Monday, November 27, 2006

Bono and Making Poverty History

I've been thinking a lot about Bono, and his popularity, and particularly his involvement witht he MPH and other related campaigns.

I've heard a lot of people talk about how he's a prophet of our generation, which I do agree with in mnay ways, and the difference he's making by using his popularity as a rock star to speak to world leaders-great, and all sorts of other great stuff. I also notice that a lot of Christians are getting behind him and his message, which I reckon is great, but is also in a way, a soft option.

See Bono and the whole MPH movement make no sort of argument whatsoever about what we should be doing with our own personal money, about looking at our own spending and lifestyles. Their main deal is campaigning and petitioning Governments to increase their aid spending, which I'm totally behind, cos I believe that will be the way in which long-term, massive change will take place.

Because as important as it is, me and you sponsoring a child is not going to end extreme poverty. My donations I send off to TEAR or World Vision or whoever will help people, but won't stop 30 000 kids dying a day. So for that reason i'm all for getting stuck into out Government about living up to their promises to spend 70 cents in every 10 dollars of our national economy on global world aid.

But as a Christian response, thats far from enough. See by campaigning and shaking our fists at Government, we feel as if we've alleviated ourselves of any sense of duty or having to play a part in dealing with extreme poverty. By wearing a band or T-shirt, or going to the concert, or signing a petition (all of which i've done by the way) we think we've done our part, which is bullshit.

As i said, me and you donating money won't end extreme poverty for everybody, but it will for somebody. And the Gospel is that we have to care for that somebody.

The Gospel is that it will make a difference for that somebody, and for the somebody that could be helped if we ate out less, and the somebody that could be helped if we lived in a smaller house, drove a cheaper car or drank less beer. The somebody that could be helped if we bought less clothes, CDs and consumeristic crap. And the problem is I'm just as guilty as anybody else of all this stuff.

Bono and the Make Poverty History is a great start, but is far from a complete Christian response.


Anonymous said...

This is a tough one, Digs. I wonder how Bono would feel if all people spent ticket money on the needy. I don't go to concerts but I'm a sugar freak. Where to draw the line? The Lord owned nothing, but was fed and clothed - obviously within limits. We must try to take the scriptural view of what is excessive, and give from the heart, inspiring others by our example.

Gareth Williams said...

Good call Digger. Very challenging stuff. I'm just as challenged about this stuff and find it hard to know how to live responsibly.
But I think we need to make decisions every day that back up our moral view.
But this can cause great problems.
I'm rambling now but you raise a difficult question that I must think about some more.

Anonymous said...

Digs mate I agree with you. And I agree with Gareth, what we think should reflect in the way we act. And this is what I'd love to ask Bono about, the fact they say they are doing their bit to stop poverty when they are selling t-shirts for $45 when they are worth $2.50 each?? that is ridiculous, but i bought one, so am jus as guilty as them. Like digs said, to the world we may be one person, but to one person we may be the world.

Anonymous said...

Added on to that is that we should just give money and think we've done our bit isn't the full story either- we need to get out there and do stuff.

As for Bono, he maybe a profit but he is still human- who needs to be challenged but not accussed- how many of us would like such attention.
Does the $2.50 inc. the designers fee, the people selling them the shipping costs and advertisments.... not to mention the huge fees lost in having to re-scedual all the conserts and stadiums- not cheap!

FADIAS15 said...

Hi Digger, I'm from India and happened to read your blog. I also work for World Vision. What interested me in your blog is the need to wake up. Like you said, there are people dying of poverty and other extremely avoidable situations (PS I'm not selling World Vision here)but nobody cares. You know digger, you are right in saying that we should be a little less flashy when it comes to self. It's because of indulgence that the world is in a warped state.
But there's something more that's necessary and that's change in the mind. Which is, whenever I see the poor, the desire to create something for them must be triggered in me not just hand over a coin (which also is not being done and the action is justified in that, it will only encourage people to beg, no matter that the person is shivering from cold and has nothing in the belly!). In the US, its easy to empathise with the poor but here in India, with so much poverty around, we just shrug our shoulders and say, 'so what?' But yes, someday I hope and pray that each individual on the earth who can do something for those who live on the fringes of life, will arise and do it. And even if we reach out to a few with this message, it may help; who knows among our readers may be another Bill Gates who will spend his immense fortune for the poor!

Anonymous said...

sorry mim, true that bout shipping costs ect. And I agree this issue isnt just about money but about real actions that take effort.

Anonymous said...

Ha, nah no need to be sorry Mitch- you make a good point- but it's not a cheap lifestyle being a rock star and don't know that much profit would be made from touring.

Would a $3 U2 t-shirt mean as much to you? the value comes more from the meaning behind it than the actual product. $3 t-shirts that everyone could just buy off the streets just wouldn't be as cool!

Anonymous said...

Digger - 0.7% of GDP is 7 cents out of $10 - should be even easier to achieve :)


Anonymous said...

realised that too andy...also reading in the paper today, so far U2 have grossed from their world tour $427 million. with shows still to come in Japan and Hawaii. Which is a crazy amount of money, but yeah as has been said, being a rockstar isnt cheap.

Mim said...

Ha, fair enough- wounder how much all up it costs to put on shows like that and record the CD's and if that figure inc the money they lost by postponing concerts. Money is a very abstract, relative concept.

Digger said...

Yeah Gaz I reckon all our decisions do correspond to our morals.
So, I might say that i'm into helping the poor and needy, but if I spend all my money on shit for myself, then actually my morals are that I'm most important. Know what I'm saying?

Digger said...

Yeah i reckon that first point is spot on mim, been thinking about that a lot actually. Giving money can be a very easy option.

And the T-shirts is an interesting one, true they are cheaper than what they're sold for, but thats capitalism! And it pisses me off but you're right Mim, we do only value stuff we pay lots for most of the time. I reckon it sucks, but thats our culture hey.

And yeah thanks for the heads up on my mathematical skills-or lack thereof Andy :)

Digger said...

Hey fadias, thanks for checking out my blog!

I reckon you're making a similar point to mim about just giving money not being enough-is that about right? Will definitely post more on that soon.

And yeah it must be so much of a more massive issue over there for you, the poverty is so much more prevalent and in your face.

Christop said...

I've been a bit frustrated with the Make Poverty History campaign. It seems like a lot of people think that it's just about wearing a wristband, and that wearing a wristband is going to end poverty.
I was helping out at one of the MPH events about this time last year, and heaps of people wanted the wristbands, but none of them were interested in fairer trade (which was what the evnt was about).
Similarly, one of my friends was at the U2 concert trying to get people to sign one of MPH's petitions, and lots of people weren't interested in even just signing their name - but they still wanted the wristbands! Argh!

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