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Proletarian issue 3 (December 2004)
Band Aid: Feed the world? Just stop robbing the world
Patronising, cultural imperialism - and just plain wrong. Reasons not to buy Band Aid this Christmas.
Question: Which continent has the lower level of rainfall, Australia or Africa?
Answer: Australia, by a long way (Australia is the world's driest continent, after Antarctica).

It would be easy to infer from the lyrics of Do They Know It's Christmas ("Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears ... / Where nothing ever grows / No rain nor rivers flow ...”) that the terrible poverty suffered by the African people is the direct result of an unfortunate lack of natural resources – in particular, water.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Africa has a tremendous wealth of natural resources. The problem is not lack of resources, but the relentless plunder of those resources by the imperialist countries, the bloodthirsty wars conducted to attain such resources, the forcible domination of African markets by multinationals and the ruthless exploitation of African labour.

Get rid of imperialism from Africa and you have a naturally wealthy continent with an able, enthusiastic and resourceful population that is more than able to provide a decent standard of living for itself. Take Africa out of the cash-crop economy and it's got plenty of water.

Do They Know It's Christmas, under the guise of magnanimously 'helping the poor Africans', in fact patronises them and pointedly disguises the real reasons for poverty and deprivation in the oppressed countries.

As if all that wasn't reason enough not to buy the single(!),Do They Know It's Christmas is a disgraceful manifestation of cultural imperialism.

Since Christianity was imposed on Africans for purposes of aiding their exploitation, in the context of colonising vast parts of the continent and subjecting its people to terrible suffering, perhaps it is just the tiniest bit inappropriate for a bunch of singers from the 'first world' to be lamenting on the idea that Africans might not know or care that it's Christmas.

The crisis in Sudan has been entirely engineered by US and British imperialism (creating anti-government groups, training and arming them, as they did with the so-called KLA in Yugoslavia) for one depressingly familiar reason - Sudan has oil and they want to control it.

So if you want to do something for the people of Africa this winter, forget tokenistic Victorian-style charity and make a real difference by joining the fight against imperialism - and that means supporting the right of the African people to control their own resources and defending African leaders like Mugabe that stand up to imperialism!
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