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Ahern does not feel pressure over aid

category international | summit mobilisations | news report author Tuesday July 05, 2005 19:31author by g Report this post to the editors

WTF?

Ahern does not feel pressure over aid


The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has said he does not feel under any additional pressure to raise Ireland's level of overseas aid in the wake of the weekend's Live 8 concerts.

Mr Ahern said it was not possible to raise it from €600 million to €1.4 billion as he would not be able to explain such an increase to the Irish people.

Mr Ahern made his comments after a meeting in Dublin with the Canadian Prime Minister, Paul Martin.

from rte

as he would not be able to explain such an increase to the Irish people. ?

author by gpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 19:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Trócaire’s Keep Our Word campaign aims to raise public support for the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were endorsed as part of the Millennium Declaration by all 189 member states of the United Nations at the end of the Millennium Summit held in New York in September 2000

Related Link: http://www.keepourword.org/
author by Ciaránpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 21:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

CADTM

Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt
International secretariat: 345, Avenue de l’Observatoire, 4000 Liège, Belgium
Email: cadtm@skynet.be Website: www.cadtm.org


Neither the G8, nor Live 8 !

By Damien Millet (France), Victor Nzuzi (DR Congo), Aminata Touré Barry (Mali)

Eric Toussaint (Belgium), Ibrahim Yacouba (Niger)

CADTM





When we demand the cancellation of the thrid world debt we are to be keenly aware of how this can be achieved. Music can be an outstanding medium to convey our expectations and share them with a wider audience, as testified for instance by the "Drop the debt" CD, which is sold in about twenty countries, or by committed music festivals such as Les Nuits atypiques at Langon (France), Esperanzah ! to the South of Brussels[1] and several others all over the world. But what can be thought of the Live 8 approach, which allegedly goads the G8 leaders to cancel the debt and help Africa but calls upon superstars in huge global shows ?



Bob Geldof, Bono and some others have embarrked on the wrong boat for a number of reasons. First, the choice of those allowed to stop onto the hallowed Live 8 stage was largely directed by commercial criteria. How many African artists were invited to express their anger and speak in the name of their fellow citizens ? In order to be "in", you had to have sold lots of CDs before, not to have something to say. Geldof and c°'s choice implicitly reveals once more that the voice of those who suffer because of the burden of the debt is simply not taken into account. Let us keep in mind, however, in the words of the Burkinabe historian Joseph Ki-Zerbo: "you cannot develop others, you only develop yourselves". Any initiative aiming to fight poverty without involving the poor is doomed to failure. This is a fundamental point that the G8 has not understood – nor Live 8.



Second, the amount of money spent to set up those giant concerts (38 million euros) is at least questionable. To raise this amount Live 8 used methods that can only be disapproved of: transnational corporations were called upon whereas we know that these same corporations lobbied to enforce deregulation, market opening, and massive privatisations to countries of the South since the 1980s. Along with the rise in schooling fees, in health costs, and in the VAT, as well as the cancellation of subsidies for basic items, these very measures played a major part in the spreading of poverty through Africa. On Geldof’s invitation Bill Gates spoke up in Hyde Park for Live 8! No comment.



Third, what kind of culture is highlighted in Live 8 ? A culture made in North America and Europe, predominantly in English. A culture that is already enforced on a global scale by the leisure industry (which is the main export industry in the US). A culture that stifles other cultures, including those originating in indebted countries.



Fourth, when they parade with leaders such as Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, George W. Bush or Jacques Chirac, the Live 8 promoters eventually legitimise a thoroughly illegitimate authority. The G8 is actually no more than a gang of rich countries that take it upon themselves to police the world without deferring to anyone else. On 11 June, for instance, the G8 announced that they were cancelling the debt of 18 poor countries to the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the IMF. It is significant that this announcement, which reveals the failure of previous measures and is a limited premium for docile countries, should be decided on by the G8 leaders, thus flouting elementary democratic principles, since peoples in countries of the South had not had their say any more than the concerned multilateral institutions. The G8 is illegitimate, and no significant change can take place if we do not refuse to play along.



