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11 2011

Bono & K’Naan: A Focus on Somalia

Syndicated from: Steve Paikin

Two of the world's better known singers held a joint briefing in Toronto on Saturday to bring attention to the thousands in Somalia who risk death from hunger.   U2's front man, Bono, perhaps the world's most famous rock star today, and K'Naan, a soulful, singing poet originally from Somalia now a Canadian, held court at the top of the TIFF building, telling a group of 200 VIPs that it isn't too late to save Somalia.   "There is no better way to live than in demonstrating concern for other human beings," K'Naan said.   Bono and K'Naan, at a special Somalia briefing on Saturday.     Bono suggested the issue isn't famine, but rather equality.  Getting involved requires the rest of the world to see starving Somalis as our equals, because if we do, then it's impossible to stand idly by.   "Equality is a pain in the ass but it requires involvement. It's not simple. You've gotta build it brick by brick, step by step," he said.   "Get involved in a journey towards equality," he added. "Their lives are equal to ours."   The statistics in Somalia these days are frightening. People aren't starving because of agricultural problems. The issue has been politics. The government, the opposition, the war lords --- everyone on the ground seems more interested in war, than in permitting aid groups to feed the hungry.   Bono said 750,000 Somalis face death in the next few months, unless adequate food and medicine can be delivered to the people. He suggested the disparate political groups are actually close to a temporary truce to enable aid groups to do their work.   The Globe and Mail organized Saturday's symposium. Its editor-in-chief, John Stackhouse, chaired the Q&A session, and got some of his most thoughtful replies from Bono on the issue of celebrity and charity.   Bono confessed the "juxtaposition of rich rock star and starving child" was an uncomfortable one.   "But I'll do it if it gets some attention for that poor starving child. Celebrity is ridiculous but it's currency. I want to spend mine well," he said.   There are several non-governmental organizations currently raising money for the Somali cause. K'naan has his own legacy fund. So does World Vision.  The government of Canada will match all donations dollar for dollar until September 16.         K'Naan also regaled the audience with a few songs. Have a listen:

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