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Old 07-12-2007, 09:22 AM   #31
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Originally posted by Jamila
He must not have read about Kenya's economic growth or Chinese investment in Africa or the Touareg music festival in Mali.
I happened upon the Vanity Fair issue when I was visiting a friend and stumbled across the article about the Festival du Desert in Mali. Nothing could have pleased me more but to see a huge picture of my friend Habib Koite splashed across the article. When I lived in Mali, I knew these people. I used to go dancing at the Hogon while Toumani Diabate played (just like in the article), and I met the organizer of the desert festival on many occasions. My friends and I would go out with Habib and other musicians after a show and stay up till three in the morning talking about life, culture, religion and politics. Reading the article brought back so many great memories not only of Mali but of the amazing resilience of the people who live there. There is a music scene that thrives completely outside the sphere of Clear Channel and Billboard. People in remote villages listen to local radio stations (often broadcast from their own village with local DJs) and do their chores to the strains of Oumou Sangare and Omar Koita. I've had conversations with complete strangers on the bus in Bamako in which they'll say, "we may be poor in money, but we're rich in culture." And they're right.

As for the festival itself, it has brought a lot of money into one of the poorest and bleakest parts of Mali and introduced a lot of people from outside Africa to amazing music they would not otherwise hear. Every year, a lot of money comes into the local economy from tourism and a lot of it is driven directly from this event. (I used to work as an advisor to the Ministry of Tourism when I lived there.) So while the economic situation is bad and while Malian cotton farmers continue to languish in debt because of subsidies to rich Western farmers that keep the price of cotton below the market value, there are still some bright spots. And I was very happy that this article showed us that. There are so many facets to the problem of poverty and therefore many facets to any "solution" that one might propose. In my experience on the ground, any solutions will likely be a mix of aid, investment, development of local infrastructure, education, and above all, a level playing field on the world market. Anyone who thinks that imposing a market economy and then just letting the "invisible hand" work it all out needs to get out and see things for themselves. It's never as simple as you'd like it to be.

That's just my opinion, for what it's worth.
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Old 07-12-2007, 11:52 AM   #32
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Originally posted by shart1780
Because I felt like expressing my view of it. Is that a problem? So you know someone who did something with Bono one time. Bono isn't a demi-god or anything. I don't trust him, or anyone else, solely because they spent years studying.
Well, there are many interviews with Bono, he has met almost every top-politician of the industrialised and the African countries, his wife opened up a business in Africa, he has co-founded organisation such as One or DATA, he is well respected among most experts, he has learned his stuff from Jeffrey Sachs, one of the world's most renowned economists (wait until I've got my degree ), he has started campaigning in the 1990's for debt relief where he managed to get his message across in Washington and Europe, and so on, and so on.
If you wanted to know about Bono's actual knowledge about this topic, just check out some interviews he's given on that subject. You'll realize that he doesn't answer real tough questions just sketchy, but with a tremendous background knowledge of about every country, its development since liberation, and its leaders...

He isn't a demi-god, that's right, but he is a regular visitor of African nations, and does his amount of research to know some more about the issue than someone solely reading in books or the newspaper about it.
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Old 07-12-2007, 09:25 PM   #33
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Originally posted by last unicorn




Thank you Jamila! Good for Bobby to react that quickly to the LA Times article.


You're very welcomed, last unicorn.
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Old 07-13-2007, 09:14 AM   #34
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not to you but to the journalist who wrote that crap article
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Old 07-13-2007, 09:47 AM   #35
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Originally posted by sulawesigirl4


I happened upon the Vanity Fair issue when I was visiting a friend and stumbled across the article about the Festival du Desert in Mali. Nothing could have pleased me more but to see a huge picture of my friend Habib Koite splashed across the article. When I lived in Mali, I knew these people. I used to go dancing at the Hogon while Toumani Diabate played (just like in the article), and I met the organizer of the desert festival on many occasions.
I thought of you when I read this, so it was especially nice for me to read your post.
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Old 07-13-2007, 10:45 PM   #36
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


Then who exactly would you use as a source on the subject?
Someone who's views lined up most with mine after I did some research on the subject myself. Bono hasn't done more research than anyone on this planet, I can guarentee that. I think it's silly to think Bono is somehow the leading source of knowledge on the subject. I'm not gonna take his word for it just because he's Bono.
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Old 07-13-2007, 11:17 PM   #37
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Originally posted by shart1780


Someone who's views lined up most with mine after I did some research on the subject myself.
That's kind of a backwards logic don't you think? Shouldn't one be objective when researching a subject?

Quote:
Originally posted by shart1780

Bono hasn't done more research than anyone on this planet, I can guarentee that. I think it's silly to think Bono is somehow the leading source of knowledge on the subject. I'm not gonna take his word for it just because he's Bono.
No one claimed that he's the utmost expert. But you said you don't trust anyone "soley because they've spent years studying". Then who exactly would you trust? Do they have to have a set amount of years and conservative background for you to trust them? That statement just doesn't make any sense.

I agree we should never just take anyone's word, but this isn't some shmoe off the street that just decided to take up a cause.

Are you going to take someone's word who's been there once and studying econmics for 6 months over Bono, just because it is in line with your views? And your views are what? How much research have you done?
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Old 07-14-2007, 11:28 AM   #38
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No, Bono may not be the ultimate expert on anything, as he is saying himself, he is still learning more about the issue and never stops studying. But I think it's quite obvious that he has in fact done more research on this issue than most other people, he knows the right people, he has the connections, he is - as acknowledged by many renowned experts - indeed very knowledgeable on this issue. People who have worked with him or got to know him through his activism say that his mind is almost always focused on Africa and that he's doing a lot of background work, most of which is not known to the public. His "public" work that is shown in the media is just a part of his overall efforts for Africa. I think it's just not fair and shows no respect for the man to say that he is simply talking about these issues without having done enough research. And I am not saying that because he's Bono, but because I have learned so much about him and his work and heard so much about it from other people.
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Old 07-14-2007, 12:25 PM   #39
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Originally posted by BostonAnne
I thought of you when I read this, so it was especially nice for me to read your post.
Thank you for thinking of me and for the feedback. I was totally surprised and heart-warmed to read the article and I couldn't help but wish that my time in Mali had been just a little longer so that I could have made it to that particular event. When I was reading the article and nodding my head as to where the author was going and who he was meeting, I kept thinking that I would have loved to have been there to help out as a guide/translator. "Hello, Mr. Blackwell, but I think you should know that I'm here indirectly because of you. You signed this little band called U2, and then I was inspired by a guy called Bono to get off my ass and go to Africa and see if I couldn't help out at least a tiny bit." Oh well. I missed Bono's visit to Mali too by just a few months. Story of my life I guess. lol.

I must admit that it's a little amusing to watch people fight over who knows more about a place that pretty much none of them have ever even visited let alone know anything about. lol. Ah well. It's always easier to find "proof" to back up whatever notion one already believes in and much safer than having to engage in critical thinking. I'll say one thing for sure, I don't think anyone can go to Africa and not have their perspectives on a lot of things radically changed and in ways that would surprise you.
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Old 07-14-2007, 04:40 PM   #40
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I'll say one thing for sure, I don't think anyone can go to Africa and not have their perspectives on a lot of things radically changed and in ways that would surprise you.
I did not go there for as long as you nor was I as involved as you, but I agree with this 100%. It's not even so much that being in Africa changes things, but when you can sit down and have conversations with the people that all this "research" and "proof" is about, it totally changes your perspective. When you can stay in their homes and work along side of them as equals, even for just a month, everything changes, and changes in ways you don't expect (for example, my experience there certainly did not make me feel more sorry for people, it taught me that doing things because I feel sorry for people isn't really fair to them at all because deep down, you're only doing it to mask your own guilt and feel better about yourself). I think that I have a far more optimistic perspective on what Africa can do for itself now than before I went. The savior complex of the West is pretty embarrassing.
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Old 07-14-2007, 09:29 PM   #41
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not to you but to the journalist who wrote that crap article

I feel the same way about negativists like Easterly, my friend.


