Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Bono

Benjamin Fogel posted on “Africa is a country” this Sept.26, 2013  “Make Bono History”

Firstly Bono is collaborating with brostep pioneer Skrillex to save the African children. (They were together in Ghana last month.)

Secondly The Observer (or The Guardian; it’s the same thing) has just published what might just be the most revealing and absurd interview with the world’s most self-righteous tax-dodging man who never removes his shades.

The article was titled “There is a difference between cosying up to power and being close to power,” something Bono apparently is an expert in.

The interview was conducted in some underground bar in Accra rather than in Bono’s land of origin, where he talked about his “25 years as an activist for African development” and the late Seamus Heaney.


For those whose hatred of Bono is as deep and visceral as mine or those who are merely looking for concrete reasons to despise on this particular celebrity do-gooder, be sure to check out Harry Browne’s devastating take-down The Frontman published by Verso as part of their Counterblast series — other targets put to the metaphorical sword in this series include such verbose and smug apostles of imperialism as Thomas Friedman, the late Christopher Hitchens and Bernard-Henri Lévy.

For those who avoid the high cult of tech utopianism, platitudes and technocracy known as TED talks: you might not know that Bono now describes himself as a “factivist” or in the words of the mildly sycophantic Tim Adams interviewer a “nerd who is aroused by the statistics of development” or in the words of Harry Browne, “Human beings have been campaigning against inequality and poverty for 3,000 years. But this journey is accelerating. Bono ‘embraces his inner nerd’ and shares inspiring data that shows the end of poverty is in sight… if we can harness the momentum.”

This data that so arouses Bono, according to Harry Browne, is mostly fantastical in nature.

Bono clearly takes great pride in his ability to get such diverse elites as the hawkish republican senator Lindsey Graham, former Bush jr cabinet member Condi Rice and the aforementioned EDM superstar Skrillex together in exotic locales like “this beyond-cool village bar” in Monrovia.

Bono also likes to boast about spending a lot of time with that famous humanitarian force known to the public as the US military — he has no qualms at all at courting these kind of interests and hanging out with such figures as General Jim Jones, Obama’s former National Security Advisor during Obama’s escalation of drone attacks on “militants” (anyone brown and male in the wrong place at the wrong time) in Pakistan.

When asked the tough questions like: ”The persistent liberal view would be that you should never get into bed with neocons under any circumstances … ?”, Bono always has the glib response:

Try telling that to the woman who is about to lose her third child to HIV/Aids. I know I couldn’t do that.

Or the woman who has lost her third child to a drone strike in Somalia or Pakistan.


But isn’t the poverty that engenders these catastrophes structural – and created directly by the policies of some western governments? 

That these problems are structural is true.

Of course it is. And you can always say that tending to the wounded will not stop the war.

But the world is an imperfect place. While we are waiting for capitalism to reform itself, or another system to emerge, or for these countries, as Ghana is clearly doing, to move toward the point when they don’t need our assistance, we have a problem.

What you might call the situation on the ground. And our angle is really that we will use anyone who can help with that. When I came here, and visited hospitals with thousands of people camping outside for treatment, for drugs (medicine?) that were not available, I wanted to do what I could to make the madness stop.

Watching lives implode in front of your eyes for no reason. Children in their mother’s arms go into that awful silence. And looking to the side and seeing the health workers and seeing the rage inside of them. I just thought: I’ll do what I can. And I will talk to anybody

That inside game sometimes looks like a cosy relationship with power…

It does confuse people. But there is a difference between cosying up to power and being close to power.

Really? In Bono’s world the causes of the very problems he is trying to solve are irrelevant to the solutions in the sense that many of these problems emerge because Bono’s friends are busy fucking over the very people he is trying to help in Africa on a fairly consistent basis.

Bono is a sinister piece because he endorses a vision of social change as elite-driven technocratic solutions which can’t be questioned or critiqued because of the immediacy of intervening to save the poor black children.

In other words he is part of re-branding the vision of such famously “altruistic organizations” as the World Bank and IMF as part of an international aid campaign which can get on board rock stars, the Clinton and the Nelson Mandela foundation.

In effect it is reinforcing the same political arrangements which are responsible for the African debt crisis which Bono got his political start on in the first place. Bono of course doesn’t realize the irony of trying to make debt history by aligning himself with the World Bank and bankers. This vision of ‘humanitarianism’ or ‘aid’ is premised around billionaires throwing money at things and is all about the Übermensch figure of the philanthropist as the vanguard of social change along with the the celebrity rock star.

The ideological guise of “act now” obscures the necessity of understanding the actual political reasons for underdevelopment, famine and war on the African continent, Inter-imperialist rivalry and the new scramble for raw materials from Nigeria to Mozambique as well as the history of debt are subsumed under this dumbed-down vision of ‘humanitarianism’.

He provides a celebrity cover for imperialism and promotes a substanceless vision of development in which the agency of poor black Africans is non-existent. Instead they exist as passive subjects just waiting for Bono to parachute in and hand out same aid parcels. Oh and also he is a dick and proud tax-dodger in country (Ireland) which has just seen its economy collapse in debt crises brought upon by a rather loose and corrupt financial regime.

As Harry Browne once again succinctly puts it:

His significance, however diminished, is as a frontman, witting or not, for those who want to maintain and extend their dominion over the earth, and to make that dominion less and less accountable to the assembled riff-raff. That’s why it’s so important that he is Not allowed to take ownership of the protest song in the same way he has previously seized, say, the color red or the idea of making poverty history.

Then there’s this from The Observer interview:

The other persistent criticism is about [U2’s] decision to offshore part of their income through the Netherlands to avoid tax.

Was it not hypocrisy for you to try to hold the Irish government to account for its spending while going through fairly exhaustive efforts to avoid paying into the Irish exchequer yourself?

It is not an intellectually rigorous position unless you understand that at the heart of the Irish economy has always been the philosophy of tax competitiveness.

Tax competitiveness has taken our country out of poverty. People in the revenue accept that if you engage in that policy then some people are going to go out, and some people are coming in.

It has been a successful policy. On the cranky left that is very annoying, I can see that. But tax competitiveness is why Ireland has stayed afloat.

When the Germans tried to impose a different tax regime on the country in exchange for a bailout, the taoiseach said they would rather not have the bailout. So U2 is in total harmony with our government’s philosophy.

The good news however is people are fighting back against the scourge of Bono:

I was booed by all the young entrepreneurs in the audience who thought I was peddling this idea of a supplicant Africa, which I happen to think could not be further from the truth.

In the very same week I was chased down the street in Germany by a bunch of anarchists at the G8 summit, wielding placards and shouting “Make Bono history!” – which even as I was running for my life I thought was a pretty good line.

So: we are doing something right – we are annoying both the capitalists in Africa, and the anti-capitalists in Europe. The thing is, I am not an idealist, never have been, I am just quite pragmatic about finding solutions.

Even young African entrepreneurs in Tanzania, supposedly the sort of people Bono believes are key to ‘African development’, are joining the rapidly growing “Make Bono history” camp. This is at least heartening news


Global South Launches ‘Best White Saviour’ Award

A great ironic piece

From Bono to Al Gore, there can be no doubt that white saviours are great.

And The Global South has done little to acknowledge the greatness of white people over the recent decades, claiming it was busy with the challenges of post-colonisation, nation-building and fending off hunger.
These are poor excuses however and a wide coalition of Global South governments, NGOs and ordinary people are now attempting to rectify this historic omission by launching the ‘Best White Saviour’ award this year.
Karl reMarks posted this Oct. 7, 2014The award will be similar to the Nobel Prize, which is normally handed to Distinguished White People or Non-threatening Brown People occasionally, but will be exclusively awarded to the great and the good among white people.The award will aim to celebrate white saviours’ celebration of their importance to the world and their contributions to the rest of us, and will come up with a modest financial prize and an ethically-sourced trophy in keeping with white saviour culture and high self-regard.

From white governments that prevent brown people from immigrating in order to preserve their connection with their homelands and protect them from being corrupted by Western lifestyle, to white environmentalists who want to shield brown people from the inconveniences of electricity, sanitation and cars, to white celebrities who will bravely talk with very little understanding about complex political questions, to white charities and NGOs that will speak on behalf of millions of brown people so they don’t have to go through the excruciating process of forming opinions… these and many more are huge contributions that white saviours continue to provide consistently yet the Global South has failed to recognise or reward them properly.

The ‘Best White Saviour’ is a timely attempt at putting things right.

The criteria for the award are diverse and extensive, focusing primarily on white saviours who are not afraid or reluctant to celebrate their own achievements, sometimes pre-emptively.

Ordinary white people who work as nurses and teachers and who might contribute to charity or volunteer to help others will be ineligible for the award, seeing as they go about this anonymously and without creating the much-needed buzz that is a cornerstone of the philosophy of ‘raising awareness’ which is quite important to white saviour culture for reasons we don’t quite understand, but who are we to judge.

Instead, the award will aim to celebrate big names in the white saviour community and reward their passion for self-glorification and making sure the media is aware of every little thing they do to help others, particularly photo-genically-destitute Global Southerners.

The award will also aim to consolidate the waves of spontaneous grovelling among a minority of trailblazers in the South towards white celebrities that ‘speak on their behalf’.

The feeling here is this has been done in a piecemeal way so far and it needs to be properly organised with a trophy and everything.

Some of the candidates being considered for the award in its crucial first year are Al Gore for his tireless campaigning for his own place in history, the European Union for its dedication to celebrating its benign and inoffensive values, Naomi Klein for being so right on all the time albeit in a patronizing manner, Jeffrey Sachs for his heroic attempt at disproving the theory that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and Russell Brand for being so sexy and compassionate.

Bono is being considered for a Lifetime Achievement Award for services to White Savioureness.

Bono-metrics and more; (Jan. 28, 2010)

            Rock superstar of U2 Bono published his 10 ideas for the next decade in the New York Times.  I selected a few of these ideas with comments.

            Half a million children in developing countries died of diarrhea this year.  There is a vaccine for antirotavirus  that could save millions of children.  The vaccine can be delivered with the other available inoculations.  Super rich Bono has established many humanitarian associations such as ONE and the label of RED products to fighting tuberculosis, paludism, and AIDS. Super rich and supper motivated Bono can start this campaign of vaccination and then play the catalyst for other billionaires, public figure personalities, and international organizations to taking over the movement.

            Soccer “world cup” games for 2010 are organized in South Africa. During the games, many African civil wars will declare cease fire for the event. Between now and then, soccer is enflaming enmities among peoples instead of letting politicians fight it out: it is a shame that Egyptians feel so strongly of Algerians simply for a soccer game. In this century, people can still exhibit small mindedness; as if knowledge and simple common sense decency have never touched them.

            Each individual should have the right to sell his polluting conduct to the heavier polluters and receive the money for his sustainable life behavior. The Ethiopian who is polluting the environment with 200 kilos of CO2 related chemicals per year should be paid by the US polluter of 20 tons.

            I love the European Union dynamism: Do you remember the “Spanish auberge” movie where European students study in any EU State?  Well, there is an extension to that program for small entrepreneurs.  The Erasmus program offers stipends for entrepreneurs who manage to contact skilled entrepreneurs to be mentors and learn new techniques in administration and managing their business.  Damn, I love to have dual citizenship with any EU state.

            For example, the Netherland allocated one billion to cover salaries of part time workers so that companies retain qualified employees for better economic periods.  What a better strategy to keeping people off the street and feeling worth as a person during downturn period.  It is amazing that small Netherland, with no raw materials, and with flat land under sea water level can progress as a super wealthy society.  The EU should move most of its institutions to the Netherland and be kept up to date to notion of courage and organization.




June 2023

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