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Bob Geldof is upset
03-16-2010, 12:23 AM,
Bob Geldof is upset
From The Sunday Times
March 14, 2010

Hardly a charitable response from Bob the bludgeoner

Bob Geldof seems to be in a bit of a bate, doesn’t he? I haven’t seen the chap so animated since he was hopping up and down in front of us 25 years ago, like a demented leprechaun possessed by the spirit of Christ, demanding “Give us yer fuggin’ money”, or words to that effect.

You may well remember. That was Live Aid and all that “Let them know it’s Christmas” stuff, a process in which, through the force of Bob’s engaging personality, we were all enjoined — even Duran Duran — to save Ethiopia from starvation by bunging the benighted, corrupt country enormous amounts of our money.

Some people whispered at the time, very quietly, that it might not be quite so simple as that but were very quickly, and rudely, shouted down. If you were a pop star, or royalty, or a politician, or a charity you would not dare stay aloof from the shrill, if well-meant, hysteria; everyone was co-opted, like it or not.

This was the start of the Bono’n’Bob crusade to impose a simplistic vision of Third World poverty on the rest of us, a vision which brooked absolutely no argument and still holds sway today. Exemplified by that peculiar strangulated shriek of Bono’s, remember: “Tonight thank God it’s them instead of you!” Just before Keren from Bananarama came in with her bit.

It now transpires that 95% of the $100m raised through Live Aid may have not bought sacks of rice for the starving Ethiopians, but instead guns for terrorist rebels intent on waging (probably justifiable) warfare against the Ethiopian government. These Eritrean rebels must indeed have believed it was Christmas.

This was the subject of a BBC World Service investigation and it has driven Bob to the verge of apoplexy. He has called for everyone involved to be sacked, including the reporters, the producers and the head of the BBC World Service, Peter Horrocks. He probably wants you sacked too, if you heard the report. And he is promising legal action and demanding an “immediate investigation” into “what went on” — not in the doling out of the money to the terrorists, but in the decision to run the report.

He has been bombarding The Guardian’s online site — the traditional refuge of embittered loons — with scabrous attacks upon the BBC. It seems as if the silicon chip inside his head got switched to overload. Oh lordy, I can feel a song coming on.

Geldof is no fool and nor is there any suggestion (and nor was any such suggestion made in the BBC programme) that the Live Aid operatives were devious or even incompetent. Simply that this is what tends to happen when vast amounts of dosh are deposited within corrupt, impecunious countries.

In the very week Bob was getting all het up, there was another report about United Nations food aid to Somalia that had also ended up in the pockets of jihadi lunatics, bent officials and, uh, local UN workers. But Bob’s reaction is the problem now, just as it was in 1985: that any attempt to criticise this means of alleviating misery in the Third World must be howled down because this form of approach must be the answer and anyone who says it isn’t is a greedy, vacillating, rich western politician who wants to see black people starving and babies covered in flies. And there’s an end to it.

This has been the template for Bono’n’Bob ever since, and all the lesser slebs who have clambered aboard the Third World bandwagon; it is how they are able to get access to presidents, popes, prime ministers — through the threat of public opprobrium if they do not get their way.

So more money is diverted to the Third World, and debts are written off or scaled down, regardless of whether or not this actually benefits the citizens of each failing state. And the notion that bad governance might be primarily to blame and that aid sometimes makes things worse is not allowed a look-in.

But mention all this very quietly, in case Bob is still listening.
“Everything Popular Is Wrong” - Oscar Wilde

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