Thought For The Day #3717 November 2014
Broadcast 17th of November 2014 on BBC Radio Bristol
So today, 30 years after the first one, we have a new Band Aid single. I hadn’t realised that there was actually already a second one, recorded 20 years after the first, for the war-stricken Dafur region of Sudan.
I must say I find it hard to look at the photos of the well-dressed celebrities going into the London recording studios. I know they all have the sincerest intentions, but it makes me sad just how far their lives are from the reality of Ebola in West Africa. In a moment of cynicism I wondered to myself what the average boy band could possibly know about death. My cynicism soon softened though as I remembered the tragic losses suffered by Bob Geldof. Since organising the first one he has lost two members of his family to heroin overdoses; his ex-wife Paula Yates and his daughter Peaches Geldof. I remember him once describing his grief as, ‘beyond pain’. It was a poignant sentiment for me having lost my father to alcohol addiction.
Around 180 thousand people die from drug overdoses globally every year. To put that in perspective, there have been 5 thousand Ebola deaths. That’s of course not to say that the epidemic isn’t an extremely serious situation. It has the potential to suddenly become far worse, which is why the world is keeping a careful eye on it.
The Band Aid single is unquestionably a positive cause, raising both awareness and money. The song asks if West Africa knows whether it’s Christmas time. But considering the drug problems in this country I think we can equally ask whether we know it’s Christmas time as well.