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Old 07-16-2007, 03:08 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
Nothing could have pleased me more but to see a huge picture of my friend Habib Koite splashed across the article. When I lived in Mali, I knew these people. I used to go dancing at the Hogon while Toumani Diabate played (just like in the article), and I met the organizer of the desert festival on many occasions. My friends and I would go out with Habib and other musicians after a show and stay up till three in the morning talking about life, culture, religion and politics.
Wow, awesome! I've got all four of his CDs, listen to them all the time. That must really be exciting to watch a friend's career explode in real time like that.
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:37 AM   #43
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Here is a statement by Bono that went largely unnoticed last week by the media, and by most of us. (but not me - smile)


It is here in this article:


http://www.whiteband.org/media/press...07.5527831609/


Have a beautiful day, everyONE - don't let it get away!





SINGER STANDS WITH GCAP AS MILLIONS MARK MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS MID-POINT



July 7th 2007 - Anti-poverty campaigners are today holding hundreds of events in more than 40 countries today to mark the midway point for the UN Millennium Development Goals and to hold their governments accountable. Under the umbrella of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), the July 7th events draw attention to the inexcusable pace of progress by governments to meet these goals and also highlight the growing threat of climate change on the poor and marginalised (details below)



Expressing his support for the GCAP events taking place in poor and rich countries today, U2 singer and co-founder of DATA, BONO said:

"The G8 countries in particular have been strolling towards the MDGs as though there is all the time in the world - but the poorest people don't have all the time in the world. Every day that passes means more mothers are losing their children to malaria, a mosquito bite, or diarrhoea, an upset stomach. This is madness. In Europe and America we give aid, but not enough, and we trade, but only on our own terms. At the start of the 21st century, governments in the north and south promised to end the injustice of extreme, stupid poverty. We will be watching every minute through to 2015 and will hold the politicians to account.”



Meanwhile in developing countries, where millions continue to live in inexcusable conditions, people are holding their leaders accountable and demanding better governance, pro-poor trade, more and better aid and debt cancellation. Campaigners in countries like Benin, El Salvador, India, Ghana, DR. Congo, Indonesia and Sri Lanka have joined forces through rallies, petitions, debates and cultural events with Australia, Georgia, Austria, Spain, Portugal and South Africa to make this joint appeal. All actions around the world with pictures are posted on www.whiteband.org



To reflect on the growing threat of climate change on the poor in particular and demand action, GCAP Chair, Kumi Naidoo, will today take the stage during the LIVE EARTH concert in Johannesburg to address the local and international audience.
"Climate change risks undermining efforts to alleviate poverty and meet the MDGs. If unhalted, it will cause more people go hungry, more to suffer and die from illness due to lack of access to clean water. Governments must address the problem now, it is a simple matter of political will."



GCAP campaigners will continue to exert their pressure on governments throughout 2007. On October 17th they will act jointly with the UN Millennium Campaign to take part in Stand Up & Speak out activities registering millions via www.standagainstpoverty.org



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Old 07-16-2007, 11:30 AM   #44
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And here's another one with a more negative tone towards Bono - I have to say, I don't know if the article is criticizing Bono or just the way the media portrays him, because he's never put on war paint or starved himself. I do think, as with the original article in this thread, that we need to be aware of what effects Western images of Africa have in the broader political and cultural fields both in the West and in Africa, and we need to be critical of what the media (and possibly celebrities) shows us.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...r=emailarticle

Quote:
Stop Trying To 'Save' Africa

By Uzodinma Iweala
Sunday, July 15, 2007; B07

Last fall, shortly after I returned from Nigeria, I was accosted by a perky blond college student whose blue eyes seemed to match the "African" beads around her wrists.

"Save Darfur!" she shouted from behind a table covered with pamphlets urging students to TAKE ACTION NOW! STOP GENOCIDE IN DARFUR!

My aversion to college kids jumping onto fashionable social causes nearly caused me to walk on, but her next shout stopped me.

"Don't you want to help us save Africa?" she yelled.

It seems that these days, wracked by guilt at the humanitarian crisis it has created in the Middle East, the West has turned to Africa for redemption. Idealistic college students, celebrities such as Bob Geldof and politicians such as Tony Blair have all made bringing light to the dark continent their mission. They fly in for internships and fact-finding missions or to pick out children to adopt in much the same way my friends and I in New York take the subway to the pound to adopt stray dogs.

This is the West's new image of itself: a sexy, politically active generation whose preferred means of spreading the word are magazine spreads with celebrities pictured in the foreground, forlorn Africans in the back. Never mind that the stars sent to bring succor to the natives often are, willingly, as emaciated as those they want to help.

Perhaps most interesting is the language used to describe the Africa being saved. For example, the Keep a Child Alive/" I am African" ad campaign features portraits of primarily white, Western celebrities with painted "tribal markings" on their faces above "I AM AFRICAN" in bold letters. Below, smaller print says, "help us stop the dying."

Such campaigns, however well intentioned, promote the stereotype of Africa as a black hole of disease and death. News reports constantly focus on the continent's corrupt leaders, warlords, "tribal" conflicts, child laborers, and women disfigured by abuse and genital mutilation. These descriptions run under headlines like "Can Bono Save Africa?" or "Will Brangelina Save Africa?" The relationship between the West and Africa is no longer based on openly racist beliefs, but such articles are reminiscent of reports from the heyday of European colonialism, when missionaries were sent to Africa to introduce us to education, Jesus Christ and "civilization."

There is no African, myself included, who does not appreciate the help of the wider world, but we do question whether aid is genuine or given in the spirit of affirming one's cultural superiority. My mood is dampened every time I attend a benefit whose host runs through a litany of African disasters before presenting a (usually) wealthy, white person, who often proceeds to list the things he or she has done for the poor, starving Africans. Every time a well-meaning college student speaks of villagers dancing because they were so grateful for her help, I cringe. Every time a Hollywood director shoots a film about Africa that features a Western protagonist, I shake my head -- because Africans, real people though we may be, are used as props in the West's fantasy of itself. And not only do such depictions tend to ignore the West's prominent role in creating many of the unfortunate situations on the continent, they also ignore the incredible work Africans have done and continue to do to fix those problems.

Why do the media frequently refer to African countries as having been "granted independence from their colonial masters," as opposed to having fought and shed blood for their freedom? Why do Angelina Jolie and Bono receive overwhelming attention for their work in Africa while Nwankwo Kanu or Dikembe Mutombo, Africans both, are hardly ever mentioned? How is it that a former mid-level U.S. diplomat receives more attention for his cowboy antics in Sudan than do the numerous African Union countries that have sent food and troops and spent countless hours trying to negotiate a settlement among all parties in that crisis?

Two years ago I worked in a camp for internally displaced people in Nigeria, survivors of an uprising that killed about 1,000 people and displaced 200,000. True to form, the Western media reported on the violence but not on the humanitarian work the state and local governments -- without much international help -- did for the survivors. Social workers spent their time and in many cases their own salaries to care for their compatriots. These are the people saving Africa, and others like them across the continent get no credit for their work.

Last month the Group of Eight industrialized nations and a host of celebrities met in Germany to discuss, among other things, how to save Africa. Before the next such summit, I hope people will realize Africa doesn't want to be saved. Africa wants the world to acknowledge that through fair partnerships with other members of the global community, we ourselves are capable of unprecedented growth.

Uzodinma Iweala is the author of "Beasts of No Nation," a novel about child soldiers.
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Old 07-16-2007, 12:03 PM   #45
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I do not read any particular 'negative' tone against Bono or even Angelina Jolie, the article seems to be more based around the media again concentrating on the bad rather than the good.

I can understand where she is coming from, for sure.
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