’s world. Hence, no peace and joy this Christmas in West Africa – the only hope they’ll have is being alive.
  • He is a musician who knows how to compose popular songs that will sell.
  • He wants to help on his terms not yours.
  • Generosity is most potent at Christmas.

 

So, can we take a pause from shouting ourselves hoarse on social media and dismount our righteous soapboxes please? Give us your aid on our terms, sounds chivalrous, carries the ring of revolution even, but isn’t it as naïve now as it was then? Does he who pays the piper not dictate the tune?

Band Aid 30’s charity single, Do They Know It’s Christmas? in aid of the Ebola crisis, has become the fastest-selling single of 2014, selling over 200,000 copies since its release about a week ago3.  Who is buying the ‘demeaning’ song that Fuse ODG, British-Ghanaian rapper, refused to be a part of because he is, “sick of the whole concept of Africa – a resource-rich continent with unbridled potential – always being seen as diseased, infested and poverty-stricken.”4?

It would seem no amount of revising would have made the ‘new’ song acceptable to those condemning it. Only a song by Africans for Africans stands a chance of not being condescending. The Africa Stop Ebola, single, an African initiative that includes well-known musicians such as Tiken Jah Fakoly, Amadou & Mariam, Salif Keita, and Oumou Sangare, was recorded before the release of Band Aid 30’s charity single. It is currently at number seventy-eight on the iTunes download charts. Band Aid 30 is at number one5. Telling isn’t it?

Perhaps frustration arises from fighting something intangible—Geldof still raises millions with his ‘questionable’ lyrics and the African countries in question readily collect financial aid from the sale of lyrics that ‘demean’ them. Remember when the local radio stations in Nigeria played Band Aid’s song over and over and we sang, danced, and clapped (omg, omg! horror of horrors!) to the catchy chorus, feed the world . . . ? Right, that was thirty years ago. But, will the stations play the new version?

The long-term solution for underdeveloped African countries is not charity. There should be more to aid than handing over millions of Pounds6. Okay. But is that Geldof’s job? Really? Should only Bob Geldof be put on trial? Or maybe he should be hung for exploiting human nature.

A man can’t ride your back unless it is bent7. There are many ways to straighten our backs. Using Bob Geldof as target practice is one of them. I get it. Can we now concentrate on other ways of straightening our backs so that Geldof wouldn’t dare resurrect Band Aid 40 in ten years’ time, because not only would our outcry have sensitized public opinion, we would also have perfected African solutions to ‘Afro-global’ problems.

A new generation of Africans wants to tell new African stories. They know that media isn’t 100% objective. It exists to serve the interest of the owners, which include profit and propaganda. Maybe we don’t have to be so defensive about the old stories; they are part of our stories too, no? Those stories will evolve as those societies truly do and the burden of change lies with us.

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

  1. Geldof decided to remake the single after the United Nations contacted him, saying help was urgently needed to prevent the disease from spreading beyond West Africa. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/17/us-health-ebola-geldof-idUSKCN0IZ0GY20141117 
  1. Oxfam, the international aid agency, reports in 2012, that three out of five people polled said they were or had become desensitised to images depicting issues such as hunger, drought and disease. http://www.oxfam.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2012/12/show-africas-potential-not-just-its-problems-says-oxfam
  1. http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/nov/18/band-aid-30-becomes-fastest-selling-single-of-2014 
  1. Anyone who has experienced Africa in a positive way is a citizen of the New Africa and needs to play their part in challenging perceptions– and if I can make chart-topping music that celebrates Africa then surely Band Aid and its extensive network can do the same. – Fuse ODG  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/19/turn-down-band-aid-bob-geldof-africa-fuse-odg  
  1. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/20/-sp-africa-stop-ebola-band-aid-alternative 
  1. My quote. For further reading: I don’t know of any country in the world where a bunch of foreigners came and developed the country. I know about countries that developed on trade and innovation and business. – Herman Chinery-Hesse. http://www.povertycure.org/issues/foreign-aid/
  1. Quote by Martin Luther King Jr., “Whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can’t ride your back unless it is bent.”

