History Dictating. Colonel Gadhafi’s love of pop revealed!

With the recent furore surrounding Nelly Furtado’s pledge to give up her $1m performance fee from troubled tyrant Moammar Gadhafi, it casts a light on other past performers and their dalliances with dictators.

Gadhafi and his families love of pop has lined the pockets of several global artists, chosen to perform at his many recent parties and so-called charity events?  Mariah Carey, Usher, Lionel Ritchie and Beyonce, with Jay Z in attendance, have all performed for the military leader.

Musicians performing for military regimes and their leaders is certainly not a recent activity. In 1966 the Beatles once performed for Philippines dictator, President Marcos although they had the audacity or stupidity, call it what you like, to decline Mrs Marcos’s formal breakfast invitation the following morning! Huge protests followed and the Beatles fled the country!

In he 70’s James Brown performed at a festival that was hosted by President Mobutu of Congo, previously Zaire. Fellow African autocrat, Mugabe, witnessed a performance by the late, great, Bob Marley, although his first choice was Cliff Richard!

In 1991 the Manic Street Preachers played a gig for Fidel Castro, becoming the first westrern band to play to the Cuban leader since 1979.  Although criticized for his human rights record, Fidel and the sloganeering Welsh punks had a fair amount of mutual respect, and if anyone was going to perform for the communist leader it was going to be the socialist iconclasts.

Of course back in the golden era of pop where naivety and innocence was plentiful and the despots of the future had yet to fully exercise their reign of terror it is forgivable to allow the stars an error of judgment.  In the current era of the internet and mass communication it is slightly less forgivable for exceedingly well paid performers to stack up their wealth with hand outs from well-known tyrants, especially if the artist espouses goodwill to all men.  Which leads us to Sting performing for Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan’s autocrat leader. With a long list of human rights violations, including torture, media censorship and fake elections it is surprising that human rights activist Sting would appear at Karimov’s daughters arts festival! Surely it wasn’t for the money?


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