Thursday 12 December 2019

Forgiving unfair debt

Bono OF U2 photographed. Photo: AP
Bono OF U2 photographed. Photo: AP

Sir -- U2's Bono, according to Dave Fanning in RTE's Ireland's Greatest series, cancelled the debt of the poorest 18 countries in Africa. He didn't, but I think I know what Dave was trying to say.

However, Dave's evocation of Bono's support for Jubilee 2000's campaign for debt forgiveness for the world's poorest countries reminded me of one of the most effective advertising campaigns ever.

It had desperately poor and emaciated Africans knock on the doors of suburban European homes and attempt to hand over bundles of money to the bemused residents. The potency of the image of wretched Africans repaying well-off Europeans was truly haunting.

I wonder how we Irish can get it across to the EU and the 'investment community' just how unjust our indebtedness is, and how unable we are to pay the debt off. Like those in Africa, our corrupt overlords were operating in a cocoon far removed from the experience of the unassuming peasants they dominated.

We all know Bono likes a good cause. Perhaps he can be persuaded to roll up his sleeves and spearhead the challenge of a lifetime. Mary Robinson, another candidate for Ireland's Greatest, could jointly lead the campaign. Mary has much experience in dealing with dictatorships in Third World countries, so she might be able to get through to Brian Cowen.

What I am trying to say is that the most miserable aspect of our current devastation is that there is no one on the national stage articulating the misery of the millions of Irish people, still reeling in shock at the news that we are to be punished for 50 years or so, as a result of a secret set of negotiations between our treacherous Government and a shadowy group of billionaires or their representatives.

There has got to be a song that we can sing about this, please Bono? And Mary, surely there is a Noble Prize for freeing us from our bondage? True greatness awaits anyone who can save our souls.

Declan Doyle,

Kilkenny

Sunday Independent

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