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Bono - seriously, what were you thinking?  Frankly you should've known better - my first concert ever in Europe (in Dublin of all places) was U2 - I saw you the first time in South Africa in 1998, a teenager then and I only just missed seeing you guys again now in Johannesburg.  I've been such a big supporter of your music and work alike - attending various rallies/support calls etc while I was still living in Europe, in support of the "write off African debt" call you issued, so beautifully and so successfully.

You are known as an authority on human rights and are an endless supporter of injustice and freedom - liberty movements the world over count you as patron and hero and yet here you are, in South Africa (a country you know well and have supported in the past, we owe part of our liberation to U2's efforts) lending support to this ridiculous and hurtful song (and by extension to Julius Malema et al) - you may not think so but trust me, this is how it will appear.

Personally, I've lost friends in farm attacks and these attacks are not a thing of apartheid or our past, they are happening in South Africa RIGHT NOW.

Everytime someone sings of  "Kill the boer" or the funeral song "hamba kahle mkhonto" they are effectively calling for the murder of "boers" (Farmers but a word representative of Afrikaners as a whole and indeed white people in South Africa in general).

So many of us rejoiced at the downfall of Aparatheid  - freedom not only happened for black South African's you know and now so many of us are being disenfranchised, disappointed and murdered.

Our country has the most potential of all Africa - yet our blood continues to redden the sand.  This is not a call for Irish independence or a call to a cause which is just.  If you understand anything about our country - and I know you do, you will know that issues like these are seldom clear cut or, "black and white" if you like.

Shame on you Bono, shame on you.  You may well have blood on your hands.

Peter-John de Kock, Nelspruit, South Africa - peterjohnjnb@gmail.com
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U2's Bono criticised for endorsing Shoot the Boer song

Bono, file pic from January 2011 Bono's controversial comments came at the start of U2's tour of South Africa

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* ANC's Malema makes public apology

* ANC stops singing struggle song


The Irish pop star Bono has been criticised for apparently endorsing a song which includes the lyric: "Shoot the Boer".


The U2 frontman said the song, which was sung during the fight against apartheid, had its place, like music supporting the Irish Republican Army.


His comments came at the start of U2's tour of South Africa.


But callers to local radio stations said the song was designed to stir up racial hatred.


"That's hate speech. They don't know our history at all," said one caller to a South African radio talk show.


The song has been at the centre of a political storm in South Africa, with the controversial leader of the African National Congress's youth league, Julius Malema, locked in a legal battle with a white lobby group over whether it should be banned as hate speech.


Sometimes used as a derogatory term for white people, Boer is an Afrikaans word for farmer.

'Folk music'


In an interview with the South African Sunday Times, Bono said: "When I was a kid and I'd sing songs I remember my uncles singing... rebel songs about the early days of the Irish Republican Army."

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“Start Quote


We sang this and it's fair to say it's folk musicâ€


End Quote Bono U2 singer


He went on to sing a song whose lyrics spoke of carrying guns and readying them for action.


"We sang this and it's fair to say it's folk music," he told the newspaper.


But he said such songs should not be sung in the wrong context.


"Would you want to sing that in a certain community? It's pretty dumb," he said.


"It's about where and when you sing those songs. There's a rule for that kind of music."


Callers to local radio stations described the song as an example of hate speech.


South Africa's highest court is currently considering whether the song violates the rights of Afrikaners.


Since apartheid was banned in 1994, more than 3,000 white farmers have been murdered.


A committee of inquiry in 2003 found that only 2% of farm attacks had a political or racial motive, although critics said this figure was far too low.


It was into this political minefield that Bono has wandered, says BBC Africa analyst Martin Plaut, apparently unaware of the depth of feeling his remarks would stir up.