After this spate of historic pronouncements from the G8, after the highly mediatised statements of some vaguely messianic Western singers among whom three pop stars cum entrepreneurs who have been knighted by the Queen (Bob Geldof, Elton John, Paul McCartney), all citizens who fight for some sort of justice will carry on in their struggle for a world that is incompatible with the values that are currently highlighted and that the shows in Hyde Park or Philadelphia will only have boosted – a world in which the debt no longer burdens billions of people, and fundamental human rights are respected, a world in which the cultures and voices of involved peoples can be heard and listened to. Let us make poverty history, along with the G8.

author by Ultrapublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...then what a waste of time the Irish leg of MPH was. And why would he seen as how he was invited to march. Blind leading the blind.

author by Anniepublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Maybe the papers didn't get it across properly but Bertie's invitation to the Dublin rally was a publicity stunt - i.e. come to the rally if you do something about overseas aid. It can be hard to get development issues into the media and this was just a quirky way to get the journalists talking about aid again. The rally was very much a political challenge to Bertie. No need to be paranoid!

author by Ultrapublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The rally was very much a political challenge to Bertie."

So much so, that he doesn't feel any pressure at all.

author by anniepublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 13:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well, not all pressure happens for all to see. Many of the NGos and trade unions involved in the rally have been privately putting pressure on the govt as well. I wouldn't believe everything Bertie says - he's feeling it and we'll keep watching him. We are not going away.

author by iopublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 13:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

He has refused to commit Canada to the United Nations' target of 0.7 per cent of GDP for aid, arguing that it is not affordable. Canada has promised to double aid by 2008, but critics say this will only bring it to 0.37 per cent.

He has though promised to urge Bush to do what he can on climate change. Bush's bunker, crawford ranch in Texas, is incidently, a wonder of eco-design. Quite ironically the man champions recycling, fuel efficiency, reduced emissions &c. "in his own house". And it's not spartan, recycled and processed water is fed through pipes to be atomised in the garden and thus as vapour spray cools down guests who consistently voice amazement how his little corner of texas feels so "frescito" rather than arid. Oh, if only all american home owners were like mr Bush....

author by depleteduraniumpublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 15:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There's been a lot of emotive commentary concerning this and I haven't heard mentioned previously why Ireland shouldn't be making any GDP-based promises. So..

From Wikipedia (in quotes):

"Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the total value of final goods and services produced within a country's borders in a year."

Given the exceptionally large level of multinational investment in Ireland and the subsequent repatriation of profits from same coupled with the concessions to acquire said investment, GDP will appear large here, especially in contrast to a small domestic industry. The descrepancy will be far greater than in most other EU countries due to this unique economic situation. The total value of the goods produced by companies like Apple, Dell, Pfizer etc for sale on the world market would be huge and the bulk of the profits are typically repatriated into the US/EU rather than the host economy.

"Gross National Product (GNP) is the total value of final goods and services produced in a year by domestically owned factors of production."

In short, goods produced and fully taxed etc in this jurisdiction. Thus, making a pledge based on GNP is a more reasonable figure as the government recieves a far greater portion of GNP in revenue and in an Irish context is a far smaller figure.

So, Bertie's statement was never a runner. I'm just surprised that a former minister for finance could knowingly make such a blunder

author by Maurapublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 16:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

While they languish in filth and poverty, you look after the sexier countries that are in the news, and therefor, have the attention of the world. Well, you can no longer make that particuluar claim to ignorance, as I have just informed you of their plight. I look forward to seeing you take action over this monsterous situation. As PM Martin is at the G8 Summit in Scotland today, perhaps he could be reminded that instead of giving 0.7 to third world countries, he has a third world native population sitting right here on his doorstep, and he must first put his own house in order, before he pays the mortage on some strangers house. Do this, will you, and you, too, could end up being an icon like Geldolf and Bono? What a load of shite.

author by hpublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 17:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

but if he can't explain it to his "electorate" as he put it, it was based on a percentage anyway so an economic "downturn" doesn't really factor into it, and he could he tell which exact people don't want to give this due

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