A D.C. source sends photos of an ice cream social that took place on the Hill today.
The event was held by the ONE Campaign, a popular Hollywood celebrity charity started by rock musician Bono that aims to end AIDS and global hunger. To help fight the world hunger crisis, they threw a lawn party schmoozefest and encouraged Senate staffers to indulge in Ben and Jerry’s.
Writes my source:
“I asked the organizers how this contributed to disease and hunger eradication, and how much of their donors’ money the event cost to put on, and needless to say, they were less than forthcoming. They have been aggressively haranguing a group of conservative Senators who are blocking a $50B global AIDS boondoggle of a bill because we, crazy us, just want some provisions that require most of the money to be spent on HIV treatment instead of an open-ended slush fund. Maybe we should also insert a provision in the bill to ensure that funds are not spent on ice cream for political hacks in Washington?”
You know the motto: Eat as they say, not as they eat!
Yes, it’s the Cindy Sheehan Weight Loss Plan: Better fasting through ice cream.
Read this interesting piece from last summer on how not all of the world’s poor are so eager to welcome the liberal celebs’ international aid. An excerpt:
Africans to Bono: ‘For God’s sake please stop!’
Arusha, Tanzania–Africa is a continent of despair and desperation. Here, eight year-olds toting AK-47s massacre whole villages and eccentric dictators feast on the organs of the opposition, believing it’ll boost their mojo. Tsetse flies nibble on the eyelids of starving children who sport distended bellies like it’s their birthright, not to mention the fact that by the time you finish reading this article, another six Africans will die from malaria, five from AIDS, and seventeen from poverty and hunger. Also, the wildlife is beautiful and the people like to dance and sing.
That’s Africa, and it’s in desperate need of our help. Luckily, a few enlightened megastars from America and Europe have come to save it.
Curiously, not all the natives are grateful.
Last month, world leaders and Bono met in Heiligendamm, Germany for the G8 summit to renew their commitment to increase aid to Africa. Vanity Fair’s special Africa issue, edited by the man himself, hit newsstands with 20 celebrity covers, a gaggle of celebrity writers, and a conspicuous shortage of Africans.
Many of Africa’s best and brightest become bureaucrats or NGO workers when they should be scientists or entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile in Arusha, Tanzania, at the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference, a group of the continent’s intellectual elite issued a very different plea: stop flooding Africa with aid. Since 1984, an assortment of Silicon Valley billionaires, child prodigies, ex-presidents, artistic geniuses, mad scientists, and movie stars have descended on Monterrey, California for TED, for an annual event The Economist called “Davos for optimists.” Three weeks ago, TED held its first-ever conference in Africa, bringing together trademark optimism with an even more humbling sort of A-list.
Eleni Gabre-Madhin, a World Bank economist, returned to her native Ethiopia to start a commodities exchange to prevent future famines. Daniel Annerose invented software in Senegal that allows farmers to track market prices via SMS text messaging. Alieu Conteh built the first cellular network in the Congo, Florence Seriki, Nigeria’s first computer manufacturing company.
Then there’s William Kamkwamba, the undisputed showstopper, a teenager from rural Malawi who, at age fourteen, built a windmill from plastic scrap and an old bicycle frame that generates enough electricity to light his family’s house.
These speakers were selected to support a thesis, painfully obvious but somehow radical in this age: Africa won’t be “saved” by aid, but by the ingenuity and determination of its own people.
Andrew Mwenda, an outspoken Ugandan journalist who was jailed last year for criticizing President Museveni, lambasted the Western world’s “international cocktail of good intentions” for robbing Africa of its future. After all, what country has ever gotten rich from aid? What Africa needs is investment.