BBC News website readers from around the world have been sharing their thoughts on Bono's remarks:


I think Bono is right when he says about when and why and what context the song was written. It is very ignorant to say that it was made intentionally with hate in mind considering the history and background of U2. It is mentioned above that Bono and U2 do not know about South Africa history but I don't think the people that complain know where U2 come from either. David E, Salt Lake City, Utah, US


Bono instead of talking rubbish check your facts - I ashamed of you as an Irishman. I, along with thousands of true fans who started a call to bring you to Durban, will never support you or any of your music again. A bad move on your part. Avril Kotze, Durban, South Africa


This is the same as endorsing any other derogatory racist name that has been used in the past. Is this what U2 support, just because it is historical? What other racist names do they endorse and support? Is this a publicity stunt? If so, it is in its lowest form. Colin Money, Basingstoke, UK


We've heard quite enough from pretentious pop stars and this dangerous indiscretion illustrates how pathetically clueless these people are. Jack Gunter, La Manga, Spain


If his endorsement of this song leads to one more farmer's death, it would have undone all the good he has done over the years. Bono, you should come and live in the real South Africa, and not in your ivory towers and learn what life is like for ordinary South Africans, before you make comments like that. Shame on you Bono. Steve Newby, Cape Town, South Africa


It's fair to say Bono has stepped into a mess here and would have been better served by hiring some PR people who should have told him what to steer clear of during their tour in South Africa. Although Bono likes to think of himself as liberal-minded and politically conscious, he will make no friends and quite a few enemies trying to court favour with certain sections of the community. South African politics and society are still pretty polarised and it's fair to say in-depth reporting on issues does not often make its way to Europe. Simon O, Napier, South Africa


He is known for his self-righteous help to Africa which has often done more harm than good. He is talking about something of which he knows nothing at all, which is not at all unusual for him. It is amazing how drugs, sex and rock and roll make you a guru worth listening to. Jan du Plessis, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


This is a sheer idiocy on the part of a man who should know better. His attitude in the context of the difficulties faced by the Irish displays a sorry intellect. Ian King, Pretoria, South Africa


Really fed up with those singers who think of themselves as politicians. First, it's a depravation of music, second they don't know a thing about the situations they sing about. Chris, Paris, France



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How could you be so stupid as to endorse a song that incites violence?  How can you have a long-time association with Amnesty International and do that?  You are a hypocrite and an idiot. 


You make me feel embarrassed and ashamed to be Irish.



You should apologize for the offense you have caused to so many South Africans and their families.


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This is an example of poor journalism. Bono did not endorse the song outright and did not support Malema singing it openly.

Calm down and get the full facts.

Good or bad journalism.... the damage is done.  He endorsed the song - outright or not.  It is still an endorsement and he should be more aware of the power of his words. 
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Before people are quick to make comments they should first find out the facts, for one anyone should know that newspapers, especially ones like the Sunday Times, sell stories and not truth. The Sunday Times sells their paper through sensationalism by making up slanderous headlines and distorting the truth. Here is an article that explains what was really said, from here: http://www.thedailymaveri...hat-stirred-all-the-rage


Bono, Malema and the headlines that stirred all the rage


U2 frontman Bono was the target of wide-scale derision this weekend after a story about him apparently supporting Julius Malema and that infamous “shoot the boer†liberation song flamed across South Africa - and then circled the globe. But as the world’s most famous Irish band took to the stage at FNB Stadium, music journalists stepped forward to say Bono had been horribly misquoted by the media. By MANDY DE WAAL.



“Bono guides Juju†and “Julius Malema may have found an unlikely ally in U2 frontman Bono who, on Friday, waded into the debate over the singing of the controversial Shoot The Boer song.†These were the Sunday Times and TimesLIVE headlines and opening lines, augmented at 10:31 on Sunday morning by another TimesLIVE headline, “Bono backs Malema's ‘shoot the boer’ songâ€, which caused many South Africans to erupt in anger at U2’s Bono.


Predictably, Steve Hofmeyr didn’t miss a self-promoting beat and added fuel to the fire by tweeting: “I have just dumped my R5000 worth of U2 tickets in the Jukskei. I'm going home. I can find no context for that song. Sorry&goodbye†and “As Malema se Kill the Boer haatspraak in die hof slaag, borg ek met graagte die K-woord in die nuwe WAT.†(Loosely translated this means “If Malema’s “kill the boer†hate speech triumphs in court I will gladly sponsor the K-woord in the new WAT.†The WAT is “Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taalâ€, an Afrikaans dictionary.) That’s all it took to ignite the short fuse of South Africa’s simmering racial tensions, but this time the unlikely target of anger was Bono.


Local music journalists are critical about Sunday Times’ reporting on the issue and go as far as to say the headlines were a deliberate distortion of the truth. “It is bullshit,†is what music journalist Evan Milton had to say about the Sunday Times headlines. Milton was one of five journalists invited to have dinner with the band and their manager. Other journalists present at the hour-long dinner were Diane Coetzer, who is a local representative for US music publication Billboard, Buddy Naidu from Sunday Times, Janet Smith from Independent Newspapers and Donna Bryson, local bureau chief for Associated Press.


