Bono: Political Sins and Ego of Celebrity

By Stanford Matthews
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BonoTonight’s (June 6, 2007) installment of Nightline on ABC could just make you crazy. Another celebrity preaching to the world how things should be as if we don’t know. Claiming his primary belief is the desire for equality and is the driving force behind his Africa campaign. Which raises the question of whose money is behind his generosity when attending the G8 conference and asking for African debts to be released? Where does the money come from that is loaned to countries around the world? Where does the World Bank get its money? Could it be from governments around the world? And where do those governments get their money? Could it come from their citizens? Bono is real generous with other people’s money. He has no problem telling the rest of the world what to do.

George Clooney, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Madonna and a host of others grab headlines from starting what appear to be humanitarian causes. But are they really? What purpose do they really serve? What oversight and accountability are provided to determine the results and insure that legitimate goals are being realized? Not that a ‘rock star’ cannot have the skills and resources available to contribute to worthwhile causes, but how do you know they deserve the credit afforded them by the media?

As an alternate example, with much less fanfare, Dikembe Mutombo of NBA fame donated about half of the $29 million for a hospital in Africa where he grew up. There was not this constant media blitz. There was no sanctimonious presentation and recurring interviews, rock concerts and charity photo ops like with Bono. It was real simple. He wanted to give back and did it with much of his own money and no crazy public relations stunts.

Bono, enough already, show a little class and give money to your favorite charity or pay for most of what you want to accomplish and stop the self-promotion. Many have come before you and done much of the work themselves. The problems are still not solved and it is unlikely your version of saving the world will fix it. You would have more credibility without always looking for the camera and acting like you’re doing us all a favor. It’s all hype.