‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’: Spotify’s song trivia feature calls out Bob Geldof’s festive hit
Spotify’s song trivia feature has called out the controversial Band Aid track “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” for worsening the famine in Ethiopia.
The 1984 charity single, written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, and featuring artists such as Bono, George Michael and Sting, has been widely criticised for its “patronising” lyrics and for reinforcing damaging stereotypes about Africa.
A Twitter user has now pointed out that whoever wrote the “Behind the lyrics” information that appears below the song on Spotify “has no patience for Bob Geldof’s bulls***”.
One information card notes that the song has been accused of perpetuating the myth that Africa’s problems can somehow be blamed on lack of rainfall and failed harvests, but in fact “the two Ethiopian famines of the mid-’80s were caused primarily by a corrupt government and the misuse of international aid”.
Another card says: “It turned out that a lot of the relief money was used by Ethiopia’s military dictatorship, which made the famine worse by poisoning their enemies’ farms.”
The author of the cards added a final, wry observation on the lyrics of the song: “Incidentally, the people of Ethiopia probably did know it was Christmas – it’s one of the oldest Christian nations in the world.”