Australia to Host Famine Live Aid Concert Series
4 February 2009: The first of many well-known Chin vocalists invited to perform at the Chin Famine Live Aid Concerts has arrived in Australia, even as more artists are scheduled to arrive over the coming days. Cung Lian Thawng, a local musician and vocal talent arrived at the Melbourne International Airport Monday.
‘I am honoured by the invitation and the opportunity to be a part of the effort to help the famine victims in Chin State,’ Cung Lian Thawng said on his arrival.
Mami Varte, another famous performer from Mizoram is expected to arrive from India on February 7.
The Chin Famine Live Aid Concerts will take place over the next three weeks in three Australian cities; Melbourne on February 14, Adelaide on February 21, and Perth on February 28. The concerts are part of an ongoing awareness and fundraising campaigns to benefit Chin famine victims. Similar events were successfully organized in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore last year with more events being scheduled to take place in the United States and Canada over the next few months.
‘The Chin communities living in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth have put in considerable energy and time planning and preparing for the concerts,’ says David Thang, a contact person for the organizing committee in Melbourne. ‘With these concerts we hope that more people in Australia, including the Australian government and aid organizations will be aware of the situation and take responsive actions. We have high hope that our investment will pay off,’ he says.
Rev. James Tin Kung, a contact person of the organizing committee in Perth echoes the same sentiment. ‘We arranged these concerts because we believe that even a cent counts for those who are in need. We have a responsibility to help our brothers and sisters at home who are facing starvation.’
According to Chin Human Right Organization (CHRO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), an estimated 100,000 people from at least 129 villages have been severely affected by the ongoing famine, which happens only once in fifty years because of rodent infestation. Twice in a century, an indigenous variety of bamboo in Chin State flowers abundantly and attracts the rodents. The rats eat the fruit of the flowering bamboo, multiple quickly and destroy as much as 75 percent of the crops in Chin State, Burma.
The concerts in Australia will also feature speeches by prominent Chin activists such as Victor Biak Lian of Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO), Dr. Lian Hmung Sakhong of the Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC), Dr. Sui Khar and Dr. Salai Ngun Cung Lian of the Chin National Front (CNF).
Lian Ding Hmung