A real story about Poverty...
Taken from the Toronto "Globe and Mail" a Newspaper there. What is your opinion of this? Do you think this is important? or what? Stuart
'They know nothing about poverty'
Despite all the global concern, Africans are not optimistic, STEPHANIE NOLEN reports
By STEPHANIE NOLEN
Monday, July 4, 2005 Page A1
JOHANNESBURG -- It was all quite nice, Andrew Mwaipunga thought: an unusually warm winter day, a peaceful gathering of thousands of people in the heart of Johannesburg, a city only recently reclaimed from vicious urban warfare. Lots of good music, all of it free.
The Live 8 show was a fine way for him to spend his day off on Saturday, and, well, yes, it was supposed to have something to do with poverty in Africa, but no one seemed too caught up in that. He jived along to the music of reggae star Lucky Dube and enjoyed himself.
And then the giant television screen went live to Hyde Park in London and Mr. Mwaipunga, 42, caught a glimpse of the 200,000 people attending the simultaneous Live 8 show there. "Oh my," he said. "Good heavens."
All of those people were ostensibly out to show their concern about Africa poverty --something he knows a bit about himself. As the sole member of his family to get an education, Mr. Mwaipunga is supporting 12 members of his family back in Dar es Salaam. He left his wife and children in Tanzania for a precious job as a hotel clerk here; he tries to send home enough money each month to get his four children and his four younger brothers into school.
At the sight of all those people, Mr. Mwaipunga debated for a moment whether he could feel optimistic about this, and then decided he couldn't, not really.
"These other countries, even Americans, they know nothing about poverty -- they won't, until they come to Africa and see it," he said.
With a crowd of about 8,000, Johannesburg's was the smallest of the 10 Live 8 concerts, which drew close to a million fans and a television audience of a further billion people, as well as millions more watching on the Internet. In fact, Johannesburg wasn't even on the original bill.
It was added hastily 10 days ago after organizers took a number of pointed questions about the fact there was no African gig on their lineup of concerts for Africa.
The undisputed highlight of the Jo'burg show was an appearance, broadcast globally, of former president Nelson Mandela.
Mr. Mandela, who will turn 87 this month and was helped on stage by his wife, Graca Machal, began his brief remarks by noting dryly that, "as you know, I recently formally announced my retirement from public life and should not really be here." The crowd laughed guiltily and offered another prolonged ovation.
"However, as long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest," Mr. Mandela said, before exhorting the crowd to be "a great generation" and end them.
The Live 8 concerts, organized by Irish rocker Bob Geldof (the man behind the Live Aid concerts for famine relief 20 years ago), were aimed at raising awareness of the causes of poverty in Africa ahead of the G8 summit in Scotland this week. Concertgoers around the world were repeatedly played messages about the impact of Third World debt that cannot be paid off, unfair trade rules and too-little foreign aid, and asked to convey to their respective leaders that they want to see serious action against poverty out of that summit.
"History and the generations to come will judge our leaders by the decisions they make in the coming weeks," Mr. Mandela said. "I say to all those leaders: Do not look the other way, do not hesitate. . . . We stand tall and we await your direction."
In Philadelphia, actor Will Smith led 300,000 in the audience in the Make Poverty History campaign's symbolic "click" -- snapping their fingers each three seconds to symbolize the death of another African child from preventable diseases of poverty such as diarrhea caused by unclean water.
In London, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, whose philanthropy has made him one of the chief sources for anti-poverty interventions in Africa today, joined the rock stars on stage and reminded the crowd that the end of poverty is an attainable goal. "We can do this, and when we do, it will be the best thing that humanity has ever done," he said.
Mr. Geldof has said that developed nations must commit as much as $25-billion (U.S.) in "intelligent, better" aid to fight Africa's AIDS pandemic and end poverty.
But for Mr. Mwaipunga, watching it all in a Johannesburg square, it seemed far away and more than a little unlikely.
"One day, maybe, they might do it if we had the awareness of the whole world. But that, that will take a long time."
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it...Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. ” –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
...... Peace, Faith, Love, and Hope.