Archive for July 13th, 2010

Thank God it’s them instead of you: Live Aid and Ireland

13 July 2010

By Kevin O’Sullivan

Think of Africa in the mid-1980s and a distinct set of images comes to mind. Ethiopia. Sudan. Famine. Michael Buerk on the BBC lifting the media veil on Korem refugee camp, “the closest thing to hell on earth”. Band Aid. “Feed the world”. Live Aid. Bob Geldof imploring the watching public to “give us your money NOW”.

In Ireland Live Aid evokes memories of a unique public display of energy and emotion. Pride that on 13 July 1985 one of Ireland’s own was the driving force behind the first global media fund-raising extravaganza of its kind. Pride in the £7.5 million pledged from a country crippled by high taxation, unemployment and emigration – the highest per capita donation in the world. Pride in U2’s performance, as Bono’s famous off-stage foray catapulted the band into even greater realms of stardom. And, above all, pride in the role played by Irish NGOs like Concern, Goal, Trócaire, Self Help, Gorta, the Irish Red Cross, Christian Aid, Oxfam, even the IFA, in assisting the millions affected by famine in Ethiopia and Sudan. Read More