Not Past It - Live Aid Rocks the World


I remember being a kid up late at night watching TV and seeing these ads for about 70 cents you can buy a can of soda regular or Diet in Ethiopia for just 70 cents.

A day, you can feed a child like Jamal nourishing meals this ad from the Christian Children’s Fund shows a young boy.


He looks to be around for years old, he’s wrapped in cloth.

Crying the image is meant to motivate.

Ours to open their wallets Christmas in July.

We’re broadcasting this commercial now because thousands of children won’t survive until Christmas without your help call now to see how you can, I always hated these ads, my family is from Ethiopia, the images these ads were pushing out.


It wasn’t oven Ethiopia, I recognized the worst offenders are called poverty porn.

I’ll pity no dignity.

And some trace, this fundraising tactics.

Take back to 1985 21 Watershed event the most important Rock event ever staged Live Aid.


The Live Aid, concert live performances from David Bowie, Mick, Jagger Queen dozens of the biggest stars on the planet.

They told a story of a starving Nation, but how much did that story actually help.


From gimlet media.

This is not past it a show about the stories.

We can’t quite leave behind every episode.

We take a moment from that very same week in history and tell you the story of how it shaped our world.

I’m Simone plannin on July 13th. 1985 37 years ago, this week viewers across the globe, we’re talking more than a billion.


People watched the Live Aid concert on TV today.


We’re exploring live, AIDS Legacy and the picture.

It painted of an entire continent.

Plus what?

It’s like for your home country to be in the spotlight, from an Ethiopian Living in America.


After the break Live Aid, rocks the world, but don’t take my word for it.

Take David Bowie’s should be the constant of the decayed, please.

Make sure that you tune in on Saturday and help Live Aid concert with their appeal.

Thank you.


One of the brains behind Live Aid.

Was this guy, this Irish rock star Bob Geldof.

He’s the lead vocalist of an Irish rock band, called the Boomtown Rats.

Their songs could often be found climbing UK’s top singles.

Charts in 1984 geldof’s, rock career was plateauing.


But he found a new way to make his Mark.

He was going to wake up the wealthy West and make them pay attention to famine in Africa.

Here’s Hold off in a documentary produced by polygram music video about his efforts at the moment.


The grain silos of Europe and MidWest America are bursting with food and that they don’t immediately release it.

These people die in.

There is a crime in which we’re all partaking Geldof had recently learned about a famine in Ethiopia from a 1984 BBC expose.


Porter’s brought their cameras to a refugee camp.

This place, say workers here is the closest thing to Hell on Earth.

Thousands of wasted people are coming here for help many find only death.

The famine had been going on for years affecting more than 6 million people in Ethiopia Geldof was moved.


But he was a musician.

What could he do?

His idea, use the music industry to Spotlight starvation.

So he gathered a bunch of big name artists.

They called themselves Band-Aid.

Get it.


They recorded a song called, do they know it’s Christmas and released it in December of 84?

It is an extraordinary operation that came together just because people want to do something so I’m glad we did it.


Now, I would love to play this song for you, but our lawyer didn’t love that idea.

So let’s just spend a moment with these lyrics instead, shall we, and there won’t be snow and Africa.

This Christmas time the greatest gift they’ll get this year is life where nothing ever grows.


No rain or rivers flow.

Do they know it’s Christmas time at all.

Wow, I just there is so much to unpack here.

Do you start with the fact that it definitely does snow on the continent like that?


They forget about mountains, or do you go with the fact that many, if not most of the Ethiopians affected by the famine, were Christian?

I mean, Christianity has been practiced in Ethiopia since the fourth Century to this day, so yeah, pretty sure.


Sure, they know it’s Christmas when the song was re-recorded in 2014 Geldof fielded some of these same criticisms he told the telegraph it’s a pop song it’s not a doctoral thesis he pointed out that the song succeeded in getting people talking quote now it’s the common currency of conversation in the UK and it’s because of this record when it first dropped the single was an instant smash.


So a few months later, American musicians were To form another super group, it was made up of dozens of the biggest stars on the planet.

They called The Group USA, for Africa, gotta love the specificity and two of the group’s members, Lionel, Richie, and Michael Jackson, wrote.


