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apathetic with apathy

V as in be-lie-Ve

U2 CAN SAVE WORLD HUNGER AND SPEND MORE MONEY

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Bono you speak to me, more than any other person. I have all your records and a U2 Ipod so I can shuffle your music. Been a fan 4ever since I got WAR at a great price from a friend who hated it. Been to all your concerts DownUnder and I waited all night for a ticket to see you come Nov 15. Where I will be at your stage ready for some Rock Legend Worshipping.
However,

I do not rejoice for people who suffer with Aids or Poverty when I see you shopping with Oprah and Christy Turlington, or shaking hands with Dubya G.W.Bush.

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This is obscene. Please tell me, there is there something wrong with this picture ? What the hell are you thinking !?

When you launched the new Amex Red card you said: ‘We got a long way with Make Poverty History but we need to keep the heat on these issues. Some people will be offended that activists like me are working with big companies, but when you see people queuing up to die from a disease which is curable, it makes you want to do something. If people like these products we could make hundreds of millions of dollars.’

Do you think about the people you endorse and make money for/with ? These people don’t care for humanity, they lie, barely pay wages and abuse natural resources. Anyway why would Bush give a shit, he doesn’t care for poverty in his home country. You can’t cure poverty by extermination, there is something fundametaly flawed with this line of reasoning. Consumer Spending or Mass Vaccination or any other Miracle Drug has never saved anyone, it just makes people rich.

However: A honest legend rocker who challenges people to see the ‘truth’ might have a better chance of succeeding.

Money cannot save the World: My faith is dwindling.

>p

A few things to consider, that the author of Bono the Puppet, Aleksandar Mitic, brought to my attention.

Q: What is the downside of Bono’s political activity?

Been there, done that – could be the resume of Bono’s political career to date. His political themes have spanned from Northern Ireland to Argentina, his political partners have gone from Amnesty International to US Congress, his political stance on US foreign policy has gone from harsh criticism to rock solid defense. He has been compared to Woody Allen’s Zellig, a person popping out everywhere, being at a focus of world events, hanging out with the world’s key actors.

He can open doors of the White House, from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush, he became the favorite musician of the most conservative US Congressman Jesse Helms and of the most powerful Treasury minister in the world, US Secretary Paul O’Neill.

However, he seeks to “change the world” and be the symbol of the alterglobalization movement, while those involved in that movement reject him as a puppet of the powerful few. Some protestors have even created huge sarcastic puppets with the figure of Bono and they are waving them during protests against big business and political summits. Bono indeed goes to these summits, but he is on the other side of the fence from the protesters. His contacts and pals at the summits include the world’s most powerful economic figures: from Bill Gates to James Wolfesohn of the World Bank or economic shock-therapy guru Jeffrey Sachs.

Bono is indeed seen by analysts, experts and fellow pop stars as a symbol of hypocrisy and double standards of the policies of the international humanitarian world.

Q: Why would you class him as a puppet?

Bono is like a puppet playing in a publicity stunt. He has become the “king of the photo op” for all top world figures. His presence next to George Bush, Tony Blair, Paul O’Neill, James Wolfesohn or Jesse Helms is sure to attract huge attention of the world’s top media. The message Bono and his pals are sending is always positive marketing for them. Indeed, Bono more than anyone else serves to legitimize the policies and politics of those he talks to and gets a picture with. He sometimes tickles them a bit, but then – in front of cameras — “makes peace” with them and compliments their newly-found “will to change the world”.

So, Bono is using his humanitarian activism to rally the attention of the huge international media machinery. In the process, Bono profits himself from the publicity, but also provides media attention to his partners-interlocutors who use their meetings with the U2 singer to persuade the public opinion about the “political correctness” of their otherwise controversial stances. Bono thus becomes a puppet in the “cleansed” hands of the powerful few.

Q: What you think he is doing wrong?

There’s no logic or clearcut position in Bono’s political activism. One day he was a pacifist rocker, then he became a rocket-launcher. One day he criticized US foreign policy, then he met Clinton and started loving it. One day he praised Islamic fighters, then he wanted to exterminate them.

What is constant in his activism is the “play it safe” current. He can criticize or preach, but will never dare go against the politically correct line, or dare touch an issue that has not been prominent in the media. He will not dare oppose the predominant thought of the day.

If he was truly concerned about human rights, he would oppose – as Amnesty International suggested — US military support to states with blatant violations of fundamental rights: like Saudi Arabia, with its tragically laughable lack of democracy, or Indonesia with its military acting with nearly total impunity in its actions. He would go to the Serbian province of Kosovo, now under UN administration and whose majority Albanian population he supported during the 1999 NATO air strikes. There he could see what Kosovo looks like five years after the war: a reversed “ethnic cleansing” with 130 Christian churches – most centuries old – destroyed by explosives, more than a 1,000 killed Serbs, some 2,000 of them kidnapped, only 150 returning Serb refugees out of the total of 226,000 who have fled extremists’ violence. He would raise voice against the violence of the kind that rocked that province in the heart of Europe as recently as this March, when some 4,000 people, mostly powerless elderly were expelled from their homes as 900 of their homes were burned. He would make a statement about the ghettos of Kosovo, a 21st century Apartheid system. But he won’t. It’s not profitable, it’s not politically correct, it would hurt his interests and allies. And – what’s most important – there’s no one to direct him, to show him the way, to plug him and play.

