Sunday, July 03, 2005

Live 8 - reflections

Yesterday I made a day-trip down to Philly with friends to catch that branch of the Live 8 concerts. It was an interesting day. I've seen conflicting figures of how many people were there - I only know that it was hard even to move sometimes it was so crowded. Grassy areas were filled up, so people were sitting in the street, standing on top of trucks, sitting on top of port-a-potties (yuk!) Not a place for the claustrophobic.

It was pretty hot out - some fire trucks were even on site sprinkling by-passers with cold water. There were vendors everywhere, selling things at expectedly high and inflated prices. We found our best bet was a stand operated by a local sports association.

The music was ok - unless you were very close, you couldn't see the stage, and it was also hard to find "seats" near the jumbotrons, big-screens showing the stage. My favorite - Bon Jovi (I used to love singing Bon Jovi songs on the bus home from elementary school) and Will Smith leading a sing-a-long to the theme from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

All said - I wouldn't have wanted to miss it. What kind of impact will Live 8 have? I'm not sure. But it raises consciousness - it encourages social activism in people who may not have considered it before. I'm not foolish enough to think everyone who attended was there for the cause and not for the free concerts. But, people were still there, hearing the message about poverty, debt, and relief. People were made to feel like it is possible to make and to work for change, and I think that is something we often forget.

Are there other better ways to fight poverty? Probably. But I don't find it helpful to critique efforts like this if you don't have 1) better alternatives in mind 2) the commitment to work on these issues in your alternative way. At least, I don't think there were any malicious intents in Live 8. Personal interests? Of course. But when is that not the case? Better to hope for the best, and hope that this event can make or contribute to positive changes as we work to end poverty. We'll see...
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