Another song We Are the World in 1986.

They received a Grammy for song of the year.

We are so proud to be a part of an industry of people that in a time when the world is in need of Of helping each other.


This music industry of ours responded both do.

They know it’s Christmas and we are the world raked in millions for famine relief in Africa.

Geldof told billboard weekly they succeeded in making quote compassion hip, but he wanted to take it further.


Do something more than release a hit song.

Enter the mega charity concert live Aid.

This is the ultimate to pop music can do it.

Quite literally is the ultimate, you can’t do anything more after this, right?


And the commitment of pop music need never be doubted.

It was an incredible undertaking Geldof and his team had managed to put the whole show together and just 10 weeks and they went live on July 13th 1985 by most accounts.


It is the biggest most Complicated broadcast in history. 16 hours of live television from two different locations separated by an ocean.

A 16-hour concert.

It had over 50 sets and it also packed in as many mega stars as possible.


Sting Billy Ocean, The Who b.b.

King, George Michael, Joan Baez and they played on two stages.

One in London and one in Philadelphia Philadelphia is not the only site of a mammoth concert because simultaneously, And there will be a concert at Wembley Stadium.


In London, the broadcast took more than a dozen satellites zipping around our planet.

People in over 100 nations were able to watch from the comfort of their homes.

In between sets celebrities like Sally Field asked for donations the price tag to rescue them from this famine is 1.5 billion dollars with everyone watching this.


Show would give just one dollar then lifted in this family, even David Bowie, introduced footage of starving, Children a toddler with their ribs showing too weak to stand up.

Skeletal babies, trying to nurse from their mothers children.


Crying covered in dust Clinging On to their parents for comfort and these types of images.

These graphic depictions of poverty, they were used throughout the broadcast.

And it worked money poured in 250,000 dollars in only 5 hours and it looks like we’re climbing at the rate of about 75,000 dollars an hour now but it’s still not enough.


You got to give your do following the concert, the funds sword to more than 100 million dollars.

Geldof was lauded as a hero.

He was even nominated for a Nobel, Peace Prize, the event was hailed as a miracle considering the amount of money.


During this 16 hour concert some are calling the live 8, telefon a miracle, but it will take two Miracles at Live Aid.

Is to be a total success.

The second Miracle will come only, if all that money can actually save lives all that money.


This is where people started asking questions.

Perhaps the organization’s most difficult.

Task lies ahead.

How will they get the food and medical supplies to the starving people of Africa?

Concert producer.

Bill Graham says, there are no guarantees, it would be foolish for me to tell you that.


I can guarantee anything a journalist at the Music Magazine spin, looked into it.

The magazine published an expose a year, after the concert claiming charity funds ended up in the wrong hands.

The report was explosive.


Similar claims were later made by the BBC in 2010 but the media Later walked it back and apologized for a misleading.

And unfair impression.

Geldof released a statement in response to the controversy.


He said he wasn’t aware of diverted funds and it wasn’t likely that organizations on the ground would let that happen.

We reached out to Geldof for our story.

He wasn’t available for an interview before this episode came out, but he did email us called accusations about diverted funds silly.


But the bigger issue was the story Live Aid.

Told a story that’s been examined by Scholars and the media and the years that followed some Scholars have noted that Live Aid.

Portrayed Ethiopians as inferior helpless, and unable to care for themselves.


Now, obviously Live Aid, wasn’t the first to paint a stereotypical image of Africans in poverty, but that image and has a lot of staying power.

In 2001, volunteer service overseas an International Development organization, commissioned a survey of British people about their attitudes toward the developing World.


It found that 80% of people associate the developing world with doom-laden images of famine disaster and Western Aid.

Most saw the developing world as dependent on Western money and knowledge.


Ah, yes, a bit of casual ISM.

Can’t say it’s very shocking though.

Actually, that’s the part of this whole thing that I’m most interested in exploring.

I’m Ethiopian American and growing up.

I was surrounded by this sort of attitude stereotypes and confident ignorance casually sprinkled in throughout the day, my mom immigrated from Ethiopia, to the u.s. in the late 70s and she worked really hard to counter.


