Friday, February 04, 2005

Quote of the (Fri)day

Once in a lifetime. How else to describe the chance to see the great Nelson Mandela speak up close in Trafalgar Square, at the very site that hosted anti-Apartheid protests in the 1970's and 1980's calling for his release. Above is a picture from my camera of Mandela greeting the crowd... we arrived early to get to the frontline of what built into an estimated crowd of 20,000. The press were alloted space just in front of us, so our friend Craig Gartner, Tim, and I were interviewed numerous times. (side note: coming up with snappy soundbites about global poverty not easy after a night of Guinness and 4 hours sleep on half-a-mattress).

Inspirational. His speech in support of the global movement to "Make Poverty History" (scroll half-way down for a link where you can watch it in full - it has some great overhead shots), focused on comparing the successful fights against slavery and apartheid versus with today's battle to rid the world of chronic poverty. Idealistic? Of course. But his presence alone is a powerful reminder that progress begins with a dream backed by committed individuals. I will certainly be back through Trafalgar many times in my remaining years, and not one visit will pass without memories of that early February morning. On that note, I join calls to see his statue erected on the Square's empty 4th plint.

But the line of the week goes to Sir Bob Geldof, the Irish musician behind the BandAid supergroup founded to raise money for famine in Ethiopia in 1984. In his introduction of Mr. Mandela, Geldof urged political leaders to prioritize this movement as their own, calling on them to put some of their lofty rhetoric, finally, into action:
"I'm tired of the politics of being nice. I want the politics of responsibility. I'm sick of standing in squares and linking arms in foreign cities, of tear gas and of the pop concerts and records. I'm sick of this crap... The world's leaders must be persuaded to do what they are paid for; they must enable the world we wish to create".
Let the revolution start now.


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