Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Stop helping Africa

Good intentions make bad policy, Africans tell Bono.

After his impassioned defense of aid, an African man in the audience asked Bono, "Where do you place the African person as a thinker, a creator of wealth?"


Celebrities make easy targets. Many at TED attacked Bono (ironically the catalyst for holding a conference in Africa in the first place) less for what he has done and more for what he represents. He has done more for raising Africa’s profile and our awareness about debt relief, unequal trade, malaria and HIV/AIDS than perhaps any human being in history. He represents a game we have all played for nearly fifty years whose only winners have been corrupt governments and the international development industry.


Visibly wounded by the question, confused how anyone could misinterpret his good intentions, Bono, like the proverbial white man with black friends, set out to prove how down he is with the black man.


Africans are the "most regal people on earth" and music is their DNA, he told the room of mostly doctors, engineers, and businessmen. He then began singing a traditional Irish dirge to show us how Celtic music has Coptic roots, and so is fundamentally African. I wasn’t the only one giggling in the back row.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip: Acton’s Kevin Schmiesing.

Discussions - 2 Comments

Simply a devastating question. The silence that followed must have been very uncomfortable, if not unnerving. An entire superstructure of misguided "aid" upended in a few thoughtful words. The human spirit remains unvanquished. Hope lives.

Actually, the answer might have been truly devastating to the asker of the question. Maybe Bono should have answered it instead of singing a song.

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