An open letter to Bob Geldof

Dear Mr Geldof,

I have not long finished reading an article in the online edition of the Independent. The piece in question reflects on a speech you made to the One Young World conference in Bangkok. Within the speech you suggested that your generation left mine with the tools to change the world and spread a message of hope and peace. I have no qualms in admitting this is true. Thanks to people of your generation we have the Internet and many other technological advancements.

As you continued your speech you made it clear that you are suitably unimpressed with what younger people have done with the tools provided. You spoke of frivolity and beliefs as if they were some sort of ideological genres created single handedly by the current generation of youth. You also suggested that because millennials  were involved in the various terrorist attacks over the last weeks or so, that the whole generation is in some way implicated.

The report  by  Heather Saul does go on to say that you and your generation take some responsibility for current mess the world finds itself in but frankly your entire speech was a waste of breath given the audience. You were preaching to the choir and the only people who will read articles such as the one I did are people like me who are interested in current affairs, inequality and trying to change things one step at a time. I share information via social media, through my own writing and by word of mouth on a daily basis. I am one of an enormous number of people doing the same.

Apathy isn’t a newly formed concept. There are millions of millennials spreading the good word across social media and getting involved with protest and projects worldwide. You can’t make people take in the information you can only put it out there.

Unfortunately whilst your intentions may be well meaning they come across as patronising and in some ways a desperate attempt to stay relevant. Go and spread the message to places where it is not wasted. Your celebrity status gives you the opportunity to speak to a captive audience wherever that may be. Speak in front of an EDL rally and the cameras will follow.

Many of my family members have suffered a great deal by western actions taken in the middle east. I won’t go into any detail as I have great concerns for their safety and writing about them in this letter may do them more harm than good. There have always been messages of opposition to government foreign, home and welfare policy on both sides of the coin. These issues will continue to divide people and their opinions. The idea of abandoning these beliefs for the sake of a better future may work in theory but without strong beliefs how can we shape any future?

I agree with large parts of what you had to say in your speech and continuing to be part of a solution to the world’s problems is commendable. Please choose your words carefully in future though or you are just as likely to turn people away from peace, activism and tackling inequality as you are to get them to engage with those concepts.

Kind regards,

Tom El-Shawk.

Here is the link to the article mentioned.


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