 

Image Credit:

Map of Africa:  http://all-free-download.com/free-vector/vector-clip-art/africa_clip_art_19737.html

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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59 thoughts on “Beyond Bob Geldof’s Ebola Christmas

  1. “The Africa Stop Ebola, single, an African initiative that includes well-known musicians such as…It is currently at number seventy-eight on the iTunes download charts.”

    The past few days have been humid for Americans due to the Ferguson Black/White shooting incident. Recently, a kid got into a scuffle with a cop–– of course, it was tagged a black or white issue. Black issues have always been debated on grounds of who to blame, who the fixers should be, and not enough of WHY the fixers should be Black. Then maybe I’m wrong…

    I get the sense that when we try to put more WHY behind every decision, it’ll be easier to convince others to buy into our action plans, make them see the benefit for themselves. Then again, I’m not saying that Blacks/Africans are stupid…

    Maybe we need to pay enough attention to WHAT makes us bleed before we get to a position of choosing the right Band Aid. Sorry for the epistle, Timi!

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    1. The events at Ferguson have weighed heavy on our hearts. Sometimes when emotions are high, we do not ask the right questions, this is human . . . but perhaps when we are calmer, we can reflect.

      “Maybe we need to pay enough attention to WHAT makes us bleed before we get to a position of choosing the right Band Aid.” Food for thought.

      I don’t mind the epistle, it shows passion. We read your words, and find your heart.
      Thanks Maggielola.

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  2. There was a point in time in less than 30 yrs., China was considered a developing country and wanting some aid ..food but mostly technology, arms, medicine and …skills to teach locals. That was before its nouveau capitalism burst and muscled into the scene.

    Maybe a better way at this is for mainstream media to highlight African nations who are less dependent aid and doing great stuff …with the usual stories of human weaknesses/crime. From here in Canada, certainly there’s not enough stories outside of Ebola, prolific Kenyan ultramarathon runners (positive image/ambassadors) and pretty tourism images of South Africa for us to become more aware.

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    1. @mainstream media, it would be nice, but mainstream media doesn’t exist to promote Africa. The various countries in Africa can develop deliberate PR and marketing strategies, including, but not limited to buying air time. Ultimately, the greatest advertisement is transformed societies. CNN and BBC have programs that highlight positive socio-economic developments on the African continent. How many people are curious enough to watch?

      Perhaps when others and I blog about stuff like this, we help spread awareness as well as generate thought . . .

      “There was a point in time . . . ” May that one day be the story of the countries on the African continent that are presently struggling.

      Thanks Jean.

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  3. Bold and commendable decision by Mr Fuse. Just like Chimanada Adichie once said, a single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.

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    1. @Mr Fuse, resonates with me. People who stand by their convictions, especially ones I can understand, have my admiration.

      More than ever we have multiple platforms to tell a variety of stories. More than ever we must ‘create’ stories ‘worth’ sharing. Thanks Emeka.

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  4. Timi, you have really outdone yourself with this one. What a great post. So much to consider and chew on. I love that quote by Fuse ODG. It really is sad that some parts of the world are considered less, or of lesser intelligence, importance, significance, etc. As if the western world is of a higher class, and that Africa is so in need of it. Each culture has its beauty, uniqueness and individuality. Oftentimes the western world only sees those ‘less fortunate’ (I had that expression) in need of a bandage, and unable to be self-sufficient and thrive apart from aid. Unfortunately, no thanks to western media, Africa, and other places such as the Middle East suffer degradation due to what’s shown to westerners, and globally actually. My husband and I traveled to Afghanistan in 2006 in order to produce a documentary on the Afghan people. The purpose of it was ‘to give a voice to those that don’t have a voice’. To show the world that there is beauty in the Afghan people, and their culture. To show others that it’s not all about what we see in the news. That they have values and principles that are beautiful, and would put many westerner’s to shame.
    Such a huge topic here Timi. So glad you touched on it. You are giving a voice to those that don’t have the chance to have a voice.
    🙂

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    1. Thank you Staci. I am glad you enjoyed reading.

