Monday, 21 March 2011
Bob Geldof to visit Israelto receive honorary degree
Irish musician turned promoter Sir Bob Geldof will visit Israel in May to receive an honorary degree from Ben-Gurion University for combining a successful musical career with raising funds to end poverty in Africa as well as raising public awareness about the issue.
Geldof is to arrive a day before the May 30 award ceremony in order to attend a conference on Israeli involvement in Africa.
Geldof, 59, began his musical career in the 1970s, as the lead singer for the Boomtown Rats, and went on to a solo career when the band broke up in the late 1980s. In 1985 he staged Live Aid, simultaneous concerts in London and Philadelphia that raised 150 million pounds for Africa.
The event earned Geldof an honorary knighthood and turned "Do They Know It's Christmas" into the unofficial anthem of the battle against hunger in Africa.
Some of the Ethiopian organizations that received aid money were reportedly influenced or controlled by the Marxist military regime in that country and may have indirectly contributed to the uprooting of 600,000 peasants from their homes in the north of the country.
Despite the criticism, Geldof went on to stage Live 8, with fundraising concerts performed simultaneously in eight countries.
In an interview with The Guardian last month, Geldof defended his distribution of the aid money to the Ethiopian organizations.
"Well, what's the principle? You abandon the people you're taking care of? So that already stressed agencies have to take up the slack? That's what happened," he said. "It was an absolutely disgraceful abdication of their duties. They're either a humanitarian agency. Or. They're. Not. Spare me your moral code, please, and imposing it on the backs of wilting people. No thanks."
Geldof, whose latest album is called "How to Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell," now draws more attention for his humanitarian efforts than his music. "It's nice that he has a hobby," was how one review summed up the album. His media company Ten Alps, on the other hand, had revenues of more than 80 million pounds in 2008.