The event was quite a learning experience, never before had I been to something like this. I felt quite uncomfortable hearing some of the attitudes held by some of the people who had turned up at the event. Many people were voicing anti-G8 messages and using the event as an opportunity to express their opinions on the war in Iraq. Personally, I found this unhelpful and offensive. It upset me that the event was being hijacked and the focus for some people was not on “making poverty history”. Nevertheless, seeing such a huge turn out was very moving and it was clear who was there for the real cause.
We spent most of our time hearing about the work of the different organisations under the “make poverty history” banner and having the opportunity to make our concerns known to the G8 leaders. People were encouraged to write a message on a white band which would be sent to the G8 leaders. This is something that “The Lounge” had done with us the week before and so we were able to post their messages with ours.
Unfortunately, due to the large turn out we were unable to take part in the march. We had been queuing to do so for about an hour with little progress when the minute’s silence took place. I was feeling quite tired and getting quite impatient at this point. I felt trapped, as there was no other known way out of the venue. That minute reminded me why we were really there. It was not for our own personal gain. I thought of those who are imprisoned by poverty and have no escape. Parents struggling to feed their children and doing anything possible to earn the little money they can. Those people are tired; those people have something to be restless about.
Spending the day considering these issues and hearing about the work of the many organisations involved in “make poverty history” has encouraged me to challenge the way that I live and to get further involved in the campaign.