Famine, Fame and Fatuousness

For reasons too convoluted to go into here, I watched Michael Buerk’s 1984 news report on the famine in Ethiopia this afternoon. It’s the report that resulted in Do They Know It’s Christmas? Live Aid and, I think, Comic Relief.
I wasn’t alone. There were five of us, from teens upwards. I hadn’t expected the teens to have seen it, but one adult who strayed in while we were watching and stopped transfixed. had never seen it either.

By the end of the report I was crying freely, the other adults were silent, the fifteen-year-old looked stunned. Even the thirteen-year-old who had been a bit surprised by our intense concentration and serious faces looked sombre.

I don’t know where the doctor from Médecins Sans Frontières is now, I don’t even remember her name. And it made me wonder yet again, how someone like Paris Hilton is famous simply for being rich, vacuous and pretty, when there are so many other unsung people we could know about.

Just in case you have never seen that report either, here’s a link:

6 thoughts on “Famine, Fame and Fatuousness

  1. I remember it well. A ground-breaking report that begat a massive aid campaign which I supported and still support. Sir Bob has his detractors but I’m not one of them. He orchestrated a more effective, more far-reaching campaign to try to prevent starvation in Africa than anyone else I know. He also brought the plight of those poor people to the attention of the kind of young people here who might otherwise have not been particularly bothered.

  2. Yes, it is a very powerful piece of reportage that shocks every time I see it. I read an interview with Geldof where he described coming home after a frustrating day, aware his pop career was on the wane, full of his own gloom. He slumped in front of the television and the report came on the news. The effect was electrifying.

  3. I was just slightly appalled when, on news footage at the time of ‘Live Aid’, to see Geldoff and Lenny Henry, arrive at the wretched famine sites, in a Rolls Royce. (My cousin was part of the film crew by the way). And don’t me started on the parasite, Bono.
    Even as we speak here, the starving are not getting the food our donations bought, due to the dictators refusal of passage to the people. And don’t get me started on the salaries of the Top dogs at the head of the charities., who by the way, rarely visit these appling conditions.
    Remove the despot, let the people eat, let the people live, let the babes thrive, but get rid of the despots, who live in luxury, and allow his people to witness his luxury lifestyle, as he too travels the country in a Rolls Royce.

    Its all very well Geldof shouting his now famous words “Give me your F…..g money”, but its not putting food in the mouths of the starving, even now.
    Like you, Isobel, I’m first in the queue to give to the needy, but I refuse to support the lifestyle of a vile dictator.

    • If only it were so easy to differentiate. I feel we have to give to recognised, bona fide organisations and trust them.
      The back story to the RR would be interesting. I doubt somehow that they would have asked for one!

    • My feelings entirely.
      Today, just to rub it in, I heard someone say, who was Florence Nightingale anyway? Her companion’s jaw dropped, and they proceeded to have a conversation where he tried to work out her definition of A listers versus C listers.
      einstein came in at nearer Z.

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