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Tuesday, June 14, 2005
 
Blogger Conversation with Bob Geldof Transcribed Part II

Part I is here

(12:22)

And they were getting aid, but it was aid that never helped. Here was a ground that grew nothing. Here were women giving birth not to life, but to death. So it’s a bit terrible anomaly going on and I rang Blair in Evian and I was furious and enraged and he asked me to calm down and come and see him at Downing Street when I got back. And I went to see him and I just said, look, at the beginning of the 21st century, when we’ve never been healthier or richer, when the world is leaped ahead economically, when this seemingly organic and generally good idea of globalization is functioning, why is it that one continent remains mired in this inexorable economic decline? Why are 800 million people suffering this terrible terrible poverty? It’s not AIDS, it’s not conflict, it’s not hunger, it’s not malaria, TB or polio, or corruption, that it’s simply visible excrescences of one condition, visible symptoms of poverty, that’s all they are, and we don’t die of AIDS thank God, we’re rich enough to be able to hold it at bay, we don’t die of hunger, we’re able to buy food for our (starved?) people. Generally we’re not corrupt, because it doesn’t serve us well to be corrupt, it destabilizes our policy, and we don’t generally have conflicts because it’s not worth the gain, it would just impoverish us. So all these things are happening, can we stand back and analyze and find out precisely why this is happening.

(14:03) I know hundreds of (people?) say it’s this that or the other, it’s not, it’s something different going on here. What is it? And having analyzed it, then we find out how to prevent it, can we (?) do that and going forward can we find a plan to implement change. And to his great credit, the Prime Minister said, okay, we’ll set up the Commission for Africa of which I was a member, and from the United States, Senator (sic) Nancy Baker, who’s Howard Baker’s wife and a friend of the President’s and was on the African Committee in the Senate, and nothing less really than prime ministerial and treasury secretary level from around the world the Health Minister of China, the Finance Secretary from South Africa, Gordon Brown from Britain, Ralph Goode (sp?) out of the Treasury Ministry from Canada etcetera, etcetera. Smart people with the exception of myself, and we gathered, and we set up a secretariat. I held six seminars including at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, in the G7 capital. In the six regions of Africa, there were many seminars, 500 papers were commissioned from professors and experts and thousands of submissions on the website. We published in March, and they put the (?) book. I’m very proud of stuff I participate in, but I’m very proud of this, I do think it’s one of the most important books of the 21st century. And I just thought, I’ve spent 20 years on this, what a waste, it’s another government document that got shelved.

(15:43) Part III is here
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