by Nicola Bullard, Focus on the Global South. We hope that hundreds of thousands of people fill the streets of Edinburgh on 2 July for the "Make Poverty History" rally. We know that most of you will be wearing white. But we hope that 100,000 of you will wear red – one for every man, woman and child killed in the bloody occupation of Iraq – and to denounce those responsible for the war, George W. Bush and Tony Blair, and their willing accomplices Silvio Berlusconi and Jurichiro Koizumi.
We hope that some of you will wear green to highlight the failure of the G8 to act on global warming, and especially the US 's willful denial of the global environmental crisis which is impoverishing and endangering the world. We hope others will wear black, in memory of Carlo Guiliani who was killed by Italian policy during the G8 summit in Genoa four years ago, and to remember the violence that has been done to millions in the name of power. And we hope you will wear every colour in between, to celebrate our rainbow of resistance to the powerful who exploit our compassion with empty promises, who manipulate our fears in order to control our lives, and who trivialise our hopes with cynical rhetoric.
We also hope that you will not be under the illusion that the G8 has any intention of "making poverty history". Witness their proposal on debt. Far from being the "full cancellation" demanded by Make Poverty History, the G8 finance ministers are proposing to cancel a tiny amount of debt in a handful of countries, and with no easing of "policy" conditions. What's more, the total amount promised by the G8 - $55bn - is little more than two years of interest payments from the South to multilateral and bilateral creditors ($23bn in 2003).
We hoped that instead of calling the G8's proposal "a welcome and significant first step" (when it is not) that MPH had told Gordon Brown and the G8 that this was simply not good enough. And, just to add some weight (as opposed to gloss) to their words, MPH could have announced that unless the G8 comes up with a much, much better offer, then the hundreds of thousands gathering in Edinburgh because they care about justice would be re-deployed on 6 July to block the G8 summit.
We hope that when the peoples and governments of the South finally get tired of waiting for the G8, when they say "enough is enough" and stop repaying these onerous and illegal debts, that all of you who made the trip to Edinburgh will cheer in solidarity, because this will mark the beginning of the end of impoverishment through debt.
We hope that all of you going to Edinburgh – no matter what colour you wear – are prepared to be disappointed and angry because, as Africa-based UN worker, Gerald Caplan, wrote:
Anyone who doesn't distrust the G8 leaders… hasn't been paying attention. Those people lead countries responsible for the economic apartheid that characterizes rich-poor country relations today. Every one of them has failed to live up to repeated pledges about aid, debt relief and agricultural subsidies, solemnly made and blithely ignored.
The G8 should not be the object of our supplication. It should be the object of our protest and resistance. Make poverty history, yes please. But to do that, we also have to make the G8, and everything they represent, history.
* Nicola Bullard is a senior associate with Focus on the Global South and editor of Focus on Trade. Focus on the Global South engages in research, analysis, advocacy and grassroots capacity building on critical development issues. It was founded in 1995 and is currently attached to the Chulalongkorn University Social Research Institute in Bangkok, Thailand.