“During the dinner Buddy asked Bono about ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ which begins with the introduction ‘This is not a rebel song’. Buddy linked this to local struggle songs and said there was a particular song in the limelight locally because of a young South African struggle leader,†says Milton who adds that Bono immediately indicated he knew of Malema, but said nothing further about the “shoot the boer†song, nor did he in anyway signal support for Malema or the ANC-linked song.


Milton, who recorded the exchange on his iPhone, says: “He (Bono) answered the question by talking in general about folk music and songs that have liberation themes. Bono said there were folk songs about people carrying guns.†What was absent from Naidu’s story, says Milton, is that Bono told the story about why ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ is not a rebel song, but a song with a strong message against sectarian violence.


“Bono said after the U2 ‘War’ album came out a photograph was published in the Irish media of a U2 publicity photograph in the Sinn Fein headquarters. There was an assumption that the song was related to the rebel cause and because of that the introduction was added by U2 to ensure people understood it was not a song in support of Sinn Fein or the IRA (Irish Republican Army). Bono said the song was a deeply rebellious song, but explained it was all about the rebellion taking place in the hearts, minds and souls of the Irish people. It wasn’t a political song, but a song about peace.â€


Milton says he finds it disingenuous that what Bono said was taken out of context, given the U2 lead singer didn’t comment in any specific way about the ANC-aligned liberation song causing so much upset in South Africa. “The street pole adverts for Sunday Times were actively disingenuous because they verged on an active attempt to mislead,†says Milton. The adverts to promote sales of Sunday Times read “Bono guides Jujuâ€.


“Bono does not guide Juju,†says Milton. “Bono did not express active support for the ‘shoot the boer’ song. If anything this man, who has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, said violent songs should not be sung at public gatherings. The Sunday Times’ street pole poster is deliberately misleading.


“When I first read the headline and the article on TimesLIVE, I observed with a wry smile it was a headline designed to make more people click. It was patently untrue, because Bono did not support the song. I then observed with a wry smile Buddy’s quotes were all accurate and carefully recorded, but it is the headline and the parts that link his quotes that are misconstrued.â€


This was confirmed by Billboard correspondent Dianne Coetzer, who said Bono never supported the “shoot the farmer songâ€, never made direct reference to the song and never supported Julius Malema’s right to sing the liberation song. “The opening paragraph of Buddy’s story says Bono waded into the Malema controversy, which indicates says Bono had a position on the issue, which wasn’t the case. The Sunday Times journalist mentioned something about a young struggle icon and Bono merely acknowledged that he recognised this was Malema,†says Coetzer.


“Bono responded to the question by saying he had sung rebel songs with his uncle when he was young and how hard it was for his mother because she was Protestant and his uncle was Catholic. He at no stage said he supported Malema or Malema’s right to sing the song. He was talking specifically about his own experiences in Ireland and never in any way aligned himself with Malema, the 'shoot the boer' song or expressed any support for Malema,†Coetzer says.


Naidu’s Sunday Times story was picked up by Agence France-Press early on Sunday. AFP reported on the Bono saga using the headline “Bono causes stir in S. Africa over 'shoot the farmer' song.†The introduction to the story read: “Irish pop singer Bono caused a stir in South Africa on Sunday after expressing support for the singing of an anti-apartheid struggle song that includes the lyrics ‘shoot the farmer’.†AFP and Sapa distributed the story on the wires and TimesLIVE picked it up and used it again, this time changing the headline to read: “Bono backs Malema's ‘shoot the boer’ song.â€


Typically when wire services get things wrong, they issue a correction or an instruction to “kill†the story, but by Sunday night the story of Bono being Malema’s arch ally was well on its way across the world and was being reported on by the BBC, The Telegraph, and The Guardian.


When asked for comment by EWN, Sunday Times editor Ray Hartley said the body of the story made it clear Bono did not endorse Malema and the matter was “a storm in a teacup.†DM

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Does context mean nothing to you?


This is tabloid jumping on anything they could muster just to get a jibe at Bono in.


Of course he doesn't endorse the song and the murder of farmers.


Seriously if you're embarassed to be Irish because of some tabloid tripe, then I'm embarassed of my Irish heritage because of you.

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