Singer Bob Geldof to stage charity concert for Ebola

Bob Geldof is to re-record Band Aid’s “Do they know it’s Christmas?” the 1984 charity anthem that mobilised millions of dollars for a famine that devastated parts of northern Ethiopia and present day Eritrea between 1983 and 1985.

He has again brought together famous friends such as One Direction, Bono, and Chris Martin of Coldplay for the song’s fourth revival.

This time, Geldof says he hopes to raise resources to fight Ebola.

The first Band Aid concert, 30 years ago, raised over $100m for Ethiopia famine victims.

But some Africans are not happy with this type of “goodwill”. Solome Lemma, co-founder of Africans in the Diaspora and Africa Responds says Band Aid left a legacy of a distorted image of Ethiopia and Africa as a whole making it “synonymous with famine, poverty and desperation”.

Ms Lomme said: “This type of stigma doesn’t just leave Africans with a public relations problem; it can have broader implications for tourism, investments and other opportunities necessary for self-governance and autonomy.

“While the historical context described above is important to understanding the strong reactions against #BandAid30, the problem also lies in its detachment from reality today. Africa and African countries have changed.

“Whereas in 1985, Ethiopians, under a repressive, communist regime, were not able to organise, Liberians, Sierra Leoneans, and Guineans have been responding to Ebola since the beginning of the outbreak in March. Community institutions and civil society organisations in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea have temporarily suspended all their non-Ebola programmes, launched aggressive education campaigns, built temporary holding centres, and taken care of children and families affected by Ebola.

“They are not helpless victims waiting for western saviours. They can, however, benefit from support and solidarity in the form of financial and technical resources. While African governments and philanthropists were slow to respond at first, there has been a growing crescendo of giving for Ebola.

“Three of Africa’s richest men, Patrice Motsepe, Aliko Dangote, and Tony Elumelu, have given $1m, $800,000 and $600,000 respectively, and on November 8, the African Union pushed the private sector to give over $28.5m in pledges.

“The African diaspora has also taken it upon itself to act as an intermediary of resources and knowledge with initiatives like Lunchbox and Africa Responds. The latter aims to mobilise resources to support local organisations that are fighting Ebola on the ground, ensuring communities that are affected by Ebola are able to overcome the outbreak through their own efforts.”

Ms Lomme also encouraged Geldof to include African artists Рespecially those from affected countries Рin the recording, and to change the lyrics. She also would like to see a portion of the proceeds going to indigenous organisations that are at the frontline of the fight against Ebola.

Credit: Al Jazeera