Geldof slams French, German aid to famine-struck E. Africa
Irish rock star turned activist Bob Geldof launched a blistering attack Tuesday on what he called France and Germany's "sickeningly inadequate" aid to famine- and drought-hit East Africa.
"I am shocked and appalled by the mealy-mouthed penny pinching of the French whilst God knows how many die of thirst and hunger in unspeakable agony around one of the largest French military bases in the world in Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia," he said in a statement.
France and Germany have each offered 30 million euros ($43 million) in aid to help people suffering from the worst famine to hit the east African region in decades.
"I couldnt care less that they (the French) 'have equalled Germany'," wrote Geldof. "What does that mean except that the Germans too are guilty of turning away from the weak, the mute, the hungry, the thirsty and the dying of Africa."
"How can it be that overnight hundreds of billions of euros exist to stabilise faulty European economies, but for a dying 12 million fellow human beings that can absolutely be protected for a few sou (pennies), there is nothing?" he said.
Geldof said French President Nicolas Sarkozy had always been friendly and hospitable towards him but that he had to speak his mind because "I cannot and will not be a sycophant."
He ended his statement by urging Sarkozy to be more generous towards East Africa: "It is in your nature and that of your great country."
In 1984 Geldof and rock star Midge Ure put together Band Aid, a supergroup of British musicians and singers which recorded the single "Do They Know It's Christmas" to raise money for famine relief in Africa.
The following year, the Live Aid concerts were held in London and Philadelphia, in the United States, with major acts performing to raise money.
© 2011 AFP