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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 July 2005, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
G8 summit diary: Saturday 08 July
Kenyan journalist John Kamau is in Scotland for the G8 summit and is writing about his experiences for the BBC News website. In Kenya he works as a senior reporter on the Sunday Standard newspaper.

GLENEAGLES, 1530BST, SATURDAY 09 JULY 2005

It has been a wonderful outing in Scotland and as I return home via London my spirits are still high.

I have just been to Kings Cross, one of the scenes of the bombings that made eyes turn away from Africa.

But I will never lose focus of the dangerous times ahead.

That the G8 disappointed many from Africa - apart from the likes of South Africa's Thabo Mbeki and Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo - is not in doubt.

Kofi Annan, Bob Geldof and Bono exchange views at Gleneagles
Bob Geldof and Bono faced many opposing camps

But the massive crowd that thronged the Meadows in Edinburgh to demand justice and not charity could not have been all wrong.

That is not history for their voices will linger on.

When William Wilberforce started campaigning for an end to slavery he was told it would never happen. We now agree that another Africa is possible.

Poverty can be brought to an end with political goodwill. I am far away from home which may disconnect me from the reality, but as I write this I know the dividing line between wealth and poverty - either in rural areas or in urban.

As a journalist I watched the voice of the civil society grow and wither at Gleneagles. But some of them hung on with Africa and said as much.

I was for a moment surprised at their separate interpretation of the outcome.

There was Bob Geldof and Bono on one side and many opposing camps. In a word, the Make Poverty History campaign left the Gleneagles compound divided. It almost became history but it survived to fight on for another day.

It is a refreshing change to read a report from a different angle, from someone who understands Africa from first-experience
Anonymous, Oxfordshire

I wondered openly: what drives these different opinions?

The answer came from a Canadian professor who has been studying the relationships between the G8 and the civil societies.

"Interests", he said. We sat together with him on the bus from Gleneagles to Edinburgh and talked about case studies of western countries' failures to rescue Africa at the hour of need.

He mentioned Rwanda and Darfur. He was right. Africa will always be second when there are other interests. But salvation for the continent must come from within and not without.

Before I met Sir Nicholas Bayne, an expert on the G8, I had been told that he has written three books: Hanging Together, Hanging in There and most recently Staying Together.

It was good to talk to him for, as an insider within the G8, he was a sous Sherpa (personal representative) at the first Group of Five meetings- he was knowledgeable.

Mourners leave flowers outside Kings Cross station, London
The attacks shifted media attention from Gleneagles to London

But if the G8 will stay together to fail other nations it will one day hang separately.

Russia will get the chair of the G8 and next year we might head to St Petersburg to see what has become of the African agenda.

I highly doubt that Africa means anything in the post-cold war Russia.

But Africa is more than an academic study of poverty. It is home. I go back with determination that it is only us in Africa who can make a difference.

It was good to be part of the Olympic merry making, to mourn amid the bombings and to cry for Africa. We will triumph against all those odds - one day (perhaps).

Previous diary entries:


John Kamau attended the G8 summit in Edinburgh with assistance from the Panos institute, a non-profit media organisation that works with journalists in the developing world.




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