Bob Geldof at City Hall in Dublin with his Freedom of the City scroll. RollingNews.ie photo.
By Evan Short
Bob Geldof has been accused of hypocrisy after handing back his Freedom of the City of Dublin to city council officials.
The musician handed his scroll back in protest that the honor is also held by Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who he said the UN has described as “genocidalist.”
The Nobel Peace Prize winner has been criticized for failing to condemn the violence against the Rohingya Muslims in the country. 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh in recent months and are living in terrible conditions.
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Speaking back in his home city, Geldof said: “Aung San Suu Kyi was extravagantly welcomed to this city. I participated in that. And it turned out that she’s a killer.”
The former Boomtown Rats frontman said that the Myanmar leader should hand back the Nobel prize she won in 1991.
“And perhaps she should appear at the Hague tribunal,” he added.
“Dublin should not have any truck with this woman. She’s let us Dubliners down and she’s let Ireland down, because we thought she was one thing and we’ve been duped. She’s a murderer.”
Geldof said he had been in contact with Bono and U2 in recent days.
“They issued a very strong statement over the weekend. I gave Bono the heads-up and he called various people and he said: ‘Look, you know, I completely support this. But’s it’s a band and one man does not make that decision.’”
Meanwhile, the decision to return the scroll did not go down well with Dublin’s Sinn Féin Mayor, Mícheál Mac Donncha.
He said Mr. Geldof was entitled to make the decision he made. He also pointed out that he himself had condemned the persecution of the Rohingya people.
“I have met Rohingya representatives in Ireland and I am pledged to assist them,” he said. “When I raised the issue of removing the Freedom of the City from the Myanmar leader, consensus was not reached among the groups on the City Council, though all have condemned the persecution of the Rohingya people, and the matter is not closed.
“Regarding Mr. Geldof himself, I find it ironic that he makes this gesture while proudly retaining his title as Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, given the shameful record of British imperialism across the globe.”