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Jan Klimkowski
04-05-2010, 07:24 PM
The arrogance of Saint Bob

Geldof may feel he alone put poverty on the global agenda, but I stand by my comments in tomorrow's Starsuckers documentary

John Hilary guardian.co.uk, Monday 5 April 2010 14.13 BST Article history

Never one to mince his words, Sir Bob Geldof has launched his latest expletive-ridden broadside at the documentary Starsuckers, due to be broadcast tomorrow night on More 4.

In the film, Geldof is accused of undermining the Make Poverty History campaign's attempts to hold G8 leaders to account for the scandal of global poverty. By contrast, Saint Bob now claims that he alone should be credited with putting issues of world poverty on the political agenda, and not the millions of ordinary people who take action on such issues year on year.

I am one of the two senior executives from the Make Poverty History coalition interviewed in Starsuckers, and I understand that I am also named by Geldof in the letter of complaint he has sent to the film's director, Chris Atkins. Let me say from the outset that I stand by what I said in the film. Like many others, I believe that Geldof's involvement in the mobilisations around the G8 undid much of the good work that had been built up over a period of months by people up and down Britain, not to mention the years of campaigning undertaken on these issues by civil society groups across the world.

The Make Poverty History coalition of more than 100 campaign organisations, faith groups and trade unions was formed in recognition of the special opportunity offered by the UK hosting both the EU presidency and the G8 summit of world leaders in 2005. The coalition put together a manifesto that called for a new approach to global poverty based on justice, not charity. We spent months building nationwide support for political action to tackle issues of trade justice, corporate accountability and debt relief, in an attempt to move the debate on from focusing solely on overseas aid. Over the year, many millions of people joined in the campaign.

Although a number of celebrities gave their backing to Make Poverty History, Geldof was not involved with the campaign. News that he was planning a follow-up event to his 1985 Live Aid concerts was kept secret, and we only discovered late in the day that he had chosen to hold the event on the same date as the main Make Poverty History demonstration in Edinburgh had already been planned, just prior to the start of the G8 summit itself.

A quarter of a million people took to the streets of Edinburgh on Saturday 2 July, and tens of thousands stayed for the other events that took place in the lead-up to the G8 summit in Gleneagles the following Wednesday. As predicted, the celebrity-charged Live 8 concerts took away the great majority of the media coverage we had hoped to achieve for the Edinburgh demonstration and its political aims. While others criticised Geldof for failing to feature any African musicians at the main concert in Hyde Park, our main concern was that the challenge to the G8 was completely subsumed in the glitz and glamour of a pop event.

Worse was to come at the final press conference that concluded the G8 summit in Gleneagles. The South African activist Kumi Naidoo acted as spokesperson for Make Poverty History at the press conference, giving the coalition's verdict that: "The world has roared, but the G8 has responded with a whisper."

Geldof turned on Naidoo in front of the assembled media, attacking his statement as "a disgrace" and defending Tony Blair, George Bush and the other G8 leaders for saving millions of African lives. African civil society representatives who had travelled to Gleneagles for the summit went on television afterwards to make public statements dissociating themselves from Geldof's remarks.

The Make Poverty History campaign was not perfect, and many of us have been candid about its shortcomings. Yet Geldof's arrogance is simply in a different league. To suggest that he alone was responsible for creating a mass movement on global poverty is a direct insult to the millions of people around the world who have worked steadfastly for debt cancellation, trade justice, women's rights, workers' rights and environmental sustainability over decades

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/05/geldof-arrogance-poverty-agenda-starsuckers

Jan Klimkowski
04-05-2010, 07:25 PM
Bob Geldof condemns lame and ineffective anti-poverty campaigners

Singer pens letter to director of documentary that criticises his rock concert campaigns

The singer and activist Bob Geldof has launched an impassioned defence of his lifetime's charitable work, claiming he has used his fame to persuade world leaders to take global poverty seriously and mocking anti-poverty demonstrators as "wankers dressed as clowns".

His comments were penned in a 6,000-word letter to the director of a documentary that makes stinging and, Geldof believes, entirely unjustified criticisms of his rock concert campaigns.

In an attempt to persuade the director to retract the allegations from the film, which will be broadcast next week, Geldof wrote a meandering and at times emotional explanation of his work.

In the letter, seen by the Guardian, Geldof claimed to have had significant influence over world leaders, including Tony Blair, in the run-up to the 2005 G8 summit, and contrasted the achievements of his Live 8 campaign with the global coalition of anti-poverty campaigners, which he characterised as "a bit lame" and almost entirely ineffectual.

