July 03, 2005


The BBC has published on its website's music section a David_stubbscritical view of the Live 8 concert by David Stubbs (left) an editor of the U.K. music magazine Wire, on "Why I Won't Be Watching Live 8" -_41261017_geldofreview_afp - in which Stubbs laments the white-bread character of the entertainment lineup and the notable absence of many African performers in a concert supposedly designed to raise consciousness about the inhuman, crushing poverty that afflicts sub-Saharan Africa. Stubbs criticizes Bob Geldof(right) for his overly-friendly attitudes towards the world's powerful. I heard the great Camerounian Afro-jazz musician Manu Dibongo (left)Image express precisely the same reservations in a live interview yesterday on TV 5, the international francophone channel (Manu is a huge star in France as well as in French-speaking Africa), in which he explained why he, too, was boycotting Live 8. "Tony Blair wrote the score for this concert, and Bob Geldof is his orchestra leader," Manu said, "I suppose this concert can't hurt, but will it really help? It cost a lot of money to organizes these concerts around the world -- how much? And was this the best use for this money in terms of helping Africa? How honest an effort is it when the music and the people for whom the concert's organizers are claiming to speak are absent from it?" There's no transcript of Manu's interview available on the 'net, so read Stubbs' cri de coeur by clicking here. ....Also, there's a strong critique in the July 6 edition of Australia's quite useful Green Left Weekly -- an intelligently edited radical newspaper Down Under, published by the Socialist Alliance -- which has a wealth of explication dissecting what's really in the anti-poverty plan that is the G-8's response to Geldof & Company, in a new piece headlined "G8, How the Rich World Short-Changes Africa:"

"Across the globe, there has been a genuine outpouring of popular solidarity and sympathy with the people of Africa, symbolised by the tens of thousands who attended, and the millions who watched, the Live 8 concerts. Unfortunately, celebrations to mark what British deputy PM Gordon Brown described as 'the intention of world leaders to forge a new and better relationshipImages_28  between the rich and poor countries of the world' are premature.

"The G8's promises fall far short, and contradict important aspects, of MPH’s demands as detailed on its web site — “Trade justice”, “Drop the debt” and 'More and better aid'. MPH demands that 'the unpayable debts of the world’s poorest countries should be cancelled in full' and “poor countries should no longer have to privatise basic services or liberalise economies as a condition for getting the debt relief they so desperately need”. Yet, the much publicised British government-brokered deal only cancels the multilateral component of the debt of 18 of the world’s poorest countries (with another 20 that may become eligible in the future). But this “relief” Images_29 comes with the very strings that MPH opposes — strings that will ensure that poor countries remain trapped in dire poverty.

"As the grassroots anti-debt coalition African Jubilee South explained on June 14, eligibility 'involves the implementation of stringent free market reforms such as [health and education] budget cuts, financial and trade liberalisation, privatisation' and, as the G8 states explicitly, 'the elimination of impediments to private investment, both domestic and foreign'..." Read the rest of this stinging and revealing indictment by clicking here.

RACISM IS ALIVE AND WELL, #2: (Second in an occasional series -- if you missed the first installment, click here): The Associated Press reported last week on a new series of stamps issued in Mexico that embody the most vulgar and repugnant racial Mexicansambo_1_1 stereotypes of blacks imaginable. "The Mexican government has issued postage stamps depicting an exaggerated black cartoon character known as Memin Pinguin, just weeks after remarks by President Vicente Fox angered U.S. blacks. The series of five stamps released Wednesday depicts a character with exaggerated features, thick lips and wide-open eyes. The character's appearance, speech and mannerisms are the subject of kidding by white characters in a comic book series, which started in the 1940s and is still published in Mexico..." Read the rest of this story by clicking here. (Chapeau to Afro-netizen for this one...)

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Tracked on Jul 3, 2005 8:34:27 PM


Hi readers,

Another of Green Left Weekly's G8 articles, ``Africa needs justice not charity'', should also be read to get the full picture of the G8 scam. Visit http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2005/631/631p28.htm

``Casual readers of the newspaper headlines could be forgiven for believing that the leaders of the richest and most powerful countries have had a miraculous change of heart. If the papers are to be believed, the key decades-long demand of the global justice movement — debt cancellation — had been agreed to, thanks to an unlikely alliance between Tony Blair’s British Labour government, leading aid agencies and pop “legends” Bob Geldof and Bono. However, the devil is in the details, as Green Left Weekly’s Norm Dixon discovers.''

Posted by: Norm | Jul 16, 2005 9:21:26 PM

I'm forced to admit you're right. I had often seen Manu's name spelled with an "o" while I was living in France, but since I don't entirely trust memory I doublechecked, before posting, the spelling by Googling Manu's last name with an "o" -- and turned up a pile of links of websites touting his music with that spelling. However, after reading your note I reGoogled Manu's name with an "a" -- and, sure enough, it appears that's the correct spelling, as it is the way it appears on his soon-to-be website, still under construction. My apologies for getting it wrong unintentionally.

Posted by: Doug Ireland | Jul 8, 2005 11:56:24 PM

The saxman's name is Manu Dibango, best known in the US for his 1973 instrumental "Soul Makossa". Michael Jackson ripped off part of that record at the end of his own hit "Wanna Be Startin' Something" 10 years later.

"Soul Makossa" was a top-10 smash in New York and -- thanks to that -- Dibango has been able to get club dates for over 30 years on the strength of that one hit.

Posted by: Charles Everett | Jul 7, 2005 8:40:35 PM

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