The ill-informed, narratives meeting ignorance with information I would tell her about questions I got from kids at school.

Didn’t your parents live in a hut.

Did they have running water?

Her response was to convince my teachers to let her put on an Ethiopian day.


She would bring traditional musical instruments.

A could add a begginer, a painted drum.

She’d wear traditional dress, and she’d cook for my entire school.

No joke.

She’d Hall in a stack of in Jeddah and bring in steaming.


Pots of Alicia should o.o.

Wat the less spicy version.

Obviously, the kids at school loved it.

They got a break from class and the usual ham and cheese.

The message we aren’t to be pitied.


We are to be celebrated The truth is, I hated Ethiopian day.

It made me feel like a show.

Pony, I resent it that my mom felt she had to take on this burden of Education.

I felt like she was explaining our existence justifying it.


The thing is though, I felt that pull to the pole to counter the singular Narrative of a monolithic Africa.

I don’t like it.

That shit’s exhausting and pretty much unpaid labor, but I just couldn’t stand.


So many people being so wrong about the people.

I love go figure lucky me though, because now I have a podcast and a chance to share stories, that expand that monolithic Narrative of one struggling Africa, a chance to hear from actual Ethiopians about what Live Aid.


And how Western Minds changed, you know, ironically if it changed it was not for the better.

That’s after the break the Live Aid concert will continue in just a moment.

Welcome back.


So we’ve heard live AIDS version of Ethiopia.

Now, I’m going to tell you about the Ethiopia.

I know the Ethiopia.

I learned about from family stories from photo albums from the occasional trip home.

This is where my mom was raised, where she went to a private school, run by Italian nuns and spent her free time reading National Geographic and dreaming of attending the University of Oxford.


She had warm memories of vacationing with his Family in the countryside, visiting the hot springs, special trips to the bakery to pick up.

Pastries learning to drive a stick shift and just the third grade.

But being so short, she could barely see over the steering wheel, crushes and friend, drama and homework, and birthday parties.


These were the stories of her life.

I knew other Ethiopians had equally nuanced experiences as famine conditions unfolded.

So I started asking around Friends family.

One person referred me to another and then Daniel toddy coup was on the line telling me about coming of age in Ethiopia and the 1970s my family was pretty well off what you would call upper middle class here in the US.


My father was a pharmacist.

My mother was a nurse my father, drove a Toyota, and my mother drove a Volkswagen Daniel grew up in the town of Desi north of Ethiopia’s capital Addis.

A bomb Desi, a surrounded practically on all sides by large tall mountains.


And there was a river that passes east of town and the gorge there.

That’s it is a lively Town surrounded by Pine and eucalyptus trees.

The streets were fairly narrow and were crowded with people and people coming and going with their donkeys.


There are cars their buses.

Their mules.

Daniel’s afternoons were filled with soccer games and baseball sometimes for a little fun, Daniel and his friends trekked up into the mountains, which were populated by monkeys.


So, we used to go out there and and Chase monkeys and sometimes be chased by them.

But changes in the country, forced Daniel to grow up fast and the early 70s.

The country was thrown into famine conditions, part of the issue was drought.


Price of grains skyrocketed in some parts of the country.

It was in such short supply, that ranchers couldn’t feed their livestock.

Daniel says, middle class enclaves and most Urban centers were shielded from the worst of it.

Human Rights.

Watch later, found that the government sought to conceal.


The famine generally, it was the poorer rural areas that were devastated people.

In search of food became refugees, migrating to relief camps, there is a refugee camp North.

Of Desi.

And in fact, I didn’t go there, but my parents did and they met a little girl famine, and drought had killed her family, but she survived by walking to the refugee camp.


Daniel’s parents decided to take her in.

And so, she became my sister, our sister in 1974 amidst, the famine.

There was a coup, a Marxist military Junta, the Derek took control of the country, their leader Mangusta, Hello Miriam became the dictator of Ethiopia like and other Marxist regimes the government nationalized.


A lot of private land including Daniels father’s.

He had a three farm with a collector’s trees and he did not want to sell it, and then when the government came, of course, all land.

And the property on it was nationalized.


