Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Sir Bob Geldof - Egomaniac or G8 Stooge?
“We are very critical of what Bob Geldof did during the G8 Summit”, Demba Moussa Dembele of the African Forum on Alternatives tells me. “He did it for his self-promotion. This is why he marginalized African singers, putting the limelight on himself and Bono, rather than on the issues. … The objectives of the whole Live8 campaign had little to do with poverty reduction in Africa. It was a scheme intended to project Geldof and Blair as humanitarian figures coming to the rescue of “poor and helpless” Africans.”(15)
“Right from the beginning,” says Kofi Mawuli Klu of the Forum of African Human Rights Defenders, “he has acted in his own selfish interests. It was all about self-promotion, about usurping the place of Africans. His message was “shut up and watch me”. Without even understanding the root causes of the problems, he used his role to drown the voices of the African people and replace them with his own. There are many knowledgeable people – African and non-African – who could have advised him, but he has been on his own, ego-tripping.”(16)
I have heard similar sentiments from every African campaigner I have spoken to. Bob Geldof is beginning to look like Mother Teresa or Joy Adamson. To the corporate press, and therefore to most of the public, he is a saint. Among those who know something about the issues, he is detested.