By Patrick Brogan
A certain former member of The Boomtown Rats will be handed an Irish Post Lifetime Achievement Award this coming Thursday. This is not the first time he was been in the news this week in regards to honours. Dublin’s own Bob Geldof handed back his freedom of the city saying he did not want to be associated with an award that honoured Aung San Suu Kyi. The musician desribed her as a “handmaiden to genocide” and said he wanted nothing to do with her. The Myanmar state counsellor, she is forbidden to be president has she has two children that are foreign nationals, was given the honour back in 1999 when she was still under house arrest. She came to Dublin over a decade later to receive the award in person.
Regulars of this site will be familiar with the situation in Myanmar and the genocide of the Rohingya people, if not here is an article we did on the situation in Rakhine a few months back. Indeed, it is not just Geldof that is critical of her. Many human rights watchdogs are disgusted with her lack of action to prevent the unfair treatment of the Rohingya and there have also been calls for her to be stripped of her Nobel Peace Prize.
It wasn’t always this way, though. For many years, Suu Kyi was the celebrity cause, now she is the cause célèbre. Many celebrity activists promoted her release from prison. None seemed to consider what would happen when she got out. And it turns out she is as bad if not worse than the people that oppressed her. This seems to be a theme with such publicised moral spurs, they are ill advised and not thought out.
Not so long ago I was at a U2 gig here in Dublin and there was a couple beside me and they had these face masks and I could not see what was on the front of them. When a certain song came on, I can’t recall which, a picture of Aung San Suu Kyi came up on the screen and the couple, along with thousands of others, put on similar masks bearing her face. U2 had always championed her release from prison which is fair enough, but they never voiced any concerns about what would happen if she was elected.
Perhaps this is unfair, how could Bono see into the future? But, other people have voiced their concerns over his behaviour and that of his charity. Articles have been written about what some describe as his hypocritical behaviour when it comes to his ONE Campaign which concentrates mainly on African issues. A really interesting article was recently published in New York Post. He also has ties to the Clinton Foundation, which many have claimed is corrupt.
However, it was that other member of the ONE Campaign, Geldof, that was in the news this week. He has questioned the nature of the Freedom of the City of Dublin Award, but has he questioned his other honours? He received a KBE and became a member of the British Empire, or more specifically he became a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Does he not question this? I don’t want to beat an anti-British drum but the British Empire was founded on blood. He goes on about about Aung San Suu Kyi’s role in genocide but the British Empire also has a history of genocide in Australia, North America, it can even be argued in his native Ireland, basically anywhere they went really.
The argument could be made this is ancient history, but the Falklands War was shortly over when he was knighted and since there has been the unjust war in Iraq, created with lies for oil. Millions killed and displaced. Does he hold a knighthood so highly? An honour received by people who helped carry out war and genocide on behalf of Britain and notorious paedophile Jimmy Savile. Is he okay with this company? He can’t even be called Sir officially because he is not a citizen of the “commonwealth”. It smacks of a need to be excepted by the establishment.
Many of these celebrity charity campaigners are misguided and thus dangerous. They are the worst kind of chugger. They will ask you for money, but for a cause they don’t fully understand. How do they pick what are worthy causes? Many seem to follow a course of social engineering, whether it is unwittingly or not. Hey look at this issue me and all the other cool celebrities support, you should, too.
And this is the problem. Many of these people have found success in a grossly unfair system and they will never criticise it and continue to fully endorse it. These people will never question the role of the real causes of all these problems because they have all gained from it, so it must be good.
The real issues facing the world all stem from the same source; greed. Greed from corporations destroying human rights for profit, the greed of the politicians to maintain power, the greed of the military-industrial complex to seize resources and the greed of the elite to keep their lofty positions at the expense of humanity.
When Geldof and Bono come out and criticise the Clintons and Bill Gates and the IMF rather than fraternise with them then maybe we could take them seriously.
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