Thousands of people jammed London's Wembley Arena and millions more in 37 countries were linked by satellite for an international pop concert intended to raise money for the Kurdish refugees.
"Put your hands in your pockets for these very unfortunate people," rock singer Rod Stewart urged during his performance Sunday in Lausanne, Switzerland, a portion of which was relayed around the world as part of the "Simple Truth Appeal."Organizers of the event, carried live on the British Broadcasting Corp.'s World Service and broadcast by satellite to television stations in 37 countries, hoped to raise at least $17 million to match a contribution by the British government for the refugees.
In Britain, viewers were asked to give at least $8.50 to the relief fund as performers - among them Tom Jones, MC Hammer, Gypsy Kings and Chris de Burgh, who wrote the theme song - took the stage at Wembley throughout the evening. Similar appeals were interspersed in the broadcasts around the world.
"Please give generously," de Burgh appealed. "There are still people dying out there on the mountain."
Nearly four hours into the concert, telephone contributors in Britain alone had chipped in an equivalent of $2,444,657. Among the guests of honor at Wembley were Princess Diana and Prime Minister John Major.
Other performances, some live, some taped, were set for broadcast from nine other cities, including Whitney Houston in San Francisco and Paul Simon in Manchester, England, and Yes in Denver, and Peter Gabriel and Sting in the Hague, Netherlands, and INXS in Melbourne, Australia.
The concert coincided with an international relief effort to save some 1.5 million Kurds who fled their homes in the wake of a failed rebellion against President Saddam Hussein in their northern Iraqi homeland.