Ebola. #E30la. E-Bob-la. And ‘Celebrity’ Tax Dodgers…

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So, ‘Saint’ Bob Geldof is at it again. Many say his motives in getting his latest gang of ill-informed celebrity do-gooders to rework one of the worst songs of all time is well-intentioned – and may even help the situation. I’m not buying in to the hype. Sorry, Bob. Well, no I’m not, actually. Here’s why.

It’s clear St Bob doesn’t have a clue how Ebola spreads: his statement “it could arrive here on a plane any time… it could be a British mum, a British child” is quite simply nonsense and smacks of inciting hysteria to sell records. See previous posts to understand why this statement is just Utter, Utter Bollocks (µ²B).

e30laNo matter how worthy the cause St Bob’s ill-informed comments are beyond crass – even by his low standards. It is clear he knows neither the microbiology nor the context of the situation in what is a tiny part of West Africa – but I suspect this reflects St Bob’s 30-year lack of understanding of Africa generally. He didn’t understand it in 1985 – when the Ethiopian government was spending nearly half of its gross domestic product on the military and stopping aid getting to rebel areas by either leaving shipments to rot – or disbursing them based on political objectives rather than need. This was a bit too complicated for St Bob, he said the famine was due to the weather!! Simple!

“Do they know it’s Christmas?” Yes, Bob, I think they probably did: Africa has nigh-on 500 million Christians and Christianity was in Ethiopia long before it came to Ireland or the UK. And while the original Band Aid raised a lot of money what it inadvertently did was assist a tyrannical and despotic government ‘resettle’ its people, killing them faster than the famine ever did. Today the Ethiopian regime remains a huge recipient of foreign aid yet continues to torture, rape, jail and kill its citizens.

Back to the song. Let’s not forget “where nothing ever grows, no rain nor rivers flow” – an astonishingly misleading and monolithically uninformed portrayal of a continent of 54 hugely diverse nations – and an image which continues to perpetuate stereotypes of not just an entire continent but also feeds the ‘white saviour’ myth.

It’s interesting to note not just the lack of African artists in the re-recording but also that the likes of Geldof and Bono have no moral conflict in using tax avoidance schemes to keep themselves rich, while lecturing and hectoring the rest of us to give money. This is all the more hypocritical given capital flight remains such an enormous issue in Africa and when St Bob was posed this very question in a Sky TV interview his reaction was “it’s just bollocks” – which he repeated until the interview was terminated due to his profanity. Answer the fucking question, Bob, it’s a legitimate one.

And don’t get me started on the graphic suggesting Ebola is affecting all of Africa or that stars, slogans and stunts will solve complex political problems or that a Twitter hashtag conflating Ebola with the 30th anniversary of a toe-curlingly patronising song will solve epidemics, poverty and probably even bring back schoolgirls kidnapped and raped by jihadis. How about the super-rich like you paying all your taxes, Bob, rather than posing as saviours of Africa while telling the rest if us we should contribute more?

But what really pisses me off, Bob, is that there are incredibly dedicated people who are putting themselves in harm’s way to fight this epidemic – and that you and your mendacious, tax-avoiding, publicity-seeking acolytes want to take the credit.

For St Bob it’s a win-win. If the epidemic is controlled it’s due to St Bob’s divine intervention. If it remains endemic in West Africa it’s because the rest of us didn’t do his bidding and give more cash to feed his ego

Rant over. For now…

[Clinical Note: Recto Fossa has now been given his Largactil and Lithium Smoothie. Normal service and rants about microbiology rather than politics will resume once Recto Fossa has been revived from the therapeutic barb coma that has been induced for his own protection. – Matron (formerly Nurse) Mildred Ratched]

 

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