Claiming that "all that the combined lobbying might of the total NGO community" failed to ignite public opinion over global poverty, Geldof drew attention to the powerful impact of the Live 8 concerts, which were televised simultaneously to audiences around the world. "They are the vast billions watching," he said. "Brought together around the electric hearth of the TV or computer screen by the Pied Pipers of Rock 'n Roll."

He also defended his proximity to world leaders: "Like it or not the agents of change in our world are the politicians. Otherwise you're always outside the tent pissing in. They stay inside their tent pissing back out at you. This is futile. My solution is to get inside the tent and piss in there."

The film that appears to have angered Geldof is Starsuckers, a polemic against media and celebrity that will be broadcast on More 4 on Tuesday. A section of the documentary makes a string of allegations about singer-turned-campaigner.

They include the suggestion money raised from the 1985 Live Aid concerts to tackle famine in Ethiopia was mis-spent, leading to deaths, and criticism that the successor concerts two decades later, Live 8, overshadowed a mass movement of campaigners in the Make Poverty History coalition.

Geldof strenuously denies the allegations made in the film, and his lawyers have written to the film-makers, and are also in contact with Channel 4 and the regulator Ofcom over the broadcast. But Geldof is understood to have been so riled by what he considers the "untruthful and wrong" claims in the film that he wrote to its director, Chris Atkins.

A source close to Geldof said he was "not surprised" Atkins chose to ignore his request for the letter not to be made public. It contains a reference to some NGOs as "boring, futile and adolescent" and takes a swipe at the BBC, which Geldof said declined to show films about poverty produced by his friend, Richard Curtis. "Instead we had Jonathan Ross camping around in a yellow suit talking bollocks."

He vigorously defended the 1980s Band-Aid initiative to raise funds for starving Ethiopians, though acknowledged his difficulty in dealing with the country's brutal dictator, Mengistu.

"I approached him and berated him on his "re-settlement" policy. I told him it was mass murder. He simply stared at me. Luckily he decided not to shoot me. I don't believe I shirked my responsibilities."

Rather than contributing in any way to the deaths of "resettled" Ethiopians, as Starsuckers claims, Geldof said his campaign saved 500,000 lives and "helped halt a monstrous programme of murder".

He gives a more detailed description of Live 8, the string of benefit concerts inspired by the 1985 campaign.

"Richard [Curtis] and Bono came to me and said do another gig. I said you fucking do it if you're so eager. Bono said he'd play with McCartney and they'd open the gig with "It was 20 years ago today" – a reference to Live Aid. I wanted to see that. Precisely that rock n roll moment I wanted to see, so I said ok. That's why I did it. Pathetic but y'know …"

The decision to try to mobilise world opinion through concerts was justified, he said, because "the lingua franca of the planet is not English – it's pop music".

Fearing that Make Poverty History, a global coalition of development agencies, was failing to galvanise public opinion, he said he embarked on a publicity drive. It included "pretending" that millions of activists were headed to Edinburgh from the continent to "re-enact a sort of Dunkirk", he said.

Geldof also referred to his personal influence over Tony Blair in run-up to the summit, revealing he "put up" a journalist to ask the then prime minister whether he would adopt a radical set of benchmarks for tackling global poverty.

He said that Blair, fearing other leaders would not accept a deal of such "radical nature", was reluctant to agree to the proposals. "Having asked the question and Blair hesitating in a stumbling response I, who shared the platform with the PM and Gordon Brown, jumped in and said 'Yes he will. Won't you prime minister?' Everyone laughs and Blair says something like 'oh well if Bob says so I'd better.'"

In the end, Geldof said, the Live 8 campaign helped change the opinions of world leaders and constituted a landmark mass movement. "It finally brought the Live8ers and [Make Poverty History activists] into one stadium. (And James Brown was amazing!!) I had another plan as well, but Pope Benedict fucked it. But still, the G8 knew we were there."

The Starsuckers film alleges that Geldof exaggerated the impact of his campaign in the aftermath of the summit. Controversially, Geldof gave world leaders "ten out of ten" for their aid spending commitments and "8 out of ten" for their promises on debt relief. In his letter Geldof reiterated his assessment, but said, on reflection, G8 leaders deserved an upgrade on for their work on debt cancellation, and scored them "ten out of ten".

He contrasted the success of the Live 8 initiative with the efforts of anti-poverty demonstrators who "were never mentioned" at the summit, where they wielded "not a single shred of influence".

"The G8 has become a pointless ritual where the marchers and the wankers dressed as clowns (wow! Radical) get to throw stones at cops miles from the decision makers, who can't even hear them, and the cops get to crack some heads," he said, adding that he suspected other campaigners knew that his methods were simply more effective. "I can do rock n roll, they can do marching."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/apr/02/bob-geldof-anti-poverty-campaigners-starsuckers

Jan Klimkowski
04-05-2010, 07:33 PM
(Geldof) gives a more detailed description of Live 8, the string of benefit concerts inspired by the 1985 campaign.

