Magazine article History Today

Make Poverty History

Magazine article History Today

Make Poverty History

Article excerpt

BOB GELDOF AND CLAUDIA SCHIFFER, plus a host of churches, charities, aid agencies and NGOs, are calling for 2005 to be the year in which we 'make poverty history'. They want to use the opportunity presented by the British presidency of the EU, and the forthcoming G8 summit in Scotland, to concentrate minds and focus priorities on an effort to eliminate global poverty, by introducing fairer rules on trade that end the discrimination in favour of rich countries and multinationals; by cancelling the debts of the poorest countries; and by increasing aid from rich countries.

We certainly endorse the objective, even if we may have minor qualms about the terms in which they are expressed. Readers of this magazine probably do not consider that history is simply a place for the evils that we have transcended by our enlightened self-interest: a dustbin into which the international community can dump the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It might be better to see history as a source of enlightenment and perspective, through which to appreciate how the present complex state of affairs has come into being. …

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