Bob Geldof, centre, with Dublin City Cllr Mannix Flynn, left, Dublin City Council official Oonagh Casey, outside Dublin City Hall this morning
Outside Dublin City Hall.
Bob Geldof holds his Freedom of the City of Dublin award before giving it back.
Mr Geldof said he does not want to be associated with the award while it is also held by Aung San Suu Kyi.
He explained his reasons to RTE’s Sean O’Rourke this morning, saying:
“Because I don’t want, I know this sounds pious, I don’t know how to not make it sound pious but I don’t want to be on a very select row of wonderful people and be honoured thus, myself, of which I’m very proud. And I don’t want to be on it with a killer.
“Someone who is, at best, a handmaiden to genocide and an accomplice to murder.
“And I know that sounds grandstanding but forgive me if that’s the case. I don’t actually want to do this because, as I said, I’m very proud of that specific award.
“But I was over, last night, I introduced Samantha Power, at the Abbey and she was Obama’s ambassador to the UN and she wrote the bible on genocide in her book which is Genocide and US Policy.
“I’m also a founding patron of a thing called the Aegis Trust who deal with genocide prevention and genocide studies and they built the National Holocaust Museum in the UK and, on the first national Holocaust Memorial Day in Britain, I spoke at Westminster.
“But, even beyond that, when Aung San Suu Kyi was lauded by Dublin, when she arrived and this city extravagantly welcomed her, I sang welcome and spoke welcomely. They asked me to make a speech to her on the stage [inaudible] theatre when she was there and you feel duped.
“You know? I mean, that’s personally, you feel a chump, like you’ve been taken for a ride. Now that seems very petty in the face of 600,000 people being bombed out of their strewed homes, mass rape, killing of the males and being forced to cross impenetrable borders to another country.
“It seems very petty but, it’s all I can do…
“…She’s now a pariah, nobody’s touched her. I spoke at length with Amnesty, with the head of Amnesty about this and would it in any way help. He just returned, literally just returned a week ago from there and he said: you’ve got to do it, Bob, because it’s just appalling.
“I spoke to this in Bogota in Columbia three weeks ago or four weeks, or whatever it was, I had to do something there, and I spoke to it. So it’s not as if this came out of the blue.
“It’s all I can do, Sean. It’s all I can do, you know, that’s it. And it’s my little thing and it will not make one wit of difference, I understand that but you’re political niceties, Sean, in the face of brutal oppression, you know, spare me.
“Spare me sophistry.”
Listen back in full here
Earlier: Take It Back
Bob Geldof inside City Hall.