Bob Geldof, Irish rockstar and longtime social activist, has spent over a decade raising money for and awareness of Africa’s social needs. He recently caught up with President Bush in Rwanda to interview him for a Time magazine article. While there, Geldof made some impromptu remarks to the press, praising Bush for his efforts in Africa, and chiding the press for failing to report on them.
Via the Washington Times:
Mr. Geldof praised Mr. Bush for his work in delivering billions to fight disease and poverty in Africa, and blasted the U.S. press for ignoring the achievement.
Mr. Bush, said Mr. Geldof, “has done more than any other president so far.”
“This is the triumph of American policy really,” he said. “It was probably unexpected of the man. It was expected of the nation, but not of the man, but both rose to the occasion.”
“What’s in it for [Mr. Bush]? Absolutely nothing,” Mr. Geldof said.
Mr. Geldof said that the president has failed “to articulate this to Americans” but said he is also “pissed off” at the press for their failure to report on this good news story.
“You guys didn’t pay attention,” Geldof said to a group of reporters from all the major newspapers.
It’s nice to see Bush get a bit of acknowledgment for the positive things he’s done. These are all causes that the left champions and Bush has done more than anyone before him.
Here’s some more good news which, to its credit, the AP does report:
KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) – Speaking on soil once stained with the blood of Rwanda’s genocide, President Bush called Tuesday on all nations to step up efforts to end “once and for all” the ethnic slaughter still continuing in Sudan’s western Darfur region.
The president said the U.S. is using sanctions, pressure and money to help resolve the Darfur crisis that Bush calls a genocide. But the president, frustrated at the lack of willingness of some other countries to do the same, sought to give his campaign for their increased involvement added weight by making pointed remarks on it from the Rwandan capital.
“The Rwanda people know the horrors of genocide,” Bush said after meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame. “My message to other nations is: ‘Join with the president and help us get this problem solved once and for all.’ And we will help.”
Rwanda was the first to deploy peacekeepers to the violent Darfur region in a joint African Union-U.N. mission. The United States has trained nearly 7,000 Rwandan troops and spent more than $17 million to equip and airlift them into the region. The U.S. has committed $100 million to train and provide equipment for peacekeepers from several African nations deploying to Darfur.
Much of the world has forgotten about the continuing genocide in Darfur. Kudos to Bush for his continuing efforts to fight the genocide and call others to action.
Kudos to him also for issues warnings about Kenya, which may be moving toward a similar fate:
Bush also drew a parallel to Kenya, where long-simmering ethnic grievances are playing a role in postelection bloodshed.
December presidential elections, which foreign and local observers say were rigged, returned President Mwai Kibaki to power and unleashed weeks of fighting. Much of the violence – shockingly brutal in a country once considered among Africa’s most-stable – has pitted other ethnic groups against Kibaki’s Kikuyu tribe, resented for traditionally dominating politics and business.
“We’ve got to pay attention to the warning signs,” Bush said. “I’m not suggesting that … anything close to what happened here is going to happen in Kenya. But I am suggesting there some warning signs that the international community needs to pay attention to.”
Perhaps the world will pay attention this time. And perhaps historians will one day give Bush his due credit on these issues.