The so my father thought it was just a purely criminal act, being performed by the government.

To take people’s properties.

And he also was a gun owner.

So They confiscated all guns Daniels, weekends of baseball and soccer were soon replaced by street, cleaning and lessons about communism.


What we learned, nothing practically.

So this was a indoctrination more so than a teaching session was about the the evil stuff imperialism.

It was about the goodness of Communism, hundreds of thousands of people fled Ethiopia during menges twos regime, including my own family, many fled to neighboring, Somalia Sudan and Kenya as for Daniel and 1980, he got an opportunity at 19 years old.


He got into an American college.

He didn’t hesitate The reason that I left the country is because of mongoose to my parents felt like that was a bad place to be and so they did everything they could to have me out out of air.


One of Daniels earliest memories of the US was when his aunt in California took him out for a bite to eat.

And my very first meal was she had me eat a Big Mac and french fries and strawberry milkshake.


And I thought, oh, that’s why America is super power.

It can prepare this type of fabulous food.

It’s amazing.

It’s interesting.

My mom has a similar story about coming to the States, but with talk, Oh, Belle.

And being and okay.


Like having sour cream and you know, ground beef for the first time together and that blowing her mind.

So it’s funny how the fast food chains.


And and then I discovered Kentucky Fried Chicken.

What Daniel is talking about that all at the abundance, I’d heard it before stories from my family, a visiting overstimulating supermarkets.


Ordering a small soda that seemed more like I can extra large portions of food.

That seemed normal when you’ve grown up here, but totally shocking.

If you didn’t, it’s a classic Coming to America Revelation.

Damn, they got a lot of stuff here, but it wasn’t just the food.


There were other things about the u.s. that surprised them.

When I, when I talked to my mom, she her impression.

She said was really formed by National Geographic and she was, I remember she’s About like seeing photos of the Great Plains.


And you know, the grain silos.

Oh yeah, yeah, and you’re exactly right is one of the things that my father read was the National Geographic.

So when he came for the first time he just said, okay, take me to the real America.


I had to find a dairy farm so he could see all these cows being milked their image of, the US was one of bucolic Bliss.

Turns out Americans didn’t have quite so generous and impression of Ethiopia.


I was in shock how little they knew about a place like Ethiopia people felt like it’s just a land of flat land with Savannah, full of dry grass, maybe some game animals and the people are just, you know, some tribal people, they can’t fathom.


The fact that there are buildings and highways and cars and people that are pharmacists.

Doctors and Engineers that stuff.

Just in Cross their mind.

Daniel went on to study engineering at UC Berkeley.


He met lots of people who are smart and well-intentioned but had some really dumb ideas about Ethiopia.

There was a guy, I was chewing gum and he says, as this the first time you’re chewing gum, did you know that when you’re growing up?

Ah, yes, because how could a continent like Africa, be graced with the advanced technology of Chewing gum Daniel decided to have some fun with this guy.


I said, you know, I’m showing this thing to swallow it but I’m not able to break it down so I’m perplexed and he just found that fascinating.

I told him that we used to just walk around with fig leaves and we lived in caves and he completely believed it and not until the following semester, another Ethiopian came along.


And the guy went and talked to him and say, so did you also live in a cave?

Like Daniel and the guy did not find that funny.

So he was very not only offended by the guy, but he was offended by me for telling him such a thing, I’m curious.


Like about that reaction of feeling amused.

Like, I don’t know what, why do you feel like you reacted that way as opposed to, you know, something something like anger I suppose.

My reaction should have been to educate them and to let them know if their realities of that place.


But in my you know 19 year old or 20 year old mind, that’s how I dealt with it.

It was a coping mechanism in a way and I just found humor and it instead of, you know, being offended by it.

When I heard these stories I felt anger for Daniel.


They reminded me of the stories.

My mom would tell me about well-meaning friends.

Making embarrassing assumptions about her past, how she was thin because she must have been starving.

How people assumed she hadn’t been eating meat because of poverty.

When in fact, she had just become a vegetarian.


My mom would tell me not to worry when people made comments like that, this was their ignorance.

Daniel found that more people started talking about Ethiopia while he was in college.

