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…Actually, 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.