AMAZINGLY, 25 years have gone by since ‘Live Aid’ , the multi-venue charity concert held mainly in London and Philadelphia, on July 13th 1985. It was seen by two billion viewers in 60 countries.
Those of us who are old enough to recall it in the UK, remember a hot summer’s day when we stayed inside watching television, while some of the biggest acts in the music industry performed their hits for a very worthwhile cause.
During the evening, the performances were interrupted by a video of the terrible famine in Ethiopia. After harrowing scenes of skeletal and dying children were shown, donations rose to unprecedented levels.
In total, Live Aid raised around £150 million for Ethiopia. Almost inevitably, with such a massive sum of money, there were questions raised over its distribution, and accusations followed that some money had inadvertently gone to rebel groups to buy weapons.
However, I think the intentions of the organisers, in particular Bob Geldof, were good. He later received an honorary knighthood from the Queen in recognition of his humanitarian work.
Although aimed at Ethiopia, ‘Live Aid’ opened our eyes to famine in the third world and has had a lasting legacy. In my time as Shadow International Development Secretary, I saw for myself that emerging nations and disaster-stricken countries still need the help of the developed world.
That can be given in many ways, such as through voluntary service organisations, or simply by donating to a charity such as Oxfam, Unicef or Save the Children to name but a few. You can also check out www.dfid.gov.uk for current government aid programmes.