Sunday, 31 July 2011

Concert For Bangladesh

Back in 1971, 14 years before the legendary Live Aid concert took place, George Harrison and his friend Ravi Shankar organized the first big benefent concert ever. The Concert For Bangladesh took place on August 1st in Madison Square Garden and had 40,000 visitors.
In 1971, the situation of the people that lived in Bangladesh was dreadful: many of them were refugees, because the country was becoming independant at the time (after having been a part of Pakistan). A lot of people were killed by Pakistan's army, during the "Bangladesh atrocities", especially intellectuals and women: it could be seen as a genocide. The exact number of people that were killed cannot be given, but figures vary greatly from 200,000 to 3,000,000 for Bangladesh as a whole.

Victims of the Bangladesh atrocities in 1971

In 1970, a year before the Bangladesh atrocities, there had been a cyclone that brought a lot of rain which led to enourmous floods. As a result, people had to leave their homes and hardly had any food.
Refugees of both the atrocities and cyclone led to a major refugee problem in their neighbouring country India.

Ravi Shankar decided it was time to do something about it and therefore organized this huge benefit concert together with Harrison. The line up included themselves, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and several others.
The concert was an absolute success and US$243,418.51 was raised for UNICEF to help the people of Bangladesh.

George Harrison and Bob Dylan during the concert

Tomorrow, it will be exactly 40 years since this concert took place. Because of this jubilee, the whole concert can today and tomorrow be watched for free on the official website.
On this site, you can also donate money to UNICEF for the people in the Horn of Africa.