It’s time to end Bono

I dislike Bono. Intensely. His music is overblown and pompous. And what really pisses me off is that despite living and working in Kenya for five years, no-one offered me so much as a plastic carrier bag much less a lucrative advertising deal…bono-edun-louis-vuitton-adActually, what I really dislike about Bono is the way in which he has become the voice of Africa. Holding a conference about tackling poverty across the continent and unsure who to invite, after all you don’t really want to pictured standing next to someone who later turns out to be a murdering tyrant…? So why not invite one of the world’s best known rock stars?

Never mind that Bono’s views are widely disputed by development economists, at least the missus can get her pic taken with him etc…

Anyway, there’s a reasonable take-down of Bono by George Monbiot today in The Guardian, spelling out how Bono is not necessarily helping. (Although Monbiot’s own Western-centric, anti-capitalist take on Africa is equally infuriating.)

Bono claims to be “representing the poorest and most vulnerable people“. But talking to a wide range of activists from both the poor and rich worlds since ONE published its article last week, I have heard the same complaint again and again: that Bono and others like him have seized the political space which might otherwise have been occupied by the Africans about whom they are talking. Because Bono is seen by world leaders as the representative of the poor, the poor are not invited to speak. This works very well for everyone – except them.

And with this new book out – The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power) – it looks like it is open season on Bono.


4 thoughts on “It’s time to end Bono

  1. I intensely dislike this personal ad hominem attack on someone. Why? How are you helping the world move along?

    So you don’t like his music – so what. What has that got to do with whether he is a force for good? Does he get out of bed in the morning thinking how he is going to screw a country over, like some of the murderous tyrants that you mention? No he doesn’t – or until you have a very, very good reason to think otherwise, then you should think the best of him.

    You write for the bloody Telegraph, for God’s sake. Spread a little cheer – don’t take people down who at the very least can be said to be trying.

  2. I hear that – then talk about that – attack his policies. by all means – but there’s no need or niceness in attacking the man himself – and it detracts from you as a man with his ear to the ground.

    1. Very decent of you to say so. Sometimes I’m just bitter. Joking aside, I guess the substantive argument is in George Monbiot’s piece and my commentary was really just a reflection of my continued irritation at the way Bono is able to dominate the debate over Africa. His view is only one of many and draws heavily on Jeffrey Sachs’s work, which is far from universally accepted. But because of his celebrity he can drown out other voices. Also, I don’t much care for his music

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