      I admire Fuse ODG for staying true to his convictions in the face of temptation or pressure. He admits that saying no to Bob Geldofwas one of the hardest decisions he had to make this year. His article is measured and respectful. I cannot say the same for some others that I read.

      While I concede that western media has contributed to misrepresenting Africa, Africans really need to step up their game and get some of the whine out of their voice.

      Afghanistan, it must have been an enlightening trip. If you say Afghanistan, I guess people answer al-Qaeda! Is your documentary on YouTube? Would you want to share a link. If it’s short, I’ll watch. What was your biggest take away from the trip? How has it informed your response when you watch stories of say, Africa on the news?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Africans really need to step up their game and get some of the whine out of their voice.”
        –I agree. I think it’s learned behavior. Like, having lived in a reality as such for so long, and then ‘poof’ change, is not an easy thing to do. How can it be done? I guess it’s something that happens slowly, changing mentalities and all.

        Unfortunately the documentary is not on Youtube, because of security reasons. We were with friends of ours that are working full time there and we can not take any chances putting their life, and work at risk.

        Biggest take away…
        –Hmmmmm. That’s difficult to answer because it wasn’t the first place I’ve been that was completely different from my own culture. Also, my reality is soooooo different then the average. I have been a missionary for 12 years now, traveled to various places, seen and experienced various cultures and have learned a lot concerning world-view and the like.

        I guess I would have to say thoughts on the power of the media. A tiny little bomb can go off at a corner pizzaria in Kabul, and all of a sudden the media blows it way out of proportion. We had an Afghan guy that we met come to Brazil to do a school we were offering. He shared that with us, and how it really bothers him. The way people see his country because of it.
        I was so frightened when we in the line up, waiting to board the plane in Istanbul, I was scared of the men, and what there were thinking of me, and how I was only one of two females boarding the plane. When I got up to go to the bathroom, I was so scared that I asked my husband to watch me as I headed on back. I didn’t know if I should cover my head and all. But really, the Afghan people have strong value systems. Western culture could learn a lot about hospitality and family values from them. Oh sure, there are some horrible things as well, like this one girl I met in a prison that was only 15 years old. She was thrown in prison because she ran away on her wedding day. I could tell you other sad stories of the treatment of girls and women, but they’re not the only stories there.

        I don’t think my experience in Afghanistan alone has shaped the way I respond to news reports or stories. I think my thoughts come from a whole collection of experiences, and things I’ve learned over the past number of years. Like I had mentioned to you recently, I used to have very strong, black and white opinions. I’ve really learned that there is a whole ton of grey now. I’m quite interested in sociology and how cultures and societies have formed throughout history. I really think that this whole issue that you shared about Africa, and what we see here in Brazil, has a whole looooonnnnnnngggg history behind it. A history that can’t just be changed from night to day.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. How fortunate you have been to see the world through other lenses. You can watch a news report and know that this is one story among many. Still it is insidious enough to banish rational thought and inspire fear, as in your example at Istanbul, if we let it.

          Ah, change. I like what Obama said about change- Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

          Thanks Staci.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Very interesting article about a subject I am struggling to get my head around. I guess the road to hell is paved with good intentions and no good deed goes unpunished,(I’ve got a million of them). It seems to me that in time of need any help would be welcome. Like you said, he who pays the piper calls the tune. And a man can’t ride your back unless your back is bent. I can certainly understand the humiliation of being condescended to and that is unacceptable for sure. But what is the answer? Africa is for sure a resource rich continent little understood in the west. More contact and mutual understanding may be the key to better relations. For myself, I have always loved Africa and the African people. I was lucky enough to have traveled to East Africa (Kenya) in 2007 and it was the trip of a lifetime, What are you thoughts on how best to help with the Ebola crisis?

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    1. Lol@the road to hell is paved with good intentions and no good deed goes unpunished 🙂 Benn! Haha!

      But what is the answer? Good question.

      I don’t know it all. But here are a few things I’ve come to know.
      Nobody is more or should be more invested in your future than you. People tend to be interested in themselves- I’m not casting stones, it’s human nature. Life is not fair and the playing field isn’t level. Despite this have a vision and develop a strategy for where you want to go. You can’t do it alone, you’ll need allies. Make pacts with the right friends and read the fine print before you sign the contract. If your back is bent, you need a miracle or surgery. There are different kinds of respect. You’ll need to earn some of them. What is true for one person, is also true for a group of persons within a geographical boundary called a country.

