Part Two - Live 8 Edinburgh: Success?
The G8 leaders have responded to the mindless terrorist attack on London and the efforts by the millions of campaigners in the Live 8 movement with a stale list of agreements. First of all, the leaders have all agreed to commit to a $50 Billion (US) package with relaxed restrictions on how the money can be used. What they failed to say is that this package had already been agreed upon by the G8 financial ministers a month ago. Not very revolutionary now is it? Secondly, they've made an attempt at setting up a meeting to talk about free trade in Africa. No mentions of actions or commitment, just talk. Thirdly, a repetition of the agreement to cancel African debt. In my opinion, this was a missed opportunity.
What makes this so much more painful is the fact that the musicians have fallen for it. At Edinburgh, Sir Bob stressed the fact that we're in it for the long run; 'This won't be a quick fix.' 'We want long term commitments.' Despite this, Bob is attacking anyone that claims these changes are not substantial. He thinks that in the perspective of the announcement this is a good thing for Africa. Isn't he missing the point? What happens when this issue inevitably falls off the agenda? We can't keep having concerts forever. The G8 missed an opportunity to truly make poverty history. The combined political weight and financial power of those 8 leaders was easily enough to make real long term agreements that would have secured the future of Africa.
The terrorist attacks on London yesterday provided a truly sickening backdrop to the global effort to influence the G8. Mindless violence without demand or direct provocation against innocent and powerless people. Despite the G8 missing such a great opportunity for worldwide agreement on making poverty history, the fact that the leaders made an effort to agree on the issue sent a clear and defiant message against the terrorists.
Before and during the Live 8 concert protesters created tension in Edinburgh as they were cordoned off, preventing them from reaching the center of Edinburgh. The crowd swore at the police and the public, ruining the atmosphere of a peaceful effort to make poverty history. Of course, at any event involving world leaders or big issues, anarchists and thugs will always try to cause trouble. However, I'll never understand the appeal of intimidating police and the general public in the name of personal satisfaction.
An extraordinary sight on an extraordinary day. The police closed off Prince's Street to prevent protesters from reaching the center of Edinburgh.
I arrived in London on the Live 8 coaches around 15 minutes after this bus was blown up by a suspected suicide bomber. The feeling in London was of complete confusion, reports of gas explosions and power surges were flying left and right. The moment when it all became clear was the most disturbing moments of my life. A friend had been watching the news and sent me an SMS advising me not to get on any buses or go near the tube as it's likely that terrorist are attacking London. At the time I was reading the message the coach I was on was passing Edgware road tube station. As I looked out of the window I saw a sea of yellow coats and flashing lights surrounding the entrance to the tube station. However, my experience of the attack is trivial in comparison to anyone that experienced the explosions first hand. My heart goes out to all those affected personally by the mindless attacks in London. The support of the world is behind you all.