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Lookin’ for a new cover

Like everyone, Guardian has spent this week looking aghast at events in Libya: the violence, the bloodshed — and Gaddafi’s insistence that everyone taking part in the demonstrations is on “hallucination pills”, as if the whole thing is being orchestrated by Hawkwind.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2011 23:14 IST

Like everyone, Guardian has spent this week looking aghast at events in Libya: the violence, the bloodshed — and Gaddafi’s insistence that everyone taking part in the demonstrations is on “hallucination pills”, as if the whole thing is being orchestrated by Hawkwind. And, with every news report that arrives, the same unanswered question presents itself. Will these people not think at all of the careers of Lionel Richie, Beyoncé and Mariah Carey? Standing up and courageously fighting for freedom, human rights and democracy in the face of almost unimaginable horror is all well and good, but what about the human right of the world’s leading r’n’b stars to make vast sums by performing at the behest of a tyrannical dictator and his family?

If the Gaddafi regime falls, who will bankroll enormous gigs of the kind played by Richie in the grounds of the Bab al-Azizia barracks in 2006? Wouldn’t it be a pity if his son were too distracted by political events to arrange the annual New Year’s Eve gig on St Barts that in 2009 paid Beyoncé a reported $2m for five songs and the year before played host to Carey and Timbaland?

Let’s have a little perspective here! Guardian looks the protesters in the eye and asks: are you sure your struggle to free yourself is worth disrupting Beyoncé’s schedule for? We are aware of the carping voices that suggest Richie, Beyoncé et al should have thought twice about associating themselves with the Gaddafi regime in the first place. To them, it can only say: the benefit of hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

Come on! You think Richie’s got time to read every human rights report in the world? He’s got a busy touring schedule. And in the case of Beyoncé and Carey, it wasn’t even Gaddafi himself who organised the gig: it was his sons, most notably the Hannibal Gaddafi, who has put some clear blue water between himself and his father by rigorously avoiding behaving like the violent, spoilt son of a dictator.

Guardian has a message for the performers involved: nil desperandum! The Gaddafi family might not be organising any gigs for the future, but there’s plenty more music-loving dictators in the sea! Robert Mugabe is a fan of Cliff Richard. And Mahmoud Ahmadinejad likes Chris de Burgh. Come on Beyoncé! Sort out a cover of ‘Congratulations’ and get yourself over to Harare! The Guardian