The big change, Live Aid, his strongest memory of this time, was the music and hearing that song, We Are the World on the radio, he and his friends people from all different walks of life would listen together.


They’d make a game of naming each artist.

They heard, you know that’s Stevie Wonder or does Paul McCartney?

This is the best.

Kilo per hour or so.

We’re trying to figure out who was singing next or who were singing at that time.


So Ethiopia was on more people’s minds, or at least on their car, stereos But Daniel felt the overall message westerners were getting was flat stereotypical.

You know, didn’t give a bigger a more complex picture for the country.


The starvation really kind of solidified in a lot of Americans Minds now, famine continues to be a big problem in Ethiopia today.

Take the ticket.

I region in the north analysis by United Nations agencies and Aid.


Groups revealed that as of mid 20 21 more than 400,000 people, there were suffering famine like conditions, Millions more are at risk.

The dictator menges do is no longer in power.

He fled the country in the early 90s and was later sentenced to death by Ethiopia’s Supreme Court for crimes of genocide today.


The country is in the middle of a Civil War and the ticket.

I region an indefinite truce was called in March, ouch, so that humanitarian Aid could be brought in the situation remains precarious and Geldof.

He still at work, sending Aid and an email.


He said their efforts are focused on the people and Tigress eye who he is quote trying to feed clothe, educate and protect when I think about this whole culture of foreign charity from Live Aid to the late-night Just to the pleas to save Africa.


The thing I can’t let go of, is that narrow Story.

The suggestion that an entire group of people should be rescued by some benevolent provider in Ethiopia for just 70 cents.

A day, you can feed a child, like, Jamal, nourishing meals.


Daniel has seen it too.

Sometimes these ads came in the middle of the night and maybe in the dead of the night and somehow, when I didn’t sleep, I happened to turn on the TV and I would see these just god-awful photos of starving kids that are moving sluggishly with nothing but Skin and Bones and I’ve church or some or religious organization would say.


You know, send your money now so that we can help feed these children.

I was always very wary about that one way to counter this monolithic image more stories once that Center, the voices of people being talked about stories about Africa, As Told by Africans, Ethiopian stories from Ethiopian voices and when the time does come to extend support, I hope we can do away with the Saviour.


Fantasy see people as their whole selves offer solidarity and not just charity.


Not passed it as a Spotify original produced by gimlet and DSP media, this episode was produced by Nick, Delle Rose next week, we’re telling you the story of dr.

Walter Freeman and the medical procedure.

He loved most the lobotomy, he wanted Mass lobotomies and he wanted a quick way of spreading.


This procedure.

The rest, Our team is producer, Sarah Craig, our associate producers are Julie, Carly and Ramon Philip.

Laura Newcombe is our production assistant.

The supervising producer is Erica Morrison editing, by any Gilbertson, and Andrea be Scott fact-checking by Jane, Ackerman sound design and mixing by Hans Dale.


She original music by Sachs kicks, Ave Willie Green, Jay bless and Bobby.

Lord, our theme song is Toko Liana by Coco, Co with music supervision by Liz Fulton, technical Direction by Zach Schmidt show art by Elysee Harvin, and Talia Rahman.

The Executive producer at CSP media is Zach Stewart Ponte a, the executive producer from gimlet is Matt schulze, special.


Thanks to us.

Call gettin a Alum hailu, Alum Nicodemus as of Nicodemus Eden Nicodemus polygram music video.

We pulled several clips from their documentary, do they know it’s Christmas and to Lydia Pole, Green Abbie ruzicka Dan Behar Jen hon, Emily wiedemann, Liz Styles and Joshua Bianchi follow not past it now to listen for free exclusively on I click the little bell next to the follow button to get notifications for new episodes.


And while you’re there right, the show five stars.

Come on, don’t be shy.

You can follow me on Twitter at Simone pollen on.

Thanks for hanging.

We’ll see you next week, allowing Custer said he’s like the Elvis of Ethiopia sang, a song YYC low, and he was expressing The Plaid of The Starving Children and everyone in his singing.


And he, He’s actually crying as he sang it and we saw him on TV.

comments powered by Disqus