[From the February Harper's. They took it from The eXile, an English language biweekly based in Moscow, which has a site, but no archive, at least not one visible through the eyes of my text-based browser.]
Recently, the United States announced that it was offering Russia a $600 million "food aid" package. This touched the heartstrings of scores of Muscovites, a few of whom have banded together to follow America's great example -- namely, that of sending a country exactly what it doesn't need, making them pay for it, then calling it all "aid."
Several Russian celebrities and leading expatriates have formed "Bandit Aid." Last weekend they gathered to record a charity song for the suffering masses of Washington, D.C., one of the West's poorest, most crime-infested cities. The tune is based on the Band Aid song "Do They Know It's Christmas (Feed the World)." The Bandit Aid version, in contrast, is called "Do They Know It's Christmas (Send Them Crack)."
As everyone knows, crack is just about the last thing Washington needs, just as a $600 million loan is the last thing Russia needs -- especially a loan offered on the condition that the money be used to pay American farmers three times more for grain than what it costs at home, meanwhile leaving the remainder of the profits to a small clique of well-connected Russian distribution companies and their tools in the Russian government, thereby destroying Russia's shaky distribution network.
The Bandit Aid song will premiere next Friday on DJ Alexander Gordon's radio show. All proceeds form the sale of the Bandit Aid recording will in theory go to the "Save America" fund, though in fact any money collected will mysteriously disappear in some brazenly corrupt manner.
__________________________________________________________________________ Michael Pollak................New York City..............mpollak at panix.com