Empress of the Universe

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Don't Leave Important Things to the Last Minute

Wonder what George Bush is doing today.Hot off the presses #1: Winnie Mandela was denied a visa to enter Canada the day before she was scheduled to give the key note address at a fundraising arts gala earlier this week. The gala was to include excerpts of a newly composed opera, The Passion of Winnie, based on her colourful and controversial life.

Hot off the presses #2: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not meet with U2 frontman and global anti-poverty activist Bono during this week's G8 summit in Germany. The PM's spokesperson said, "The Prime Minister has spoken in the past via telephone with Bono and obviously the Prime Minister has a very full agenda for the next two days."

The news/talk radio station phone lines have gone crazy the past couple days with spirited, but not always intelligent, debate about whether Winnie is being unfairly targeted and whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper is out of touch with today's global issues. The callers are passionately divided.

But it seems to me that everyone has missed the point. The opera based on Winnie Mandela's life has been in the works since 2003. Although the producers may not have finalized their funding that far in advance, I'm certain the premiere has been scheduled for at least a few months. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the organizers contacted Ms. Mandela first to see when she might be able to visit Toronto, then scheduled the event around her commitment. So, you know you're going to Canada in a few months and you need a visa. Isn't that something you do -- or your people do -- MONTHS in advance? If she had been denied the visa a month or two before the event, it would hardly have been the breaking news story it became. Convicted criminals are denied entry into Canada all the time. It's only news because someone left it to the last minute.

Same thing with Bono and Prime Minister Harper. I'm sure the dates of this year's G8 summit were long ago published. As one of the G8 member countries, our PM was fully expected to attend. Why didn't Bono's people request some time on the Prime Minister's itinerary months ago? I know from my international travel experience, you confirm all of your appointments long before you leave for your trip -- especially those most critical to your mission. You sure as heck don't show up and hope to get a meeting.

And then complain about it when you don't.

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Anonymous Greg Benton said...

The hypocrisy of these 'celebrities' knows no bounds.
Winnie's fame comes from being married to a man almost universally regarded as a 'great' man who whilst in prison under an oppressive regime, endured to the day of freedom and set the course for his people.
Whilst her husband was in prison, Winnie sought out and acquired personal wealth with all the trappings and used her affiliation with her husband to her own self-aggrandizing advantage. In the meantime, she engaged in illegal activities and was convicted with kidnapping and being associated with the murder of a 15 year old boy followed by years of fraud for which she was also convicted.
Some model for anything let alone an opera or a speech.
Bono's heart seems to be in the right place but his money isn't attached to it. He demands much from others that he personally doesn't seem to be prepared to do himself. Being a celebrity apparently demands that the whole world pay attention.
Good for Harper not to be sucked into this kind of charade...unlike his predecessor.
You are right about the 'time' being appropriate but celebrities apparently believe that they transcend time and space and are entitled to their own schedule.
Popular culture does that to them and they seem to believe that they therefore are to be regarded as 'special'.
Bono has his place, without doubt, but if he wants to lecture the world's leaders about Africa, he should have his own summit...and pay for it.
Winnie should still be serving time.

10:19 PM  

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