Also, take the consistency of Bono’s activism for example. In recognition to his wartime support, Bono received in 1997 an honorary Bosnian passport from then Muslim president Alija Izetbegovic, who died recently while under investigation by the International War Crimes Tribunal (ICTY) in the Hague for crimes committed against Serbs and Croats. Izetbegovic was also under investigation in his own country for establishing close links with some of the most radical elements of the Al-Qaida network, who had come to Bosnia for “humanitarian” reasons, as had Bono. Five years later, that same Bono will support US bombings of Afghanistan and the fight against now “terrorist” Al-Qaida.

After the 9/11 attacks, Bono’s “good guys” and “fighters for multiethnicity and tolerence” became “bad guys” who – in his opinion – deserved to be bombed. Bono became a propagandist once again and reinforced his image of a new hawk in Washington, a very useful tool in the media wars.

In the meantime, we know that some of those who Bono supported as Izetbegovic’s “freedom fighters” include:

– Sheikh Ahmad Omar: the man who kidnapped and slaughtered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

– Souleiman Abou Ghaith: Al-Qaida’s spokesman and one of Ossama Bin Laden’s closest allies.

– Mohammed Haydar Zammar: an Al-Qaida man suspected of recruiting Mohamed Atta, the kamikaze of the first plane that hit the World Trade Center on September 11.

– Anas al-Kanderi and Jassem al-Hajeri: the attackers and murderors of US soldiers in a 2002 attack on the Kuwaiti island of Failaka.

– Slimane Khalfaoui: one of Al-Qaida’s top men in France suspectedof links with aborted terrorist attacks during the Millenium festivities in Strasbourg, France and Seattle, Washington.

– Mahmud Mendah Salim: the man suspected by the US of participating in the 1997 terrorist attacks against American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

– El Fatih Al Hassanein: arrested in the US under the suspicion of participating with Sheikh Abdel Rahman in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. He was a close friend of Izetbegovic’s, who awarded him a Bosnian passport.

Or consider Bono getting big publicity in newswire reports for criticizing US policy in Africa at the World Economic Forum in New York, only to repeat the publicity stunt the day after by showing off his Stars and Stripes jacket at the patriotic Superbowl half-time ceremony in New Orleans.

Bono has not been immune from criticism from journalists, fellow pop stars, activists or analysts. He has always felt uncomfortable about the need to justify his political activism. He thought that the period of revisiting his image and mining his own hypocrisy in the early 1990s was enough to repel these criticisms. Yet, his continued activism, which has flourished to unprecedented heights in the last several years has drawn a new wave of critical reflection about Bono’s mission: from those who would ironically ridiculise his image with a simple phrase “After U2, the UN?” to those who have come to see the “new improved, political Bono” as a dangerous man, or perhaps even a smart but dangerous puppet in the hands of the powerful few.

In 2001, Bono became a privileged interlocutor of the US administration and Congress in Washington, and has established special, warm relations with the conservative Jesse Helms, perhaps the most influential congressman on Capitol Hill. In respect to his political authority, Bono was invited to attend several key international conferences on poverty and aid in the last several years. In 2002, Bono took his lobbying one step further and went on a two-week trip to Africa with US Finance Secretary Paul O’Neill. The world’s most powerful finance minister and one of the world’s biggest rock stars went on tour of misery spots of Ghana, South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia. The “unlikely pair”, as they became known, was of course accompanied by a huge media following, including the Rolling Stone magazine and MTV.

Finally, the question is, where are the results? A lot of talk, a lot of op-ed pieces, a lot of publicity stunts and photo ops, but very few results.

Or even worse, as some analysts have pointed out, Bono’s activities are masking the real criticism of policies in the fight against AIDS, debt in Africa or the monopolies of the leaders in the pharmaceutical industry.

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An aricle by Bono about ONE and product (RED)

Why Red? the (Red Wedge)

and the (PRODUCT) RED web site.

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Filed under: Media, Pictures, Politics

One Response

  1. ld says:

    Yes! – finally someone or some people daring to say what should be said. And Yes! – I’ve loved Bono since U2 first appeared on my television screen when I was 15 years old and Yes! fundamentally Bono is doing or trying to do some good….BUT

    One man with so much power and so much pull in so many ways can’t afford to be naive. It’s all well and good that Bono stands up for the big issues such as AIDS and poverty BUT I agree that the hypocrisies in his approach are getting worse.

    Bono – you stand next to the MOST INSIDIOUS LEGITIMISER OF MASS MURDER in the world, smile and shake his hand – don’t you see that purely by doing this you are CONDONING this man’s actions ?

    I actually believe that people like Bono have the power and influence to use their status, fame and fortune for the greater good and Yes! too few of you singer/celebrities do this and Yes! I think that is sad. (What about the rest of you out there…are you human enough to think that maybe you can also put something back into this great, big world that makes a real positive difference instead of take, take, take all the time ?).

    So in a way, Bono has sort of got his heart in the right place BUT the way he’s going about it is sadly WRONG.

    WE NEED MORE PEOPLE LIKE MICHAEL FRANTI. Here’s a guy that comes on stage with no shoes and shakes the entire venue he’s playing at TO THE CORE. Here’s a guy who sings like there’s no tomorrow and actually sings REAL songs with REAL messages. I’ve never seen Thebarton Theatre so pumped, so vibed and just so incredibly energetic as that one night that I finally saw Michael Franti play live in Adelaide. For those of you who haven’t heard the brilliant music of Michael Franti and Spearhead, do yourselves a favour and go out and buy any of their CD’s. You’ll be inspired and motivated. And GET YOURSELVES TO THE FALLS FESTIVAL IN DECEMBER BECAUSE THEY’LL BE THERE !!!!! Can’t wait !!!!

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