July 4, 2005

Fave German bloggers on Live 8 and Africa

Posted in Africa, G8, Live 8 at 10:54 pm by billdawson

[editor’s note: this post was “pasted” in — it appeared originally at the old Dawson’s Danube site, which is archived here.]
Here is a roundup of some reactions to Live 8 (and the G8 Africa question) from some of my favorite German bloggers. (I hope they forgive my translations.)

David Harnash clips some text from a Spiegel interview with a Kenyan economic expert. Is he dumping on the greedy West and demanding more aid? Not quite. The interview begins with this opening paragraph:

“Streicht diese furchtbare Hilfe” Der kenianische Wirtschaftsexperte James Shikwati über die schädlichen Folgen der westlichen Entwicklungspolitik, korrupte Herrscher und aufgebauschte Horrormeldungen aus Afrika. “Cancel this horrible aid” Kenyan economic expert James Shikwati on the harmful consequences of western development aid policies, corrupt leaders and exaggerated reports of horror from Africa.

I won’t quote the whole thing, but Mr. Shikwati basically argues that aid turns Africans into beggars and finances massive bureaucracies, corruption and complacency. The Spiegel interviewer counters by pointing to massive starvation in Kenya, which, he says, must be alleviated. Shikwati argues that it must be the Kenyans who do this. He also points to this absurdity: the UN (and other) help organizations bring in massive amounts of grains, corn, etc., from the rich countries that subsidize their own agriculture and therefore make it difficult for an African to become a farmer.

Michael Kastner at Freheitsfabrik (the “Freedom Factory”) opines thusly in an article titled “Live Raid””:

Was gestern geschah: Es wurde, von irgendwelchen millionenschweren Popstars, öffentlich zur Plünderung der Steuerzahler in den G8-Ländern aufgerufen, damit irgendwelche korrupten afrikanischen Staatschefs ihre Milizen und Panzer weiterfinanzieren können. Die Popstars taten dies in Designer-Klamotten mit den zugehörigen Designer-Sonnenbrillen. Es sind die selben Leute, die dafür eintreten, daß die Kids in den Knast wandern, wenn sie ihre Songs über P2P-Netze tauschen. What really happened yesterday: millionaire popstars publically called for the plundering of the G8 countries’ taxpayers so that corrupt african leaders can further finance their militias and tanks. The popstars did this while wearing designer clothing with matching designer sunglasses. These are the same people who want to send kids to jail if they exchange songs over P2P networks.

UPDATE: let’s not stop there. At Politically Incorrect, Stefan excerpts from a Henryk Broder article. Here’s part:

Wenn Bono & Co. den Hungernden und Unterdrückten wirklich helfen wollten, dann müssten sie alles daran setzen, ihre “Live 8” Konzerte in der sudanesischen Provinz Darfour zu veranstalten oder, noch besser, in Harare, der Hauptstadt von Simbabwe, wo Robert Mugabe regiert (…) Mugabe ließ ganze Stadtviertel platt machen und Tausende verhaften – ohne dass dies in Europa mehr als ein müdes “Der, schon wieder!” ausgelöst hätte. If Bono and company really wanted to help the hungry and downtrodden, they should have done everything they could to have staged their concerts in Darfur or, even better, in Harare, the capitol of Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe reigns (…) Mugabe has leveled entire neighborhoods and arrested thousands, without even prompting a “Oh, him again!” in Europe.

Stefan himself adds:

Live 8 = Laufsteg für reiche, alternde Rockstars, die einen Tag lang Betroffenheit heucheln, um dann ungeheure Profite durch CD-Verkäufe einzustreichen! Live 8 = catwalk for aging rock stars who fake their shock and dismay for an entire day in order to rake in massive sales of their CDs.

Paul at No Blood for Sauerkraut also quotes the Spiegel interview with the Kenyan economic expert and adds on another quote from a “clever fellow” whom he doesn’t name until afterwards:

Denn wie bemerkte im Zusammenhang mit der Forderung, die Agrarsubventionen der USA und der EU einzustellen, kürzlich ein kluger Kopf: “Wenn es uns gelingt, den Handel vollständig zu liberalisieren, und wenn die westlichen Märkte den afrikanischen Ländern offenstehen, würde diesen so weit geholfen, dass man ihnen keine Hilfsgelder mehr überweisen müsste.” Da hat er zweifellos recht. Nur zu dumm, daß es sich hier nicht um Bob Geldof handelt oder die Tote Hose Campino. Sondern um George Bush. Da muß er wohl erst noch Gitarre spielen lernen. As one clever fellow said in connection to the calls to stop European and American domestic agricultural subsidies: “If we succeeded in fully liberalizing the market, and if the western market was truly open to the african countries, this would help so much that it would remove the need for aid transfers.” He is no doubt right. Sad thing is, this isn’t Bob Geldof or Campino [from the Toten Hosen, a German group]. It’s George Bush. He really should learn to play guitar.

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