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EditorialsUp Front 01/05

Up Front 01/05

Twenty years later and Do They Know It’s Christmas? is the number one Christmas record again. Some might say this is because a whole new generation has, through the help of their favourite pop stars, been made aware of a massive social injustice. Others might say it is the result of the media’s ability to engineer a collective cleansing of conscience. There are those that might even say it is small sign of a real shift in Western attitudes to global poverty. The one thing that few people seem to believe is that the money raised by this initiative can make much difference in the long run. One estimate pointed out that the amount of people who die from hunger and hunger-related diseases each year is the equivalent of more than 300 jumbo jet crashes a day with no survivors – and almost half of the victims are children. As in years past, optimistic views will be seen as naive by those with a smug, sophisticated global view but there was one comment in a recent newspaper, which bravely pointed out that ending world poverty is achievable. Advancements in technology and medical science have given us the tools to bring aid, food and shelter to those most in need, while powerful communication networks have created an opportunity to build a movement of hope. Britain assumes the presidencies of both G8 and of Europe next year and Gordon Brown has already called for a Marshall Plan for the world’s poor. While pessimism may be the easy way out, it is by no means the only option available and there are many reasons to be positive in 2005.

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