"Richard [Curtis] and Bono came to me and said do another gig. I said you fucking do it if you're so eager. Bono said he'd play with McCartney and they'd open the gig with "It was 20 years ago today" – a reference to Live Aid. I wanted to see that. Precisely that rock n roll moment I wanted to see, so I said ok. That's why I did it. Pathetic but y'know …"


To use the only frame of reference that Geldof seems to understand: Bob, you're a self-obsessed wannabe A-List celebrity sellout.


The Starsuckers film alleges that Geldof exaggerated the impact of his campaign in the aftermath of the summit. Controversially, Geldof gave world leaders "ten out of ten" for their aid spending commitments and "8 out of ten" for their promises on debt relief. In his letter Geldof reiterated his assessment, but said, on reflection, G8 leaders deserved an upgrade on for their work on debt cancellation, and scored them "ten out of ten".

He contrasted the success of the Live 8 initiative with the efforts of anti-poverty demonstrators who "were never mentioned" at the summit, where they wielded "not a single shred of influence".

"The G8 has become a pointless ritual where the marchers and the wankers dressed as clowns (wow! Radical) get to throw stones at cops miles from the decision makers, who can't even hear them, and the cops get to crack some heads," he said, adding that he suspected other campaigners knew that his methods were simply more effective. "I can do rock n roll, they can do marching."

The wanker I see is Saint Bob busily deifying his "mates" Saint Tony, Saint George and the holy G8.

Geldof is a complete asshole.

Magda Hassan
04-06-2010, 05:42 AM
Agreed Jan and Sting is not far behind either.

Peter Presland
04-06-2010, 08:37 AM
Agreed Jan and Sting is not far behind either.
Ditto

Though I'd probably put Sting ahead by a whisker in the insufferably sanctimonious ego-trip stakes - and let's not forget Bono either.

Take a look at the attached picture.

That's our Mr Gordon Sumner sitting beside one Gulnara Karimova, daughter of the man whose security forces particular speciality in the torture stakes is immersion in boiling water, on his recent soiree to Uzbekistan.

This from Craig Murray: (http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/02/stings_defence.html)

Sting has come out with a spirited defence of his visit to Tashkent as the guest of Karimov's daughter:
'I supported wholeheartedly the cultural boycott of South Africa under the apartheid regime because it was a special case and specifically targeted the younger demographic of the ruling white middle class. 'I am well aware of the Uzbek president’s appalling reputation in the field of human rights as well as the environment. I made the decision to play there in spite of that.
'I have come to believe that cultural boycotts are not only pointless gestures, they are counter-productive, where proscribed states are further robbed of the open commerce of ideas and art and as a result become even more closed, paranoid and insular.
'I seriously doubt whether the President of Uzbekistan cares in the slightest whether artists like myself come to play in his
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1252566/Sting-plays-concert-daughter-boil-enemies-dictator.html
But this really is transparent bollocks. He did not take a guitar and jam around the parks of Tashkent. He got paid over a million pounds to play an event specifically designed to glorify a barbarous regime. Is the man completely mad?
Why does he think it was worth over a million quid to the regime to hear him warble a few notes?
I agree with him that cultural isolation does not help. I am often asked about the morality of going to Uzbekistan, and I always answer - go, mix with ordinary people, tell them about other ways of life, avoid state owned establishments and official tours. What Sting did was the opposite. To invoke Unicef as a cover, sat next to a woman who has made hundreds of millions from state forced child labour in the cotton fields, is pretty sick.

Magda Hassan
04-06-2010, 10:20 AM
What a sleeze. It's not as if he needs the money is it? And by lending his name to this criminal he gives them 'respectability' and loses his own in the process. I really hate all these sports 'stars' and pop tarts. I'd say they are nothing but a bunch of whores but I mean no disrespect to those earning an honest living in the sex industry.

Jan Klimkowski
04-06-2010, 05:43 PM
Which prompted a surreal vision of Sting having neverending tantric sex with one of Uzbekistan's native mountain billy goats whilst a screaming potty-mouthed Geldof is boiled alive by President Karimov's thugs, who declare it to be a genuine rock 'n roll moment.

On the red button, a red-faced Bill Clinton and a sickeningly grinning Tony Blair perform a version of the Police's lyrically challenged De do do do, de da da da, Is all I want to say to you which is even more unlistenable than the original...

All for charity of course.

All proceeds to the poor.

Tax deductible for higher rate tax payers. :listen: