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Old 03-15-2009, 01:19 AM   #1
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Bono, Andrew Mwenda, and TED talks...

Andrew Mwenda has a very different theory on Africa than Bono. and while I must say that I agree with Bono over Mwenda, it is interesting to watch both sides.

during Mwenda's TED talk, Bono at one point speaks up from in the crowd. (and while it is cut off in the video), apparntley Bono says:

"Bullocks! that's bullshit! Ireland grew from charity and government help to get out of the potato famine"



Here is Mwenda's speech (with Bono briefly cutting in about 1/3 through):



Here is Bono's speech:



Discuss:
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Old 03-15-2009, 02:38 AM   #2
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Bono is confronted with an intelligent, articulate, self-aware African with a different point of view to his and Bono's reaction is to rudely heckle and interrupt. I am very embarassed that this man Bono is representing Ireland on the world stage with bad language and heckling.

Sounds to me that Bono prefers his Africans to be seen and not heard.
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:02 AM   #3
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I see your point. I do think that Bono should have just kept his mouth shut.
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:14 AM   #4
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The thing is, I've seen many TED talks (there are tons of fabulous ones) and I've never seen anybody interrupting in this manner, hell I'm not sure I've seen anyone interrupt at all except with a super brief questions. They limit the talks pretty strictly to a short time period so that makes it even worse.

Bad form, IMO.
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Old 03-15-2009, 12:29 PM   #5
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Did I miss something? You all are talking about how Bono interrupted the speaker, but didn't the speaker ask the audience a question?
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Old 03-15-2009, 05:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BonoVoxSupastar View Post
Did I miss something? You all are talking about how Bono interrupted the speaker, but didn't the speaker ask the audience a question?
he did ask the audience a question. and I dont know if it was meant to be rhetorical but i dont think he was expecting anyone to be brave enough to answer. the thing is that bono used words like "bullshit" and some people said that he was trying "to act like a smart ass and upstage him" during a formal talk.

I dont think that what bono did was as bad as some people are saying but I agree he should have at least been quiet and have shared his opinion later instead of trying to spark a debate during someone's speaking time. However, i do understand the point that he was just "answering a question"
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Old 03-15-2009, 06:57 PM   #7
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I preferred Dennett ripping into Rick Warren
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Old 03-15-2009, 07:58 PM   #8
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I preferred Dennett ripping into Rick Warren
wow! yes great talk! I just watched it. I love ted talks... I feel so smart when I watch them lol
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:55 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by zooropop40 View Post
I see your point. I do think that Bono should have just kept his mouth shut.
I agree. Bono should have treated Mr. Mwenda with more respect.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BonoVoxSupastar View Post
Did I miss something? You all are talking about how Bono interrupted the speaker, but didn't the speaker ask the audience a question?

I missed it too.. at 5 min 50 seconds Andrew Mwenda leads into where Bono "interrupts". I researched this for a transcript and could not find one. I couldn't hear what Bono said.. it sounds like he starts with "yes, yes" but it certainly didn't seem like he was "heckling". I also could not find a video of his speech directly replying to Andrew Mwenda's speech. I did read on a blog that the there were a couple of hostile questions asked to Bono during his speech:

…My heart’s in Accra � Bono versus Mwenda

Same blogger reporting on Andrew Mwenda's speech:

…My heart’s in Accra � Getting rowdy with Andrew Mwenda

I do not understand the complaint that Bono was disrespectful in the context of what I could see/hear on the video.
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Old 03-16-2009, 03:39 PM   #11
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to me I agree with Bono's point 100%, but I think its the fact that he said "that's bullshit" during someone elses speech in a formal gathering- regardless that it was a response to a question. I think people found it somewhat innapropriate and would be better if he didnt try to debate during someone's speech...i guess bono is a bit braver that the average person.

It is vague in the video because it was obviously edited out.
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:48 PM   #12
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It wasn't clear that the video was edited and there is no transcript.. so it was hard to understand what happened. From what is left from the edit and finding what was written about what he said, it appears that Bono made a statement and didn't try to debate it.

Reading the blog on a recount of Bono's speech, it seems that he got a taste of his own medicine from a couple of people.. telling me that it all wasn't so innappropriate after all.
…My heart’s in Accra � Bono versus Mwenda

Quote:
Bono fields a couple of questions, two of them quite hostile. One notes, “a certain portrayal as Africans as unable to think, empty,” an accusation that clearly stings. Bono responds that he’s clearly done a poor job of showing his esteem for the continent, and notes, “I don’t think about Africans in any other way than I think about irish people.” A question from Derrick Ashong about how Africa can leverage its cultural patrimony gets a happier response: he notes that Irish culture isn’t a northern European culture, and that many traditional Irish melodies can be traced directly to Morocco - he illustrates with a short piece of song. “There’s a definite African heritage, a connection between Celtic and Coptic culture.” He leaves the stage to a standing ovation.
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Old 03-23-2009, 08:46 AM   #13
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Thanks Boston Anne!

