Paul Theroux can’t see beyond the hat
Wow. this guy has obviously never done his research. Bono has never once advocated throwing money at the problem. He rails aginst those who ease the burden of corrupt governments through simple charity, he has said that accountability is the requirement, and those who refuse to be accountable get nothing. He’s a business man and wants to see a tangible return, end of story. The guy who wrote this obviously doesn’t know this, and i suspect their will be many letters to the editor next week saying what i am now saying. I could pull up a million quotes from interviews where he says this, and provides complex reasons why the previous method of addressing the needs of Africa has failed.
On a personal basis, he and his wife have set up a clothing company that makes some of its clothes in africa, and some of its clothes in europe. This is a tangible business venture, not a charity, and provides well paid employment and the beginings of an industrial base that are badly needed. He expects top quality from his african factories, or he will pull the plug. He is not in the business to make a ‘crap’ product, he expects top quality and a profit, and he’s said this. He’s said that he is not in the charity business a million times.
He also rallies for europen and western farm subsides to be lifted, so african farmers can compete and get their goods into the global marketplace. The problem for africa is that the global economic structure (trade rules, western subsidies, WTO rulings etc) has made a playing field that for Africa(even those countries that are well governed, like Tanzina) that isnt even close to being level. It is for these things he strives. Africa is barely able to enter the global economic system. More american companies should invest in Africa like they did in ireland, and have the strictest rules for investing and accountability. If the irish government wasnt accountable, then america would never have invested in ireland the way it has. In his campaign for debt relief, all african countires are not automatically granted this easing, they must fulfill a strict list of requirements built along a chain of measureable accountability, and if they don’t, fuck em, they get nothing, is his view.
He’s no bleeding libereal soft hearted dude. He will say time and time again that he is not in the charity business, and is disgusted by it, as it solves nothing. The africans he deals with are the ones who want to get shit done, and who are serious about it. He has no time for the corruption.
As for him being white, well, i’ve always wondered why its only white people that seem to work on these things for Africa. I always ask myself, where are the wealthy blacks doing their bit, or the middle class blacks, or the Africans that have left, why dont they go back and build up their countries? I’m often disgusted when i read in the globe and mail that it is really hard for doctors from 3rd world countries to get their liscense in canada, and that these doctors want it to be easier…Canada should not allow doctors or other vital professionals to move to our country, i have always felt this. It is a disgrace that we allow them to come here, while africa and india and other such places are starved of their expertiese.
As for bill gates and his computers, well, he wants to distribute 100 dollar wind up computers to schools in Africa. If the schools want them, and can get them for free from bill, then why not. Mr. theroux has obviously done little research, and only glossed over the bono headlines, which in themselves are often misleading. The bigger they are , the more suseptible they are to attack, especially superficial and fact weak arguments such as Mr. Theroux’s.
“ I am speaking of the “more money” platform: the notion that what Africa needs is more prestige projects, volunteer labor and debt relief. We should know better by now. I would not send private money to a charity, or foreign aid to a government, unless every dollar was accounted for – and this never happens. Dumping more money in the same old way is not only wasteful, but stupid and harmful; it is also ignoring some obvious points.”
….hmmm…he must have taken those words right from bono’s lips, becuase that’s what he says constantly….i can’t wait to read the letters to the editor next week, Mr. theroux is gonna look like a doofus for having his head up his ass and not doing a flake of research!!…..if you watch the bono’s German media award speech, he infact lays all this out rather well, and says many times in it that he is not a fan of charity…i recomed you watch the full 35minutes of it….bono begins his speech, i think, at the 30th minute…he really lays it his motives here in a superb fashion.
By the way, i read theroux’s mosquito coast when i was ten, and it’s a great book, but his views have ruined the pleasure that that book once gave me. Mr. Theroux, you are an arm chair cynic of the highest breed, if more people like bono (and thankfully to bono many more are rising to the challenge) rose up to structurally change the way the west does business with Africa, then this crisis would be solved expediently. I suggest, again, that you watch his speech at 31 minutes here:
You should send your comments to the editor yourself instead of waiting to see what others say. You don’t know that someone will actually respond the way you have. It would be a shame if you don’t send your thoughts and then no one else (on the right side!) does either!
phew. pretty hard to argue with theroux there.
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