      @ebola, I’m not a medical or aid expert but from what I’ve read the emergency situation necessitates an urgent response, which tends to be short-term or short-sighted by nature. As the emergency is being contained, a long-term strategy should be deployed, which includes education, reconstruction, and capacity building. One benefit of this would be to prevent future outbreaks or contain them on time.

      If you’re interested, Oyewale Tomori, a professor of virology, shares some thoughts here:
      http://www.dw.de/tomori-ebola-shouldnt-have-caught-us-unawares/a-18075632

      So, what took you to East Africa, and why was it the trip of a lifetime? In the light of what you saw or experienced in Kenya, does the ebola outbreak in the 3 western African countries hit you on a more personal level?
      p.s. you really made me think! 🙂

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      1. I went to Kenya in 2007 to accompany my partner Mary Lopez who was a grant’s administrator for the Ford Foundation. The Foundationb chose Nairobe as the site for a worldwide meeting. It was a trip of a lifetime for me because I love to travel and I have always been in love with Africa for as I can remember. When we went there were elections going on and tyher was political unrest. I had a bit of an adventure when I ventured into Nairobi on my own and almost didn’t make it out. I’ll share that story at another time. I was struck by the friendliness of the people and the beauty of the land. I would definitely go back. The ebola crisis in west Africa does hit me on a personal level because I have been on the continent and have many African friends.

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          1. As I read I heard the warmth in your voice. I hope you have more adventures when next you visit. There is beauty in Africa, just as anywhere else.
            Thanks for sharing Benn, and happy thanksgiving to you too! 🙂

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  6. There is definitely not a clear cut answer to the questions you are posing and you do a great job of unpacking the nuances and seeing the different sides. I remember enjoying the original song when it came out and thinking, what a great service- yet, as you point out- there is conditioning there that is now being identified …. and hopefully will lead to needed changes.

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    1. Many people I know enjoyed the song and the cause, they did not see any shades of grey.
      @Clear cut answers and nuances, your thoughts on this resonates.
      Sometimes we write, not because we know, but because we want to invite others to think and learn with us.
      @needed changes, roger that.
      Thanks Diahann.

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  7. I wonder, is it possible for a person in a position of strength to help a person in a position of weakness without demeaning the weaker party?

    If the answer is no, it seems like the consequences would be pretty awful.

    Whatever the answer, being weak sucks and it will always suck.

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    1. As usual Ben, you give me stuff to chew on. That’s why I like these conversations. 🙂

      I have been the weaker party. I have been helped and I did not feel demeaned. There were times when I questioned the helper’s motive and actions, but in the end I was grateful because the aid resulted in me learning to fish for myself i.e. from dependency to independence. This is not the norm. I think that a certain measure of ‘humility’ makes receiving help easy. But I have also turned down offers of help, not because it was demeaning, but because it was theft masked as help.

      “Whatever the answer, being weak sucks and it will always suck.”
      I think this is true in many cases. Sometimes life slaps you on both cheeks and you need aid. I like to think that having a vision and strategy for a brighter future helps with that horrible feeling of being weak.

      Though we can draw excellent parallels from our lives, this is also about countries. President Paul Kagame said, “There is bad aid and there is good aid. The bad aid is that one which creates dependencies, as we’ve known for a long time now. But good aid is that which is targeted to create capacities in people so that they are able to live on their own activities.… In the long-term they have to depend on themselves rather than depend on aid.”

      Geez, did you just make me write all that? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “My parents gave money when I was two. Now I’m thirty-two, I have to give money—hang on, my daughter is two. Is this a generational thing?”

    Now this is sad. It’s like being stripped of your pride 😦
    I hate the image of Africa being portrayed by western media; the image of sick children, and one BBC documentary depicting Lagos as a slum. Imagine! It’s like people are saying, “hey sell off Africa as a giant dump and we’ll get the ratings skyrocket and the money rolling”. I hate it and a part of me experiences this slight moment of glee when something goes wrong in the west. Times like that I am forced to remember a line from the movie 300: Even god kings bleed.