Bono's heart is always in the right place. I don't think it is right to attack him for spending his time and pocket cash, for campaigning to help others in such desperate need. I think he feels so passionately about these issues, that it is impossible for him, to keep silent. And it may be hard for him, to sit through an entire speech and not comment.
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Old 03-23-2009, 08:52 AM   #14
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Then he has to learn to suspend himself. He could counter those points after that.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:08 AM   #15
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I agree. And I would have waited until, Mr. Mwenda was finish with his speech. Though, I was trying to give Bono some credit, that's all.
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Old 03-23-2009, 11:35 AM   #16
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Well, it didn't sound bad to me or my husband when we listened to the clip. Mwenda paused after asking the question and really seemed to be giving the audience the chance to respond. I can't speak about Bono's language however, because I couldn't hear what he said.
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Old 03-23-2009, 11:53 AM   #17
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Mwenda is my HERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bono is stuck with the Catholic point of view. The middle ages changed into the Renaissance not with alms for the poor but a emerging productive middle class. Mwenda is simply being scientific as opposed to emotional.

Plus Bono's argument about the potato famine is ridiculous. In fact the potato famine would be another example of the old ways not working. Entrenched interests and a partly feudal style economics of course don't work. I'll grant that aid provides a band-aid but hardly cures the problem. Without the ability to take advantage of opportunities Africans will always be asking for aid. Anyways, where does aid come from? Somebody has to be self-sufficent to provide aid.

The main focus would be to look at the institutions we take for granted in the West (democracy, private property rights, trade, banking system) that allow us the opportunity to increase wealth and include those institutions as a part of the solution in Africa. I think Bono's outburst is typical sign of debate when people have to shout down those who are winning in a debate. That's a good sign for Mwenda.

Diseases in farming can exist but with trade it's possible to offset crop destruction in one region to abundance in another. Relying on one crop is dangerous. The problem in Africa is not a lack of crops but the lack of incentive to develop them and to profit from that labour. I mean how can a farmer compete against free food? Too much corruption is the symptom of bad economics and prevents these needed institutions from being established. Africa badly needs a productive class. It makes me so angry that when some people in Africa finally "get it" and we have spoiled rich ignorant condescending rock stars thinking they are entitled to shout people down. Bono is too emotionally invested in a point of view and will have a hard time relinquishing to defeat because he's ego will be bruised.

Stand up to rock stars Mwenda! Be careful of small men with big ideas.
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Old 03-23-2009, 12:21 PM   #18
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We need more videos of this guy. I already get Bono's point of view inside and out. Thank God for the internet. It's harder to shut people up now.

Here's another non-celebrity that has good ideas:

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Old 03-23-2009, 01:10 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purpleoscar View Post
I'll grant that aid provides a band-aid but hardly cures the problem. Without the ability to take advantage of opportunities Africans will always be asking for aid. Anyways, where does aid come from? Somebody has to be self-sufficent to provide aid.

The main focus would be to look at the institutions we take for granted in the West (democracy, private property rights, trade, banking system) that allow us the opportunity to increase wealth and include those institutions as a part of the solution in Africa.

Oh the beauty of short sightedness...

If you admit aid provides a band-aid, then surely you know you need to apply the band-aid so that infection doesn't spread, if you aren't healthy then property rights, trade, and banks don't mean shit...

It always amazes me that you have the answer right there within your posts yet you still choose to ignore it.
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:50 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by BonoVoxSupastar View Post
It always amazes me that you have the answer right there within your posts yet you still choose to ignore it.
What I mean by band-aid is that it helps a targeted few out. It doesn't solve the problem. I want to solve the problem and property rights, trade, and a banking system is a long-sighted view not a short-sighted view. Things could actually get worse while aid increases. In fact it is because those institutions aren't there. My insight is to look at why we are wealthy and what allows us to be so. I mean where does the aid money come from? It comes from people who have jobs and work for a living. We need people to produce and not having the economic freedom we take for granted is a major disadvantage. Many countries have laws that are just there to make bureaucrats and lawyers lots of fees. Wiping out this red tape saves the public a lot of money and gives them investment opportunities. Countries like Zimbabwe have rapid inflation and coercive taxes that make it hard to start and keep a business. Government spending should be aimed at education and infrastructure. Monetary prudence and balanced budgets should be aimed at. When countries develop better markets they can create their own tax revenue for their own safety net. Until then our aid money gets wasted with corrupt officials as often as help a few out on a temporary basis. We've thrown more money at North Korea than in Africa (because of their military threats) and it didn't solve the problem though yes some people are still alive because of it. Yet the food that gets to people there comes via a black-market instead of it directly going to the starving. Throwing more money is hardly a lasting solution. Hand outs only make sense when there is a job waiting for you at the other end. What I'm trying to point out is that social programs can't exist without wealth being developed somewhere first. Wealth development is the key.

Most European governments have come to this conclusion very slowly. They worry that they can't continually fund their programs without some tax alleviation somewhere. The balance they have usually is high personal taxes with low corporate taxes. I think the balance is even better with lower spending, and lower taxes across the board. This though will have to include a change in culture that prizes individualism and self-reliance. That would mean people would have to exercise more, take less drugs, work 40 hours a week and save a portion of their income for emergencies and in the long run: retirement. The safety net would only be for those areas of infrastructure, health care and education where people can't afford the basics. Yet at some point health and education would have to have some competition somewhere or else there would be bad quality services. Bono emphasizes the Marshall Plan without looking at the cultures and infrastructures in place to benefit from the Marshall Plan. Despite the bombing in WWII Europe had lots of things in place to get them back on track like democracy, trade, private property rights and a banking system.

I think it's easier for people to just throw money at the problem than to deal with it directly. I mean, it's hard to remove dictators and create constitutions and to develop markets. It's hard to exercise more and to pay and earn an education. Most things worth doing are hard. Even if where I live decides to go more socialist I'll still save money and do the right behaviours regardless.
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