Thursday, July 07, 2005

Boomtown Rat

How we live, what we do, flows out of our imagination - how we imagine the world to be, and what we are capable of imagining it could become.

Last night I watched the final episode of Bob Geldof's series Geldof in Africa, part of the BBC's "Africa Lives" season. To end the series, Geldof returned to Ethiopia (the entire episode was filmed there); the place where, as he put it, Africa began for him and for many of those watching, as we watched the BBC reports of the Ethiopian famine back in 1984.

It was clear, watching Geldof, that Africa filled his imagination. He said as much himself; and the beautiful series, and accompanying book of his own personal photographs and essays, witness to his words. And out of what fills his imagination, so has he acted, over the past two decades: as an ambassador for this great continent; and as a prophet to the West, a thorn in the side of politicians and financiers (reminescent of Elijah, accused by King Ahab of being the Troubler of Israel, when in fact it was Ahab's actions that had resulted in God's judgement), calling us to account for our sins against our neighbours (sins both of comission, where we have exploited others; and omission, where we have failed to heed their cry).

What fills my imagination? What fills yours?

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