    Like that quote, “you can’t ride a man’s back unless it is bent”, Africa needs to pick herself out of the dump. Sure we need all the help we can get, because somehow we all seem to be suffering from collective amnesia, but our situation is something we have caused ourselves. At least that is the case with Nigeria.

    Sorry I don’t want to hijack your post. But right now I’m quite unsure whether to burst into a sea of tears, or bubble from wild hysteria.

    This write up reminds me a lot of Dennis Brutus’ Sun On This Rubbles.
    *sighs*

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    1. That’s why people like Fuse ODG didn’t want to be part of Band Aid 30. He says, “I was born in Tooting, south London, and was taken as an infant to Ghana. Returning to London at the age of 11, being African was not something to be proud of because of all the negative connotations it conjured up, and it drove me to be almost ashamed of who I was.”

      Straighten our backs, yes. I like to be a cross-cultural ambassador to anyone who’s willing to see and hear another narrative. And we can breathe life into those images that tell the stories we’d rather others not hear, by presenting them as people with dreams and hope. I am learning not to cringe.

      I enjoy Dennis Brutus’ poetry, but I’m not very familiar with this one.
      Hijack the post, we’re all doing life together 🙂

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      1. Fuse ODG is making an unspoken assumption here – that “who I was” is a racial and national construct.

        Considering how arbitrary both of those things are, I wonder if he made a mistake in defining himself thus.

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        1. Who knows? Especially since I just lifted a paragraph from a longer essay . . .

          Still, these external factors can colour our outlook. I remember breezing through Dutch passport control at the airport while my (Nigerian) friends were grilled to the point of annoyance. The difference? The “colour” of our “passports”. If these kinds of things happen to you over and over and over, could your definition of self be threatened?
          We talked a little about these kinds of issues here: https://livelytwist.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/race-ethnicity-prejudice-and-attitudes/

          At 11, if memory serves me well, growing up in Nigeria, my biggest problem was whether to eat rice or fried plantain for dinner. Even though he doesn’t go into detail, I can try to imagine what say, school and the playground was like for him at that tender age of 11 in Britain.

          Thanks Ben!

          Liked by 1 person

  9. This was a truly insightful piece. And that’s the thing. No matter who helps, or doesn’t help, the burden of change(like you said) always lies with ourselves. As far as this concerned, I just think a person trying to raise charity is hardly a cause for such hue and cry. But that’s how the world runs today. Everything can me made into a mockery or sensationalized. We are always quick to safeguard our sensitivities. But we rarely realize or accept true faults, which in many cases are no one’s but ours.

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    1. Band aid is a temporary but welcome solution in an emergency. Deep surgery should follow.
      Herman Chinery-Hesse says, “I don’t know of any country in the world where a bunch of foreigners came and developed the country. I don’t know one: Japan? Korea? No! No country did that. I know about countries that developed on trade and innovation and business.”

      @sensitivities, we need ‘thicker’ skins . . .
      Thanks Nida.

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            1. Thanks Ben. Your excellent articles draw us into the broader conversation of how successful democracies are formed. In your words, “I noted that transformative dictators, authoritarian socialists or imperialists had preceded every successful democracy to emerge in the last 200 years that I can recall.” I’m not ready to go there 😉 Perhaps Nida?

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  10. My favorite quote:

    “It’s time the likes of Geldof stopped asking us to give money, and like Adele, started donating some themselves. Charity, after all, begins at home.”

    To read the whole article:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/ebola/11236278/Why-Adele-was-right-to-ignore-Bob-Geldof-and-Band-Aid.html

    As far as I’m concerned, people who have been featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous have NO business passing the hat in my direction. To Geldof, I say, “Get your hand out of my pocket! Go raid your own piggy bank.”

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    1. Indeed many shared similar sentiments 🙂

      Here’s my take. If Geldof gives the call for us to give (in response to a personal call from the UN), that’s his prerogative- he is a celebrity, he does what he knows best. People decide if they’ll respond or not. Do we know for sure that Geldof hasn’t/isn’t donating some of his money? I digress.

