Once again, the people of the United Kingdom have been subjected to yet another rework of the Band Aid single first released in 1984. The primary objective of each recording is to raise funds to help victims of atrocities in parts of Africa. Originally, this was to address major famine, with the latest release directing funds to meet the Ebola crisis. A few of the lyrics have been altered and with most artistes being different from the original ensemble, the highly unoriginal Band Aid 30 has been formed. Whilst the underlying aim of such activity is to be commended, the real truth is that much of the money raised never reaches the people who need it, and furthermore, the people ‘giving’ their time to record the song are hardly making much of a sacrifice.
Indeed, gathering numerous groups and individual artistes to contribute a small section of the song, requires little effort. It’s more an opportunity for such performers to promote themselves and be seen as do-gooders. Many performers are barely recognisable which further endorses my cynicism that they are only there for the publicity. This time around, there have been subtle changes to some of the lyrics … It’s now heal the world rather than feed it! So what about the title of this song?
In my opinion, it is very patronising. Much of the African continent is essentially Christian, so of course they will know when Christmas is celebrated. Thankfully, not all people see Christmas as a time to splash out on expensive items … that practice is the commercial side of the festive season. Far more importantly, it’s about celebrating the birth of Christianity and sharing time with others, and undoubtedly the people of Africa do this far more than in this country. The already rich performers pose before cameras, relishing in all their glory. It would be far better if all these artistes were to dig deep into their own pockets lined with gold instead of making a sub-standard recording and enticing the gullible public to buy it!
Band Aid is the brainchild of Sir Bob Geldof and Bono from the group U2. Between them, they are worth umpteen millions of pounds sterling, and live very privileged lives. Many of the performers they enlist also enjoy a lifestyle way beyond the aspirations of the majority of people, but here they all are, through a cacophony of sound, urging people to buy the record and donate to the cause. Then we have the issue of the lyrics which in no way imaginable reflect what is happening in west Africa. They all imply great negativity of Africa but in reality, the outbreak of Ebola is only evident in three countries. The suggestion that there is ‘no peace or joy’ in west Africa is a complete fabrication of the truth and furthermore, much of the African continent is bounding with a wealth of resources. Ebola is concentrated in a very small area of the African continent. Yes, it’s claimed the lives of over 5,000 people to date, but some 30,000 people die each winter in the UK as a direct result of the cold weather. Who is raising funds to help those at home? After all, there is an old saying that charity does begin at home!
I’m not suggesting that the victims of Ebola don’t need help but there are far more practical ways of doing so rather than a bunch of vastly overpaid popstars producing an irreverent song. Most importantly, people in parts of Africa need educating … whether this be in birth control, inter breeding or basic lifestyle behaviour. Sadly, there is still considerable famine in parts of Africa despite the money allegedly raised by the Band Aid single in 1984. I suspect that this latest incarnation of the song will do little on a practical front to eliminate the outbreak of Ebola, which, incidentally, is not a new disease. Maybe it is time for the countries within the African continent to start helping themselves rather than acting so selfishly and creating numerous tiers of living standards through oppression, dictatorship and greed.
Do they know it’s Christmas? I’m sure many do but for those suffering at this time, that fact will be irrelevant. It would be far better if they knew how to deal with and contain the epidemic. There are already charities channeling both money and resources into the affected countries in west Africa so maybe it would have been more pertinent for Bob Geldof et al to come up with something far more original.