(HN, October 6, 2011) - The Irish singer, musician and humanitarian, Bono, has launched a new, high energy campaign to bring renewed attention to the Horn of Africa famine, which is now impacting more than 13 million people in several countries.
Through his One International organization, and a video called “The F Word: Famine is the Real Obscenity”, Bono has recruited several high profile artists and actors to suggest that famine is an obscene a word as the for-letter expletive starting with the letter 'f.'
Said Bono in a personalized mass email campaign: I’ve been known to drop the occasional expletive, but the most offensive F word to me is not the one that goes f***. It’s F***** - the famine happening in the Horn of Africa, mainly Somalia.
The video and online campaign is supplemented by a petition to world leaders, timed to appear ahead of next month's Group of 20 Summit in France. It urges them to live up to promises already made to invest in the things proven to work, including: early warning systems, irrigation, drought resistant seeds, and peace and security.
It contends that the famine in Somalia could kill 750,000 in the coming months, and tens of thousands have already died.
Says the petition:
"When you meet at the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit in November, you have the opportunity to break the cycle of famine and ensure people are hungry no more. Lives are in your hands. Please keep the promises you have made to the 2 billion poor people who depend on farming for their livelihoods.
"The reasons for the famine in the Horn of Africa are complex and solutions are difficult, especially in Somalia, but we can’t lose sight of some simple facts:
1. 30,000 children have died in just 3 months. Thirty thousand. With over 12 million people at risk.
2. Famine is not a natural catastrophe – drought doesn’t have to lead to famine. It can be prevented, as we have seen in much of Kenya and Ethiopia.
"In the 21st century, it’s an obscenity that people are dying because they can’t get enough food to eat. Every one of those 30,000 children is part of a family – a son, a daughter, sister or brother. We can’t imagine what it must be like to starve to death, but most of us know what it’s like to lose someone we love."
Bono has a long record going back to the 1980s of intervening in humanitarian disasters, especially in Africa.
His U2 band performed in the Band Aid and Live Aid projects, organised by Bob Geldof. In 1984, Bono sang on the Band Aid single "Do They Know it's Christmas?/Feed the World." Geldof and Bono later collaborated to organise the 2005 Live 8 project, where U2 also performed.
ONE describes itself as a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures. Cofounded by Bono and other campaigners, including Warren Buffett and African telecommunications tycoon Mo Ibrahim, ONE is nonpartisan and works closely with African activists and policy makers.
- HUMNEWS staff