Mr. Bombastic comes to COP15

December 8, 2009 at 6:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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While I knew I would run into some unexpected people here in Copenhagen, I never thought one would be Shaggy.   The Jamaican rap star, famous for singing about how his girlfriend caught him with another woman “banging on the bathroom floor” headlined the opening concert.  Suddenly all of us– uptight Nordics and tired delegates, were grinding and waving our hands in the air. It was liberating.  Shaggy and Akon (who didn’t show) were the grand finale, but before him Youssou N’dour, Angelique Kidjo and Khaled played, all of them legends in Africa.  I could not believe I was listening to original  ‘Aisha‘ that plays on repeat in sleepy tourist bars and cars across Africa.

When I told my brother about my new found admiration for Shaggy, he reminded me that ten years ago in 1999 we were at a similar concert in Seattle.   Spearhead was playing the night before the opening of the famous World Trade Organization meeting that gave a new connotation to our city’s name.  I was 19, and I remember watching the concert with my skin tingling thinking: this is why artists are so important, they come to these events and sing on behalf of the people, they can project more emotion than any protesters carrying signs in the streets. I was having a revelation about the role of artists in society.

Last night I had no such thoughts.  I reflected about the implications of public relations for the artists and the conference, that it was too bad more people had not come (we had a huge stadium to fill), how challenging it must of been to get all those artists in one place– and– how the real decision-makers, the delegates, were probably still in meetings or finally sitting down for a meal.

Shaggy did not really say why he had come to Copenhagen, I think he may have half-mumbled something like “climate change is bad”.  But that is OK.  I must admit I am still a bit baffled at people who can spew out all the acronyms necessary for this meeting.  But looking back to 1999, I have had the priviledge of  going to so many of these global meetings that my senses are dulled.  Or maybe it’s not just me, but the multilateral system too is worn; everyone knows the pattern and is burnt out.  It is so tedious to agree among nations and ultimately insufficient.   All of this is about money and power and somehow a frame of consensus is placed over it.  God help us.  Shaggy help us too.

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  1. […] Despite the big line-up, the turn out for the concert wasn’t high, but the concert will be broadcast in over 40 countries. You can read reviews in the New York Times, Copenhagen Post and at Com 4 Dev. […]

  2. […] can read reviews in the New York Times, Copenhagen Post, COP 15 Post and at Com 4 Dev. Comments […]


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