Wednesday, December 14, 2005


What would you do with a man who is a known segregationist, who votes repeatedly to cut aid to developing nations, who supported Pinochet Cedras and D'Aubuisson (observing of D'Aubuisson's use of death squads in El Salvador that "all I know is that D'Aubuisson is a free enterprise man and deeply religious"), and who ran a campaign against welfare payments on the basis that "a lot of human beings have been born bums"?

If you're Bono, you invite him to dinner. Yes, Bono has sat down to break bread with Jesse Helms.

Oh, we know, Helms has recently "changed" his mind on AIDS - except, of course, he hasn't: what he said was:

"…it had been my feeling that AIDS was a disease largely spread by reckless and voluntary sexual and drug-abusing behavior and that it would probably be confined to those in high risk populations. I was wrong."

In effect, his recent "liberal" work in the field of AIDS has been motivated purely because it's been shown that not just gays die from it. If it hadn't spread through the straight population, he'd still be sat on the side blowing hard about people "playing Russian roulette with their sexuality" as he so charmingly put it in a letter to a mother whose son died from an AIDS-related complex.

Bono - a man who has accepted the Martin Luther King prize - sits down for a meal with Helms - a man who campaigned against King and the Civil Rights movement and who fought against King's birthday being made a national holiday in the US. Bono - a man who claims to value the work of Nelson Mandela - sups his soup with Jesse Helms - a man who was a vocal supporter of the aparthied South African regime which was responsible for Mandela's incarceration. What was the conversation like? "Jesse, what people don't realise is that if it hadn't been for people like you shoring the South Africa regime up, Mandela would never have been able to spend all that time in prison building his reputation - you're a hero, Jesse."

Oh, and Bono, the man who is supposedly an artist at the cutting edge, is sitting down - "pass the butter, Jesse" - with the man who spent the 1990s trying to censor any artwork he didn't like the look of, fighting to smash the National Endowment for the Arts because it liked a couple of pictures by Robert Mapplethorpe.

Yes, yes, you might share some aims with unpleasant people - but to share hospitality with them looks like an endorsement.

Bono didn't even use long spoons.


Karl said...

Yes, yes, you might share some aims with unpleasant people - but to share hospitality with them looks like an endorsement.

Which is exactly my sentiment... about the United Nations.

Anonymous said...

hey, i hate guys in leather keks as much as the next man, but maybe bongo was putting him straight on a few things?

karl_v1.0 said...

Maybe Helms impressed Bono by putting on some sunglasses, like the pope did.
By the way, I'm a different karl to the one above. I imagine him sitting in a basement in South Dakota, surrounded by lots of big guns and tapes of bible passages he's recorded off the radio.

simon h b said...

Hmm, I see what you're saying Karl - but the United Nations isn't a catered party, is it?

And, yes, anon, it could be that Bono was straightening Helms out, but since he's already praised the old racist homophobe in public, it's not especially likely, is it? And when I tell the kids to stop smashing up the tree, I don't buy them a burger when i do it...

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