Band Aid song ‘de­means Africans’

Lesotho Times - - Lifestyle -

NAIROBI — Some church lead­ers are crit­i­cis­ing a Bri­tish mu­si­cians’ char­ity group rais­ing funds for the West African Ebola cri­sis, say­ing its new sin­gle re­in­forces neg­a­tive stereo­types of Africa.

Band Aid, which was started 30 years ago by Bob Geldof, has re-recorded the char­ity ti­tle, “Do They Know It’s Christ­mas?”

The song was first recorded in 1994 to raise money to help vic­tims of of the Ethiopia famine. Where the orig­i­nal lyrics said: “Where the only wa­ter flow­ing is the bit­ter sting of tears,” the re­worked lyrics have it: “Where a kiss of love can kill you and there’s death in ev­ery tear.”

Crit­ics say the lyrics are pa­tron­iz­ing and de­mean­ing to Mus­lims in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea who do not cel­e­brate Christ­mas.

“I feel a whole new song is re­quired,” Emeli Sande, a Zam­bian singer-song­writer said in a tweet.

The gen­eral feel­ing here is that 30 years after the Ethiopian famine, Africa has surged for­ward. In fact, Nige­ria was able to stem the Ebola cri­sis with­out much ex­ter­nal help.

“Seek­ing help for some of the big­ger chal­lenges in Africa has of­ten sparked off all types of stereo­types,” said Dr. Daniel Gob­gab, the head of the Christian Health As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria. “This tends to over­shadow the good that hap­pen here.”

Not ev­ery­one agreed with the cri­tique. The Rev. Kwabena Opuni-Frim­pong, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Christian Coun­cil of Ghana, said the con­ti­nent still needs peo­ple who can help mo­bi­lize re­sources to help fight Ebola and the will­ing­ness to help is ap­pre­ci­ated.

“They do that not be­cause Africans are a bunch of help­less, hope­less peo­ple, but to re­mind the world of our common hu­man­ity and our common re­spon­si­bil­ity,” said OpuniFrim­pong.

In Sierra Leone, one of the coun­tries bear­ing the brunt of the cri­sis, Ebun James_ Dekam, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Coun­cil of Churches, said Band Aid was rais­ing funds for peo­ple who are suf­fer­ing.

“I bet when the monies are sent to us we will not say we do not want it,” she said.

She blames some prob­lems fac­ing the con­ti­nent on Africa it­self.

West Africa’s most fa­mous mu­si­cians re­cently re­leased their own Ebola ap­peal song, which urges the peo­ple to trust doc­tors.

–– Wash­ing­ton Post.

BoB Geldof is the mas­ter­mind be­hind the Band Aid 30 sin­gle.

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