Monday, June 20, 2005

Newsflash: star refuses to bash the President 

Bob Geldof in "Time" magazine:
Today I had to defend the Bush Administration in France again. They refuse to accept, because of their political ideology, that he has actually done more than any American President for Africa. But it's empirically so.
And Drudge quotes Geldof saying this to an artist in the run up to Live 8 concerts:
"Please remember, absolutely no ranting and raving about Bush or Blair and the Iraq war, this is not why you have been invited to appear... We want to bring Mr. Bush in, not run him away."
It's encouraging to know that some sanity still prevails in the entertainment world, and that there are people like Geldof, who while clearly not of the right, are able to eschew ideological blinkers and face reality, or at least be sensible and pragmatic enough to know not to bite the hand they're trying to get to feed the poor. To his credit, Geldof's comrade in the Live8 enterprise, U2's Bono, has been similarly prepared to praise without fear or favor (and risk ire for his friendly relationship with Jesse Helms).

There is inevitable backlash, though: "Bono has been attacked by his rock peers for associating with US President George W Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair." The piece only quotes two individuals by name - the eccentric has-been Sinead O'Connor and the unrepentant socialist Billy Bragg - so if I were Bono, I wouldn't lose much sleep, except that I fear the sentiments that the right is evil, can never do anything right, and one should avoid any contact with it like a plague, are rather more widespread in the entertainment industry.

I've been critical of Geldof's initiatives in the past because even though he personally seems to have a much better grasp of issues involved, I doubt whether Live 8 will result in the international community addressing the real root causes of Africa's poverty - lack of democracy and transparency, and corruption and statist economic policies at home, and protectionism abroad. But for the first time there is hope that a coalition of pragmatic activists like Geldof and Bono and compassionate conservatives (Bush) and neocons (Wolfowitz) in positions of power might be able to break away from all the leftist baggage (dependency, neo-colonialism, core-periphery) that has made much of the aid effort over the past few decades such a costly failure.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?