Video: Concerts seek end of African poverty

By Mike Taibbi Correspondent
NBC News
updated 7/1/2005 7:44:06 PM ET 2005-07-01T23:44:06

The organizers of Saturday's star-studded Live 8 concerts — in Philadelphia, London, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Johannesburg, Tokyo and Toronto — aren't asking a dime from the hundreds of thousands expected to attend and the billions who could conceivably tune in on TV, the Internet and even their cell phones. But they are asking for something.

"That we can tilt the world a little bit in favor of the poor," says organizer Bob Geldof.

Tilt the world, Geldof says, by pressuring the world leaders preparing to meet next week in Scotland at the G-8 summit to take action to match the celebrity power behind a single, simple message.

"We can start to make poverty history, one by one," says the marketing campaign behind the effort to end extreme poverty and fight global AIDs.

Geldof made his mark 20 years ago with his Live Aid concerts that raised $200 million for famine relief. Now, he says, that was just a Band-Aid.

Career aid worker Dominic MacSorley, with more than two decades in Africa, agrees.

"On the day that people are watching these concerts, 30,000 children will die from preventable diseases," says MacSorley. "And on the following day, and on the day after that."

To reverse that trend, Live 8 organizers hope the pressure is strong enough to persuade the G-8 leaders to agree on a few steps right now:

At the U.N., there are similar "millennium goals" that haven't been met. So while there's admiration for the Live 8 effort, there's realism too.

"They raise consciousness, but they don't go the next step, which is a committed long-term involvement," says Mark Malloch Brown, the chief of staff for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

MacSorley prefers Live 8's optimistic view.

"The exciting thing is that now this is doable," he says. "This is the message that's coming out."

To be determined: Whether it's a message leading to action or mere punctuation during a worldwide party.

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