Midway through listening Bjork's whale song call in Japan's Live 8 conference, it occurred to me -- why are we doing this again? The MTV VJ's who are our moral compass for the day are all pointing to the ending of starvation. (Please note: I am pro-food, children, & Santa Claus.)
There are a number of steps necessary to get this love fest in action. The main assumption is that if poor countries can stop paying down the debt; they can start spending money on infrastructure and social programs for the poor.
I have bad news. The majority of these countries has exceedingly corrupt leaders. If given more money, they tend to just spend the more money on (1) themselves or (2) securing power for themselves (guns, bribes), or (3) attacking weaker neighbors. Yes, I know everyone isn't corrupt, but the infrastructure is so flawed even in cases where we give relief (AIDS drugs, money, food) they just end up in the power of the rich.
Am I saying this is a waste? No. Am I saying we shouldn't do anything? No.
I am saying is when we are communicating an ambitious goal such as ending hunger in Africa -- the education effort has to go beyond telling eight people to agree to saving children. By implying to the average citizen that this is all that is required, when things don't change overnight, they will (1) stop the fight out of frustration OR (2) assume that the problem is resolved because they stood in the sun and listened to Will Smith's catchy "Switch." (Which is NOT in my iPod, Otto Man!)