ME and Ophelia

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Limited edition print of banned work to be sold for Sudan

A Digital Spy report says "controversial contemporary artist Damien Hirst has shown record bosses what he has come up with for the sleeve artwork for Do They Know It's Christmas? but it has been rejected on the basis that it would frighten small children, reports the Mirror.

Despite having reportedly been given a free reign as to how to adorn the single's sleeve, Hirst's work has been rejected on grounds of unsuitability. The potential artwork in fact seemed very appropriate. On one side it depicts the Grim Reaper cradling a starving African child in his arms, set against a blue sky with fluffy clouds, and on the other is a white child flaunting money.

There is to be a child with some baby reindeer (see picture of cover - in previous post here).

A spokesperson said: "The design Damien produced was for the front and back of a CD but we were later told they only wanted something for a front cover. It's a shame. Damien really wanted to do his bit.

"People have said it's a bleak picture but starvation and death are bleak subjects and there's no getting away from that."

Damien now plans to sell limited edition of his rejected work in order to raise money for Sudan."
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Good. No doubt the prints will sell like hot cakes. His original design with the single would have sold well too. I was looking forward to seeing it. Pity they didn't let it go ahead. But, on second thoughts, maybe not. The Disney style cover is perhaps more inviting to the masses. Parents would probably not buy Damien's cover as stocking fillers even though it would have been a good investment and become a collectors item.

I still have a copy of the original Band Aid single in pristine condition as it's never been played. Hope it hasn't warped. A few years ago, I bought a second hand record player with good speakers in a jumble sale, just for old times sake. Nobody else wanted it. It was expensive when new. Got it for a few pounds. It went straight up into the attic to gather dust with my old Beatles LPs.

One day, when I get well, I'll look forward to having a party and playing the White album with all its crackles and scratches. Now I'm wondering if the Band Aid single is on vinyl or CD only. I'd be surprised if many people still use record players.
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Alternative Band Aid lyrics

International development campaigners, the World Development Movement (WDM) condemned the lyrics of the UK's Band Aid 20 single “Do They Know It's Christmas?” as promoting a negative and inaccurate picture of Africa and its problems. The soon to be launched Band Aid 20 initiative is for famine relief in Darfur, Sudan.

Twenty years ago the Band Aid single and Live Aid concert, for the benefit of Ethiopia, raised awareness around the world of problems in Africa. The "feed the world" concert rocked all over the world and had great impact on a countless number of youngsters who went on to build careers in politics and humanitarian fields.

Recently, British Prime Minister Tony Blair was quoted as saying Band Aid changed his life. He has spent years pushing for the cancellation of debts of the world's poorest nations. Earlier this year, he set up a Commission for Africa and attended its first meeting in Africa. Next year, the UK holds presidency of the G8 summit.

The Band Aid 20 initiative will generate worldwide publicity for Darfur for many months, if not years. Already, in the campaign's first week, tens of millions of people have heard the word Darfur, probably for the first time, thanks to Band Aid. No other campaign for Africa has achieved such widespread interest, for so long, especially among the young.

Band Aid cannot simply be measured in terms of funds raised. The song may be regarded by some as "cheesey" but had it been more "heavy" it might not have captured the attention of the world's media or the imagination of young and old alike. The incredible success of Band Aid in raising awareness among all age groups is unmatched by any other campaign for Africa, or for Darfur.

Those who see it as fashionable to knock Band Aid are probably the ones that have done the least to help the Sudanese. Anyone who is aware of the catastrophe in Darfur would know how long it has taken to get the world's attention, and that any contribution is better than no contribution at all. The people of Darfur need all the help and publicity they can get.

Some visitors at the WDM and UK Indymedia sites have submitted alternative Band Aid lyrics. Can you do better?

Note, as an aside, according to the Pan African News Agency in 2002 alone, Africa paid $21.9 billion in external debt while official development assistance (ODA) to the region was $22.2 billion.

Further reading:

Nov 24: Westlife have been invited to sing Do They Know It's Christmas? at London's Wembley Arena for a charity Popworld concert on December 2. The concert is to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the single and to raise money for refugees in Darfur, Sudan.

Nov 18: Bad reviews, ethical criticism, corporate band wagons, bad feelings - Band Aid!UK Indymedia - Damien Hirst's Band Aid cover banned.

Nov 18: UK Indymedia - Protests at Band Aid whitewashing poverty issue.

Nov 14: UK Indymedia - Action against the recording of Band Aid 3 single - protester arrested.

July: UK Indymedia - Stop the Killing in Sudan - protest in London Wednesday 28th July, 2004.

According to Indymedia, the wars in Africa are all about the plundering of resources by the wealthiest economies and, increasingly oil:

Human Rights Watch Report, Sudan, Oil and Human Rights

Sudan: Oil companies Complicit in Rights Abuses:
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In 1985, Brazlian-born photographer Sebastião Salgado carried out a 15-month project documenting the human toll of the extreme drought that then afflicted Chad, Mali, Ethiopia and the Sudan.

No one foresaw that his book would appear in English 20 years later, soon after the catastrophe in Darfur surfaced as a media topic in the West.

Salgado's photos taken in Ethiopia during the African famine of 1985 are being published in the United States for the first time. Here are a few:


Above, Sebastião Salgado's photo of Ethiopia's Korem Camp is among the many images he took in 1985 during a 15-month project documenting the toll of extreme drought in Africa.


Above, a woman and the rags that shelter her, on the outskirts of Tokar, Sudan, where drought hit hard. Photo by Sebastião Salgado, 1985.
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On this day in 1859 Charles Darwin's scientific treatise On The Origin of Species was first published. His theory of evolution, reviled by British Christians at the time, became one of the world's most important scientific ideas and revolutionised the way human beings relate to the world as much as knowing the earth goes round the sun.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 11/24/2004
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