Monday, June 13, 2005

Shine on all you crazy diamonds!

"All we need to do is make sure we keep talking..." Posted by Hello

The Reaction is, as most of you know, a largely political blog, although it occasionally delves into philosophy and culture. And the last two posts, both about the fortunes of the Democratic Party, are themselves strictly political in scope.

But let me put that aside for the moment... For this is the best news that I've heard in a long, long time:

Roger Waters is reuniting with Pink Floyd -- David Gilmour, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason -- for a "Live 8" concert in London's Hyde Park on July 2. Brain Damage, the best Pink Floyd website, reports here. Needless to say, I'm an enormous fan. I and so many other Pink Floyd fans around the world had kept hoping and hoping that this day would come, and now it has. Sometimes pigs do fly!

For more on the Live 8 concerts -- part of a larger effort to persuade the G8 powers to fight poverty more aggressively -- see here. One of the chief organizers is Sir Bob Geldof -- he who organized the Live Aid concerts, who played Pink in the film version of Pink Floyd's The Wall (still one of the great anti-war movies), and who personally brought Pink Floyd back together for this concert (largely by opening up a line of communication between Gilmour and Waters, estranged since the early-'80s):

HERE’S THE PROBLEM: Every single day, 50,000 people are dying, needlessly, of extreme poverty. More than were dying at the time of Live Aid. Dying of AIDS, dying of hunger, dying of diseases like TB and Diarrhoea. Dying, often for want of medicines which we can buy over the counter in a chemist.

HERE’S THE OPPORTUNITY: On 6 July 2005, the 8 leaders of the world’s richest and most powerful countries meet for the G8 summit in Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland. Around the table will be George Bush, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schröder, Silvio Berlusconi, Paul Martin, Junichiro Koizumi and Vladimir Putin.

In front of these 8 men will be a costed and cogent plan -- the result of a year’s work by the Africa Commission -- a plan to drop 100% of the debts owed by the world’s richest countries by the world’s poorest countries, to double the amount of high quality aid which is spent in those countries adding an extra $50 billion, and to change the injustices of the trade laws so that those countries can build a future for themselves.

These 8 men will have it in their power to save literally millions of lives. There’s never been an opportunity like this before -- and may not be again in our lifetime. The G8 could put an end to the greatest scandal of our time!

HERE’S THE EVENT: At the G8 summit, those 8 men will have the choice to change the way our world works; but they won’t unless enough people tell them to.

That is why LIVE 8 is happening. To make them do the right thing.

It happens alongside a huge international campaign -- the Global Call To Action Against Poverty, Make Poverty History in the UK, Bono’s One Campaign in the USA -- millions of supporters in 71 countries, including all the G8 countries.

20 years on Bob Geldof, the driving force behind 1985’s Live Aid, has consistently refused to revive Live Aid - but he now believes this July’s G8 conference is a unique opportunity. "Charity will never really solve the problems. It is time for justice -- and 20 years after Live Aid, people now demand it of these 8 men."

LIVE 8 will be held on 2 July 2005. Five simultaneous free concerts are confirmed with the cream of international rock and pop artists performing in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome and Philadelphia. Hundreds of thousands will attend with billions more watching the international broadcasts.

Historic venues have been selected. Hyde Park, London, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Philadelphia -- the Cradle of America and the Live Aid City in 1985, the historic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and the staggering Circus Maximus in Rome -- and plans for concerts in the other G8 capitals are being developed.

A great event for a great cause. And a great cause that has brought Roger Waters back to Pink Floyd, if only for a single concert performance. Truly and utterly amazing. Forgive me if I'm a little, uh, comfortably numb.

See you all on the dark side of the moon!

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