      I read that celebrity-driven model of fundraising is out and technology has brought a democratization of fundraising. However, no one is saying “No,” to the money Geldof is raising. 😉
      http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/band-aid-30-backlash-celebrity-charity-model-losing-lustre-1.2840715

      Thanks Nancy.

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  11. I’ve followed the brouhaha raised by Sir Bob & his ‘minstrels with much consternation. I despise the lyrics so much that I’ve ground my teeth down to fine powder having listened to them being repeatedly churned out by my local radio station. But, as it turns out, you can’t command respect when you’re on your knees; you can’t demand it either when your ‘back is bent’.

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    1. Hi Ruhuka, in reading and thinking about this, I came to the conclusion, and I may be off the mark here, that it is Africans in the Diaspora who are riled up about this the most, and your example resonates. For some of us, that narrative of Africa has never been a part of our lives, not even when we lived in our various African countries.

      In one of the comment threads, someone said that she felt very upset because she was Ethiopian and Ethiopia has been trying to get rid of the poverty image for thirty years. Another person responded that he wasn’t born in that era, and wasn’t really familiar with Band Aid, yet when he thinks of Ethiopia, images of poverty flood his mind. The reason: the Ethiopian immigrants flooding his neighbourhood (I saw the picture in my mind’s eye). Telling, isn’t it?

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  12. Sorry about the exploitation, and I would add ignorance, Timi, but glad for the help. The truth is that while Nigeria seemed to handle Ebola on its own, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea need help. Desperately. The truth is that Ebola is not an African problem, it is a world problem. –Curt

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    1. @world problem, I agree that’s why I coined the word, afro-global.

      @exploitation, hmmm, we could write another blog post on the politics of aid and challenges of development. When I saw the title of one of Al Jazeera’s opinion pieces on this subject: We got this, Bob Geldof, so back off, I immediately thought, “No we haven’t!”

      @ignorance, it cuts both ways. Many Africans also hold stereotypes of Western nations. These days when a ‘foreigner’ is impressed by my grasp of the English language, I don’t get annoyed. Like a good cultural ambassador, I explain that the English language is one of the legacies of British colonialism and fill their knowledge gap 🙂

      We are typically curious about the things we care about, and frequently that doesn’t include the whole world.

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      1. The whole world is admittedly tough to comprehend and relate to Timi. But more and more, I am convinced that a worldwide perspective, and even a worldwide government, is the only possible way to address worldwide problems.

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  13. This is a really good piece, Timi. I would love to see it picked up by some source outside of WordPress, like Huffington Post or Slate.

    Is it ok that “Al j’Africa” cracked me up?

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    1. Of course, it’s okay, especially if you picked the reference to Al Jazeera 😀
      Actually I’m glad. There’s some ‘bitter’ truth in this piece, humour helps to take the edge of 😉

      @Huffington Post or Slate, that would be great.
      Thanks Eric.

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      1. Of course; that’s why it was funny! I’m slowly learning the Nigerian sense of humor.

        I don’t know about Slate, but HuffPo has a spot where you can submit your post for consideration. They won’t pay you even if they run it, but it could still be cool to get some exposure.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. It’s a real thing! I see Nigerian humor as characterized by bemused detachment and an odd mix of cynicism and hope.

            OK, so maybe I’m basing that off the 3 or 4 blogs I read, but I think cultures do have their own senses of humor. British humor is different from American humor, which is different from Italian humor, and so on.

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  14. I’m hopeful that Africa will outgrow this red-headed stepchild status, we’ve definitely evolved in the last 30 years, change is coming slowly but surely.

    I am pleased that Nigeria “self-resolved” the spread of EVD, we’ve got 99 problems but the second coming of Bob’s Band Aid ain’t one of them (hopefully).

    This quote had me nodding my head thoughtfully- “A man can’t ride your back unless it is bent”. Indeed!

    Like

    1. “change is coming . . . ” We desperately want to believe that . . . We have potential . . .
      @EVD, so am I, so am I.

      The quote reminds me to accept responsibility for and take charge of my life.

      Like

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