Is it time to put an end to Band Aid?

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There has been a lot of controversy over the past week surrounding the release of Band Aid 30’s Do They Know It’s Christmas?, of which the proceeds are going towards fighting the Ebola Crisis plaguing West Africa. Quite a bit of criticism has been levelled at Bob Geldof, who has organised all Band Aid efforts since the original in 1984. Discussing this amongst friends since the single was released, I find myself increasingly agreeing with the criticism.

Zero 2010I firstly must state, and I believe here that I can speak on behalf of a vast majority of those supporting my viewpoint, that criticism of the track are in no way suggesting that less money should go towards dealing with the Ebola crisis. Instead, the criticism being levelled at this effort is that there are far better, more effective and considerate ways in which money could be raised. This row was ignited when Adele, who, one must admit, has somewhat disappeared off the face of the Earth in the past year or so, criticised the latest Band Aid effort for numerous reasons, instead choosing to make a private donation to the Oxfam campaign for the Ebola crisis.

One of the main reasons as to why I have distaste for the release of this new Band Aid effort is due to the fact that an array of jumped-up, egotistical and self-righteous celebrities have used it as a tool for self-promotion and publicity. This is especially the case for half-celebrities such as Joe Sugg and Alfie Deyes (*cue readers googling as to who the hell these non-entities are*) using the track as a device to increase their ‘profile’. Take the music video for example, which featured the artists walking into the studio. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I find watching people walk through a door to be a really fascinating activity.

An additional criticism concerns the wealth of these individuals. If they were so concerned about the crisis, why not make a large donation themselves to a charity, like Oxfam, who is actively engaged in West Africa, fighting Ebola on the ground. Perhaps if they had all paid their share of taxes instead, such as One Direction (who channel their profits through holding companies in Ireland), then the situation would arguably be less bleak. Bob Geldof did not help himself when this point was put to him on an interview with Sky News last week, instead using unnecessarily crude language to avoid answering the point at hand.

Furthermore, the ridiculously short-sighted and dim lyrics used in the song help put its credibility on the same level as that of Ed Miliband attempting to eat a bacon sandwich. For example, I think that the estimated 380 million Christians living in Africa will have realised that Christmas is around the corner. Moreover, I can safely predict that the trekkers presently climbing Kilimanjaro will be able to confirm to us that there is indeed snow there. Finally, reports suggest that the majority of people affected by Ebola have actually been Muslims, therefore rendering the whole theme of the song pointless. Even Emeli Sandé, who appeared in the song, said that the whole thing needs to be re-done, this time with more input from African singers themselves.

All in all, the simple principle and idea behind the single is a healthy one: raising money to tackle the Ebola crisis should be strongly encouraged and repeated. However, the release of this Band Aid 30 single is not the way it should be done. Celebrities have jumped at this opportunity to engage in shameless and opportunistic self-promotion. Instead, we should not be afraid to engage with them and openly criticise what they are doing. Like I said earlier, criticising the single is not criticising the principle of giving to fight the Ebola crisis. Instead, what we are doing, is opening up people’s eyes to the fact that there are numerous other channels that they can use to help fight the Ebola crisis, which in fact, would actually be far more effective and beneficial.

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Roberto Di Paola is a Politics with International Relations student and former Secretary of the Bath University Politics Society (2014/15). He writes about national British politics.

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