|I hate approaching cash registers at grocery stores for two main reasons: they display everything that my kids are not supposed to have – candies, mini chocolate bars, bubble gums and some red/purple/florescent green drink – at their eye level. They also display tabloid junk at my eye level. I often have a pretty hard time trying to convince an imaginary observer that I am above tabloid (I am and I live by a self-imposed no-crappy magazines ban) although at times I get caught trying to read at least the title from the corner of my eyes and don't even hear the cashier mumbling "Plastic or paper?"
When I saw Vanity Fair's cover with Bono and Queen Rania with a big "Africa" on it, I bought the magazine without feeling guilty. The cover of the magazine is "one of 20 historic covers…" Bono is the "special issue guest-editor" on the part that talks about Africa. Apparently, there are only three African faces on the 20 covers. I think that was clever because how many Vanity Fair loyalist would recognize African activists? It's a celebrity-crazed world, so use celebrities liberally. That's what I would say.
My issue is with the inability to listen by the likes of Bono. I'm pretty sure that inability stems from some sort of arrogance. I admire what Bono does for Africa, don't get me wrong. He didn't have to do it (although the publicity that comes with love for Africa is not hurting either.) But his recent pissy comments are alarming to me. "Try telling Chancellor Merkel that the Marshal plan was a load of crap." The Marshal Plan was great for Germany, it pulled the country out of the pits and rebuilding was a piece of cake for Germany because it was already a developed country. Rebuilding is surely much easier than building from scratch (in this case.) Need I say more?
For decades now, a Marshal-Plan-look-alike called development aid has been fiddled with in Africa and there is very little to show for it. The few victories cannot be ignored, but while we're bracing ourselves for the next big development-bang, there are several opportunities that pass Africa by. Like participating in the global economy through open and fair trade. Thus, my argument is, the Marshal Plan is more than crap in the African contest.
Back to arrogance and not listening. Coming from humble starts (a concert for Africa), Bono is now Z authority on African development and getting-a-shut-up-and just-listen-to-me attitude about it. He's beginning to sound like a dictator now. I hope he's not going to start fabricating evidence like Bush to win his argument - by whatever means necessary.
I have a suggestion. Bono should do an honorary degree in development studies. I'll personally lobby the schools to sponsor his studies and arrange long-distance lessons. Trust me, his development-empire will come tumbling down, and he will learn to listen. I'll even start him off with the process of looking for a school. Here goes.
This has shuttered my development-world (even after working in development in Ethiopia for 7 years and I thought I knew everything there was to know). Cool interior which goes well with Bono's cool shades. Highly recommend it!!!!
Harvard Center for Population & Development Studies
Institute of Development Studies
UCLA International Development Studies
Watson's Development Studies
Labels: African devleopment, Bono, Development studies, Vanity Fair