Music for life

The Christmas period is full of traditions that mark the season. Personally I usually get into the mood by all the "top xxx" programs on the different Belgian radio's. They seem to start earlier and earlier each year but bring excellent radio with only greatest hits. Radio Donna that will stop in 2009, even played 4 weeks long a real top 5000 from mid November to mid December while in the mean time Q-music had its top 1000 and 4FM had some other top as well, Klara the Top 75 of classical music and Radio 1 made a top 100 of Belgian music as usual.
I sure need to do a lot of channel surfing on the radio in December and I never need to put on CD's.

But since 3 years there's a new radio tradition in Flanders (longer already in the Netherlands): Music For Life . 3 radio DJ's from Studio Brussel lock themselves up in a (mostly) glass house without solid food, present for 6 days non-stop while listeners can come by and request music in exchange for a gift. All receipts go to a forgotten disaster and related Red Cross projects. It's been landmines, lack of clean water previously and this year's theme were mother and children refugees. Last 2 years the glass house was in Leuven but this time it had moved to Ghent (lots of pictures and reports at Gentblogt).

Music for Life indirectly modified my vacation plans as my colleague had already requested vacation 6 months ago during this MFL period as they were training for a big sponsored walk of 81kms to the glass house for which they raised more than 8000 euro! He was not the only one organising something. The newspapers reported that Music for Life was already a hype 4 days before its kick-off with a record amount of actions registered at the Red Cross. When listening to the radio the last week, you'd think every school, company, youth organisation, student pub, ... had been running for money, washing cars, selling cookies, organising Christmas markets, etc... So heartwarming and moving.
The campaign tv-spot was right on: the intro of a very popular prime-time soap called "Home" is played but instead of the normal actors you see images of refugees. Very much an effective smack in the face!

Nevertheless it was hard to predict if last year's record amount would be able to get broken, knowing the financial and economical crisis etc and the government's resignation (last year the federal government had topped off the amound with 1 million €, a third of the total amount).

But the record was broken again and a great 3,5 million got raised (1 million from the federal government after all was "given", ...although they can only execute the actual payment as soon as there is a government again :p).

Great great news, great way to start Christmas Eve. Although I can't get the critical side-note published in De Morgen out of my head either: It's very easy to be all sympathetic and warm and fusy with the far-away image of those poor refugees...but not a word is being said about the situation of the "illegals " in our own country that we want to go home. Are those a sort of refugees as well ? That makes you think, right?


Korie said…
CB actually brought that point up to me. That the money goes to foreign aid while there are plenty of political refugees here in Belgium.
It's a hard call to make. For some reason many countries do tend to raise money for foreign aid and forget about their own that are in need. Maybe because problems in one's own country feel like a nuisance while outside issues feel like charity.
America is just as guilty. There are commercials all the time asking people to donate money for starving children in Africa, and yet there are still huge parts of Louisiana still lying in ruin and thousands of people left homeless that have yet to receive the help they need.
However, raising money and helping SOMEONE is better than helping no one at all.

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