Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bono visits South Africa; suggests singing "shoot the Boer" 'has its place'

Against a background of thousands of white farmers being murdered over the last couple of decades, and a court judgement making it plain that a song calling for people to 'shoot the Boer' is unconstitutional, you'd have to be incredibly overconfident of your own abilities to pitch up in South Africa and suggest that there's nothing wrong with a bit of tunesome calling for racially-motivated murder.

Look out. Here comes Bono:

In an interview with the South African Sunday Times, Bono said: "When I was a kid and I'd sing songs I remember my uncles singing... rebel songs about the early days of the Irish Republican Army."

He went on to sing a song whose lyrics spoke of carrying guns and readying them for action.

"We sang this and it's fair to say it's folk music," he told the newspaper.

But he said such songs should not be sung in the wrong context.

"Would you want to sing that in a certain community? It's pretty dumb," he said.

"It's about where and when you sing those songs. There's a rule for that kind of music."
Bono might have forgotten, but at the time his uncles were singing rebel songs, the Irish Republican Army were involved in a violent battle with the British state in which people on both sides would continue to die for a couple more decades so, perhaps, not the best example of harmless old folk songs you might have come up with.

What Bono's intervention has done is help to stir up the row all over again, so I'm sure everyone will be delighted.

As his advert for expensive suitcases observed, every journey began in Africa. It's a pity so many of Bono's have to end there.