On July 13, the 1985 Live Aid concert marked its 37th anniversary. While this big event had been held as a massive fundraiser for famine relief, historian and author James Fell said that the concert “did more harm than good.” In a Facebook post, Fell mentioned that he enjoyed the Bohemian Rhapsody biopic, but it lacked historical accuracy. “When it comes to ascertaining the film’s veracity, however, you’re likely to miss one important reality,” he wrote.
Impressively on the facade, Fell stated that the massive fundraising event collected a couple of hundred million dollars meant for famine relief in Ethiopia. It also had a magnificent line-up of legendary bands and artists, including U2, Elton John, and the main focus of the mentioned film, Queen, among others.
Moreover, the concert was simultaneously held in London with 72,000 audience members and in Philadelphia, joined by a crowd of 89,000. It did not end there, as he also mentioned that “almost two billion watched the show on TV.”
Beginning to reveal the dark side of this historical event, Fell first pointed out how the line-up did not include any African performer and said it was “because [of] ]white savior complex.”
The main organizer Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats, who also performed, was greatly praised for his “magnificent humanitarian accomplishment” because of this event. However, Fell said, “it was more of a clusterf**k.”
Fell described the cause for which the event aimed to raise funds to be more of a “genocide” than a natural disaster. According to him, Geldof was warned by the aid organization Doctors Without Borders before he organized the event about the real cause of the famine: the Ethiopian leader Mengistu Haile Mariam. This leader used starvation to make the people submit to him, but Geldof did not listen and instead went on, supporting this leader in his “ongoing butchery” through the funds provided.
Even worse, Fell also mentioned that the vast amount of money raised through this concert allowed Mengistu to go on with his “brutal reign” after being “deadlocked” in the war. It financed his resettlement campaign, resulting in colossal casualties of 100,000 and even more displacement. Furthermore, Fell also added a controversial claim that a “significant portion of the donations was diverted to buy arms to supply both sides in the civil war.”
The profit gained from the Live Aid concert “probably killed as many as it saved,” Fell said. As stated in his post, it allowed Mengistu to add more problems, and Geldof continues to deny this brutal outcome.
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