Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bono and Bob shown up by their mates

Oh, the weakness of metaphor - somehow, it seems, that Bono and Bob Geldof's defanging of the Make Poverty History campaign has bitten them in the arse. Having redirected the efforts and energies of the MPH campaign into watching a pop concert in London instead of actually campaigning, the pair are now discovering that the promises made over golf and brandies at Gleneagles might have been as empty as a late-period U2 chorus:

Bono last night called for an emergency session on Africa at next month's G8 summit in Germany as it emerged that rich countries are using the sympathy felt in the wake of the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London to justify their foot-dragging on meeting aid pledges made at Gleneagles two years ago.

"It's not just the credibility of the G8 that's at stake," Bono said in an interview with the Guardian to coincide with the release of a report from his Data organisation detailing the slow progress since the Gleneagles summit of 2005. "It's the credibility of the largest non-violent protest in 30 years."

No, Bono. It's your credibility that's at stake. You weren't elected to be spokesperson for MPH - you took that on yourself. And your self-granted mission to represent the masses who offered support for MPH one way or another, to become their mouthpiece, to talk to your friends on our behalf, has failed.
The rock star warned there was a risk of a return to the violent street protests of Genoa and Seattle at the turn of the millennium unless the G8 acted next month.
"Nobody wants to go back to what we saw in Genoa, but I do sense a real sense of jeopardy."

Doesn't this sound a little like Bono saying "C'mon, Pals, we drew the sting of popular protest two years ago, but if you don't give them common folks a bone, they might turn nasty."

Lets not forget, of course, that the violence at Genoa was sparked by heavy-handed policing - 200 police crashing into a school where campaigners were sleeping, beating journalists, and killing one of the protesters with senior Italian police tried for their part in events. Nobody wants to see a return of the violence of Genoa in 2001, but the best way to avoid that is to not treat people exercising their right of protest as targets for testing out brutality. It's hard to have any respect for Bono at the best of times, but for him to imply that it was the protesters who turned the 2001 G8 meeting into a bloodbath has taken him to new levels of humbug.

Since he's entirely self-elected, it's not clear how we can unseat him - but isn't it about time someone started a "Bono and Bob do not speak for me" campaign?

1 comment:

CarsmileSteve said...

I would buy that on a t-shirt!

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