The cold logic of humans

Numbers speak the truth, exposing the hypocrisy or indifference of First World leaders who consider the Third World another euphemism for the Underworld. Every three seconds a child dies of poverty, usually before a photographer has had a chance to shoot a moving portrait for the news media. In Africa, each day 50,000 people die of hunger, water shortage or AIDS. Religion seems to care more about eternal bliss than earthly life, denouncing measures such as protection against sexually transmitted diseases as ungodly. But there are more disquieting numbers showing that the starvation of the masses goes hand-in-hand with the unbridled wealth of the few. They indicate that poverty is not the result of some divine curse but the outcome of wealth distribution and exploitation. In the Ivory Coast, for example, three companies control 95 percent of cocoa production, the nation’s primary resource. All these companies happen to be based in states that are members of the G8. Another coincidence: Under Tony Blair, who now «has a vision about Africa,» the British government sold 1 billion pounds’ worth of weapons to the African continent. Translating that sum into human lives is deeply disturbing. Is it possible for music to stand up to such facts? Can last weekend’s Live 8 concerts «make poverty history,» as their famous organizers hope? If global politics sensed guilt or the passage of time then maybe songs and massive rallies could strike a chord with the G8 participants. But politics is all about interests. Certain impoverished nations were relieved of some of their debt only under the condition that they comply with the economic recipes dictated by their selfless saviors. Orpheus’ music charmed even wild beasts. Animals, however, are not animated by the cold logic of humans.

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