Tuesday, October 30, 2007

No Time for Celeb Activists

Gideon Rachman, the FT's chief foreign affairs columnist, offers a humorous and insightful take on the proliferating role of celebrities in development, debt-forgiveness and poverty reduction. George Clooney, Bono, Graydon Carter and Angelina Jolie all take hits from Rachman's wickedly poisonous pen.

"There is something unedifying about an unelected celebrity intimidating politicians," he writes. Indeed. Especially when, as Rachman notes, "they see things in the stark and simple terms favoured in Hollywood movies, rocks songs and the speeches of US president George W. Bush."

Isn't it just a little too easy for Bono or Brad Pitt to tell us what the solution is to complex issues such as underdevelopment? I think it is. On the other hand, I find my respect increasing exponentially for Mia Farrow. She has for many months been writing insightful and passionate op-eds in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere on the atrocities in Darfur and China's connection to the Sudanese regime.
"As Khartoum's largest and closest business partner, China has provoked outrage from the international community for underwriting genocide in Darfur. In recent months, Beijing has responded with steadily increasing talk about its commitment to promoting peace in the region. But it has taken no meaningful action."
This is good stuff. Unlike some celebrities, who seem to fit their advocacy in between film premiers and shopping for yachts, Ms. Farrow seems to have devoted herself entirely to this issue. Perhaps that's why Gideon Rachman leaves her out of his column? And I say good for her -- keep it up (and show the rest how it's done!).

No comments: