Monday, May 23, 2005 at 10:34 AM

Celebrity-obsessed world has made actors and rock stars the statesmen of our times…

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

It is a sad commentary on the state of world affairs that the political initiatives of a rock star or Hollywood actress are taken more seriously than those of a seasoned statesman. But that is the perverse reality when it comes to the global fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS and unconscionable poverty throughout the developing world.

Only this explains the President of Sierra Leone drooling over Angelina Jolie last week as he promised HER immediate action on redressing human rights abuses in his country. This, after rejecting repeated appeals by President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa to do just that!

UN Ambassador of Goodwill Angelina Jolie shows-off why she’s proving so persuasive as an international diplomat…

Only this explains Western leaders, including U.S. President George W. Bush, fawning over rock star Bono earlier this year as they promised HIM debt relief for African nations.  This, after rejecting repeated pleas by President Obasanjo of Nigeria (and even Nelson Mandela) to do just that!

Rock Star Bono lecturing on Third World debt relief and poverty alleviation to a rapt audience of world leaders including former US President Bill Clinton and South African President Thabo Mbeki…

Or, on a more farcical but no less instructive note, only this explains the national crisis now brewing in Israel because the foreign minister’s wife was denied a chance to meet Madonna during her recent visit to the Holy Land.

Alas, worshiping celebrities is not merely the avocation of giddy teenage girls; because world leaders seem equally enthralled by these latter-day performing saints.

Even more surreal, however, is that these erstwhile statesmen seem willing to grant almost any concession to bask in the reflected glow of celebrity crooners and make believe artists.

Now, if we can only get Paris Hilton to take-up the cause of nuclear non-proliferation….

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