Bob Geldof has branded world leaders including Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin “gang bosses”, as he slated the rise of nationalism and populism.
The rocker and long-standing political activist claimed the presidents of the US and Russia, along with Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, gained their authority “through force and fear”.
He said people are now living in “very dangerous times”, a situation he said had been brewing for the past decade.
Addressing the One Young World summit in The Hague on Thursday, he said: “In country after country, populists and nationalists are either in or close to power.
“The characteristics of these people are a myopia, a tunnel vision, a blindness and entrenched ignorance, which is in fact the exact opposite of what society requires now, particularly of its leaders, which is wisdom, intuition and foresight.”
He added: “Leaders today believe in few or no facts, which is the central core of the postmodernism that defines our age. There is no truth, uncertainty is spread everywhere and people and society become fearful. This is where we are.
“Putin and Erdogan, Trump and Xi Jinping, Orban. All these people are not leaders. They’re gang bosses. Their authority comes through force and fear.”
Geldof called on the young people in the audience to be the leaders of tomorrow, saying they could not afford to fail in a challenge requiring the world to be “reinvented, made afresh, made anew for this century”.
He said: “You will succeed us old men and women who have already failed. But remember this, all generations fail. All. And some more spectacularly than others. But you, you are the first generation that cannot and must not fail. So much is at stake.”
Geldof has addressed the young people’s summit each year since it was first held in 2009.
Since then speakers have included Meghan Markle, before she became the Duchess of Sussex, actor and activist Emma Watson, and former US president Bill Clinton.