The Thin White Duke
looked at the audience at Wembley Stadium
, and one third of humanity
looked back at him. It was 13 July 1985
and Band Aid
, a campaign by an assortment of 1980
s pop singers, was being beamed by live satellite to the living rooms of the world, seeking money from everybody everywhere to help support the starving in Ethiopia
After the acts of a number of 1980s singers, from Sting to Sade, Bryan Ferry to Billy Ocean, beaming that they felt they were doing something for humanity, David Bowie, with a smile that at least beamed hope if not gravitas, directed the audience to a large screen overhead, to remind them of why they were here. A short film ran, showing pictures of the bloated, fly ridden famine victims in Mekele, Ethiopia, while some synth-heavy score played in the background who's going to come for you, tonight ?. The camera focussed on a listless skeletal baby who, it was believed, was on the point of death. That got the audience thinking, and put many in tears, before the music resumed with The Pretenders performing.
When that video was being made, the doctors were certain that the baby, Berhan Waldu, would die Her father, Ato Waldu Atan, was even given a shovel by some nuns to dig her grave. She was about to be buried when somebody noticed that she still had some signs of life, and through sheer persistence she managed to respond to the medicine and IV lines she was given.
Unknown to the crowd, she survived, and now lives in the mountains of Tigray. And she outlived Ultravox, the Thompson Twins and heaps of bands that came to her assistance.