For many of us, the Live Aid concert was a seminal moment of 80’s pop culture. While it was certainly well intentioned it was, sadly, highly ineffective. In fact, the Ethiopian famine was deliberately created by Colonel Haile Mariam Mengistu, yet another in a long chain of evil African kleptocrats. And the money raised by Live Aid actually ended up funding his civil war for six long years. It was pretty clear that this was exactly what was going to happen at the time, but then, as now, journalists often have no interest in covering
inconvenient "negative" details when there’s a jucier story
to be had. That sort of reporting just doesn’t fit the script.
Were people wrong to campaign against famine? Or wrong to donate their money to what they were told was a good cause? Of course not. But sometimes a good cause just isn’t good enough. In this case all the people of Ethopia got from Live Aid was yet another millitary dictator who funded his reign of terror with western money and did whatever he pleased while the aid agencies of the world congratulated each other on how wonderful they are. The peoples of Africa didn’t need our charity or condescention, just some help escaping from under the bootheel of tyranny. Sadly, they’re still waiting.