Wednesday 19 June 2019

Bob Geldof tells One Young World: 'People are dying of Ebola because they are poor'

Nicola Anderson and Brian O'Reilly

In a keynote address Sir Bob Geldof has told the One Young World summit that people are dying in the world because they are poor - not because there is no medicine, doctors or food.

Describing Ebola as a "filthy little virus," he raged at the injustice that has seen over 4,000 deaths in West Africa.

He also addressed corporate globalisation, saying the great corporations of today were no different to the companies of the past because they still try to monopolise and seek to sell you things.

Welcoming over 1,400 young delegates to Dublin, he quipped that everybody came from Ireland.

"I don't think there's anyone who doesn't come from Ireland," he said. Addressing former Mexican President, Vincente Fox, he said: "Your family came from here 400 years ago."

Provoked gales of laughter, he turned to former tennis great, Boris Becker, saying: "He learned his fucking tennis here I can tell you."

Bob Geldof at the One Young World 2014 Summit in Dublin
Bob Geldof at the One Young World 2014 Summit in Dublin
Pictured on main stage of the opening night of One Young World was flag bearers
Pictured on main stage of the opening night of One Young World was Sir Bob Geldof
Pictured on main stage of the opening night of One Young World was flag bearers
Pictured on main stage of the opening night of One Young World was flag bearers
Pictured on main stage of the opening night of One Young World was Mary Robinson
'U2' at the One Young World 2014 Summit in Dublin
School children from Ballymun singing at the One Young World 2014 Summit in Dublin
School children from Ballymun singing at the One Young World 2014 Summit in Dublin
Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the One Young World 2014 Summit in Dublin
School children from Ballymun singing at the One Young World 2014 Summit in Dublin
'U2' at the One Young World 2014 Summit in Dublin
Sir Bob Geldof and former President of Ireland Mary Robimson at the One Young World 2014 Summit in Dublin
'U2' at the One Young World 2014 Summit in Dublin Pic:Mark Condren

He talked of Ireland as a country "buffeted by global winds" and unable to do much about it.

But this country "talks up a storm" that can rebut some of the falsehoods in the world, he added.

The humanitarian revealed how his aunt Fifi is still alive at the age of 106.

'Ireland's recovery is the people's recovery' - Taoiseach opens One Young World Summit in Dublin

"Before her mind went off into the universe," he had sat down with her in Mount Merrion when she was 103 and had asked her about the First World War and whether there had been any sense that something truly momentous and barbaric was about to happen.

Though very young at the time, she said that she had no memory that anything had been any different.

Bob himself recalled the Cuban Missile Crisis of his own childhood and how his father had been desperately concerned that there was going to be another world war and that this one "would be the last."

Speaking about his own father, he remembered the start of the Second World War.

He said his father had a sense of foreboding that something bad was going to happen in the time leading up to the war.

Geldof said he know has that sense of foreboding - that one tiny event could shatter fragile international peace.

"Look at Ukraine, where once again another country can just walk in,can't we do very little about it.

"Thank god there are no black flags today for those murderers in IS.

"Where is the little spark, that for no reason at all, will set off the next consecration?"

"I don't know about you,but there is something deep and scary going on."

He referred to the Yeats poem 'The Second Coming'.

One Young World Conference 2014 - Plenty of flags, but #OYW means business

"We must act in serious self interest here. There is not one person here who will disagree with me.

"We are at a critical moment. 

"Think. That's what we need you to do. Think."

He said Ireland is well placed to understand international problems.

"We know economic ruin. We know lack of leadership.

"We have to feel the shame over the next three of four days, we have to talk it through."

He also warned against state surveillance.

"Not just in China, but in the United States. I don't want that world, never have. There's too much wrong with it."

He said the Ebola crisis is not being contained because its victims are poor.

"Look at Sierra Leone, a country just beginning to breath.

"Because they are poor, they die.

"Unlike Madrid and Texas, they do not have the doctors and nurses and medical care."

The Irish Independent and Independent.ie is the media partner for the One Young World Summit 2015, with extensive coverage on independent.ie.

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