While in Auckland, New Zealand, Dr. Loretta Napoleoni, an expert on terrorism was a guest at the Writers & Readers Festival. She is known for writing two books called “Terror Inc: Tracing the Money Behind Global Terrorism” and “Insurgent Iraq: Al-Zarqawi and the New Generation.”
Recently, Napoleoni had written a new book called “Rogue Economics.” This one talks about the warring and economic situation within Africa. While hundreds of billions of dollars is raised by the international community, it does not make it into the hands of the economies that need that boost. Ironically, the money comes from the United Nations and donations from various charities. She implied that such efforts ended up having the opposite effect on Africa. What was considered to help Africa, only put the continent in further turmoil.
She criticized celebrities such as Bono of U2 and Bob Geldof of actually funding the warring that plagues Africa.
Bono has been known to advocate the cause of trying to get Africa out of its debt. One notable event would be the Live 8 Concert back in 2005. Bono organized Live 8 in preparation of the 2005 G8 Summit which would take place in the UK. That G8 Summit was in Scotland and was headed by then British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Geldof organized the Live Aid for Ethiopia. But, he is the founder of the Live Aid and Live 8 events.
Instead of helping, Bono and Geldof inadvertently made things worse. Those events had only fueled further warring. Napoleoni explains that instead of the money being used to buy weapons to be used for combat. To her, people like Bono and Geldof made the situation in Africa worse.
“The money has ended up making Africa poorer and more violent because the money has been diverted towards warlords, weapons and armed invasions,” she explains. Napoleoni said that the problem is corruption.
She had even compared it to what is going on in Burma. Recently, Burma was hit by Cyclone Nargis which has killed thousands of people. Many more are at risk of dying by various waterborne diseases. While the aid has come through, Burma’s junta has seized it.
There are many people in the country that need the aid and medicine. Recently, Burma continued its rice exports. While the people of Burma need it more, the government exported it.
Napoleoni did say that Bono and Geldof had good intentions. But, she said they were manipulated. However, Napoleoni blasted all sorts of celebrities for being hypocrites. She said that Bono along with the other members of U2 were branded as tax-evaders.
However, she did not only blast U2. She blasted Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Napoleoni explains, while Pitt and Jolie are advocating causes, are in a sense hypocrites. In that respect, she said that while Pitt drives a gas and electric hybrid vehicle, he and Jolie use a private jet.
In short, she said that celebrities while they have good intentions end make matters much worse.
Also in a sheer twist of irony, China is starting to have quite the influence in Africa. At the same time, China is an ally of Burma. Darfur and Burma are two issues that loom over China in what can be a PR nightmare as it hosts the 2008 Summer Olympics this coming August.