Artists Push Human CauseBy KIERAN GRANT, <!A HREF="" TARGET=_blank>Toronto Sun, October 22nd, 2001.
Last night's concert was just the beginning of a new effort to curb the looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the artists behind Music Without Borders hope.
"This is a long-term situation," Tragically Hip vocalist Gord Downie told reporters at a noon-hour press conference before the show yesterday.
"George Bush calls this a 'new war,' so perhaps a new humanitarianism is required, whereby we stay involved as long as it takes."
Flanked by Barenaked Ladies Steven Page and Tyler Stewart, Alanis Morissette, Bruce Cockburn, Our Lady Peace's Raine Maida, Choclair and United Nations Association in Canada representative Steve Mason, Downie said the UN Donor Alert Appeal still has a long way to go before raising the $600 million needed to aid an estimated 7.5 million Afghans.
The musicians presented Mason with a cheque for $700,000 Cdn, the sum of tickets sold for Music Without Borders Live. Further funds were raised through TV broadcasts of the show on MuchMusic and the CBC.
"It's excellent that money is able to go directly to this cause," Mason said. "Although a lot of countries have pledged money, little of it has come in. One of the gravest situations is that winter is approaching, and once it falls there's limited access to certain regions of the country."
Choclair suggested that the concert was an imporant reminder to "keep our eyes open."
"Sometimes it takes things happening closer to home for people to realize what is really going on out in the world," he said. "Even though there might be different views on what happened, (we) want to let people know that this happens around the world."