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People can’t believe ‘Do They Know It's Christmas' keeps being played after actually listening to the lyrics

People can’t believe ‘Do They Know It's Christmas' keeps being played after actually listening to the lyrics

The lyrics from ‘Do They Know It's Christmas' are not what you think.

Singing along to a tune without a care in the world is a pretty great feeling.

And during the festive period, all the classics - like 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' - come rolling though at a repetitive rate.

But after paying close attention to the lyrics from the 1984 Band Aid hit, some listeners have said that the song hasn't aged well at all.

The lyrics from ‘Do They Know It's Christmas' are not what you think.
Mercury Records Limited

Bob Geldof and Midge Ure co-wrote the song nearly 40 years ago and it was a response to the famine in Ethiopia at the time, dubbed by the BBC as 'the closest thing to hell on Earth'.

Approximately 300,000 to 1.2 million died and over 200,000 children were orphaned.

And ever since it's been played every single year and sold an estimated 2.5 million copies by January 1985.

Geldof hoped that it would raise £70,000 for Ethiopia; and within a year, it raised £8 million.

However, the song's message drew forth some criticism.

Others can't believe it is still being played today, with writer Indrajit Samarajiva taking to his blog on Medium to break down the song’s 'ignorant' and 'racist' lyrics.

"It’s not just that these lyrics haven’t aged well. They were never good at all," Samarajiva wrote.

"They take an ignorant and colonial attitude, more about making white people feel good than helping anyone."

Bob Geldof and Midge Ure co-wrote the song nearly 40 years ago.
Mercury Records Limited

Some of the other lyrics that have been called out include: 'There won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time, the greatest gift they'll get this year is life."

While the song was written as a famine was rocking parts of Africa, it's a pretty sweeping, mass generalisation for an entire continent.

Another part of the song people have taken issue with is: "Where nothing ever grows, No rain or rivers flow, Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?"

Samarajiva wrote in response: "I mean, this is all wrong. It does snow in Africa, although not a lot."

"Food does in fact grow on the continent, they do have water, and North Africa, as part of the Roman Empire, was celebrating Christmas centuries before England."

The Canada-born Sri Lankan writer then went on to point out that, even as a metaphor, the lyrics are pretty rough symbolically.

Samarajiva said: "What does the metaphor communicate? That Africa is a desolate, dark place which white men have to get together and save?"

And social media users agreed and questioned why such problematic music is still played on the radio.

One user said: "Please listen to the lyrics carefully and then complain to your radio station/supermarket [due to] explicit racism and lack of Christmas spirit."

While a second said: "'Never really appreciated what a nasty, selfish and 'unchristian' lyric [that] lies within 'Do They Know It's Christmas'."

And a third said: "Out of all the Christmas songs to remain on the radio, how is it that 'Do They Know It's Christmas' hasn't been taken out of circulation."

Featured Image Credit: Mercury Records Limited

Topics: Music