U2‘s Bono, in an open letter published in The Guardian, has said that he has received support for his planned Live Aid style show in Cologne on June 19 from a wide range of artists, from Pavarotti to Lauryn Hill, prepared to lend their support to the Jubilee 2000 campaign to get Western banks to end third world debt.
Launched at the Brits last week when Bono presented an award to Muhammad Ali, Jubilee 2000 is a coalition of Western charities such as Christian Aid and Comic Relief. Their aim is to get the major Western banks to cancel outstanding third world debt which have resulted in impoverishment and starvation throughout Africa and parts of Latin America.
With an eye to a Live Aid style show at the G8 Summit in Cologne – a high level meeting of western governments and banks to plan the fiscal strategies of the developed industrial nations of Europe, America and Japan – Bono plans the event to coincide with this.
“I’m in the music business, the volume business. Making a lot of noise is something musicians do well. We see a chance here for an idea that will give not just the millennium some meaning, but also our generation,” he wrote. “I’ve had calls from the singer Lauryn Hill (on the way to having her baby), Pavarotti, Oasis, Smashing Pumpkins, REM, Beastie Boys, Michael Jackson and the blessed Bob Geldof himself. Add these names to those of the heavyweight groups that make up Jubilee 2000 and others, and you begin to have the kind of broad convergence that ended slavery and, eventually, apartheid.”
But already there is some dissent; speaking on BBC Radio 4 last week, Damon Albarn said: “Musicians, artists should have nothing to do with anything like that. Their power should be in their music, their words and their images. Bono is very well meaning and has probably got a very good heart, but the idea of them and 1000 people all tanked up, all toasting this kind of great sentiment – the level of hypocrisy in all standing up for the Third World debt to be abolished – it’s profoundly Western.”
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