Band-Aid Shame: Why has the recent Christmas charity campaign caused such a disdain?

It is that time of the year again when the British public begin to recycle all of their morals, charitable aims and Christmas songs in order to create a campaign to further benefit countries in the developing world.

What is interesting however is that we are still to this day seeing the whole of Africa as a continent in need of serious development. The Ebola crisis caused over 10,000 deaths and the recent campaign ads highlight victims at their weakest point, which creates this undignified and almost slanderous propaganda about giving more cash to some masked charity.

Band-Aid, have jumped on the recent Ebola crisis, trying to churn out as much as they can for Africa.

It is correct to provide aid to those who are suffering from a serious epidemic, but Bob Geldof and his merry men have tagged their campaign as being one about rejuvenating and constructing a pride about Africa. Lyrics such as ‘Where a kiss of love can kill you and there’s death in every tear’, do not really shout out that Africa is a continent including seven of the ten fastest growing economies.

What is sickening about these lyrics is that they seem to have been just incorporated in order to add shock and emotion to the Ebola campaign. Fuse ODG rejected the campaign because of the shock tactics employed for the “good cause” of Africa and it is easy to see where he is coming from when Band-Aid’s aims and actions are two completely different things.

If the campaign by Band-Aid was simply constructed around providing aid to areas with Ebola, it would have been a much more relevant campaign and we would know as the British public what we would be benefiting. This problem is exactly where Band-Aid over the recent years has fallen down.  It has attributed to this assumption within the UK that needs to be changed as it creates this vicious stigma and false presumption of Africa.

Christmas is without doubt the most charitable season of the year and we as a public are more likely to give in December than any other month. The original Band-Aid song included the famous lyrics of ‘do they know its Christmas time?’

Many African countries have a high Christian population, with Liberia consisting of 78.8% Christians, and so if Christmas was down to religious teachings, then they should definitely know what major event happened on the 25th December.

There is also a high Muslim population such 71% in Sierra-Leone and 50% Guinea. Why this is an issue is that these countries mentioned are all ones that have been serious affected by the outbreaks of Ebola.

What direction does Band-Aid stand in about Africa therefore? It is hard to determine where Band-Aid are hoping to rebuild and aid, and it seems certain that they have jumped on the Ebola outbreak in order to generate more attention.  Why this is a problem for the members who do donate to the cause, is that they have no clear knowledge of where this money will end up, and it appears that donations are just a product of some people feeling emotionally affected by images of those who are suffering.

This creates a tricky dilemma. Obviously, it is images like that of the Ebola campaign which are very provocative to our emotions, but what does this constant and very undignified way of portraying Africa do to our thoughts and feelings for the continent?

Personally I have never learnt any African history in any school or college programme of mine, and I have a feeling as well that many of you reading will like have had to go out of your way in order to learn about the Riches of countries like Nigeria and Ghana.

We need to be more culturally enlightened about Africa, as it is a continent at the moment which has such a warped image due to the shames of campaigns like Band-Aid. Companies like TEDxEuston and ACS-TV.COM are trying to combat this and give as much of a refreshed insight to the state of Africa as they can. We must begin to question these campaigns promoted at Christmas, and begin to think what actually would be more beneficial to the progress of Africa.

[Arron Cockell]

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