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Friday, May 29, 2020

Going Bongo

What was UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom referring to?

 

This morning we published an article about Godfrey Bloom MEP’s now notorious “Bongo Bongo Land” comments. We’ve received both positive and negative responses directly and on Twitter and thus thought we better delve into the possible meanings of the phrase.

 

Could Godfrey Bloom have been referring to the western or lowland bongo, Tragelaphus eurycerus eurycerus?
Could Godfrey Bloom have been referring to the western or lowland bongo, Tragelaphus eurycerus eurycerus?

Some, such as @davidwearing, a researcher on UK foreign policy who writes for The Guardian and The New Statesman, responded and argued that “Bongo Bongo Land is the parts of the 3rd world inhabited black and brown people”. He added that it is “an unambigulously racis[t] term” and that our columnist Vladimir Lavrentiev had a “a relaxed attitude to it’s [sic] use”.

 

Others, such as Pete Wayde, who has left 120 comments on our various articles to date, took a different view. In a posting directly beneath the article, Wayde suggested:

 

“I believe Bloom to be considerably acuter than the media make out. The leaders of African countries have an abysmal record in relation to thieving aid money from us and their people. If you took a straw poll I suspect 99% of those questioned here in the UK would echo his sentiment, if not the way he conveyed it… though I doubt even that causes much concern. Choosing Bongo Bongo land to describe these inept and corrupt countries is fair comment”.

 

In response to the criticism he received, Bloom made a statement of his own. We publish it here:

 

“At a public speech in the West Midlands in early July I used a term which I subsequently gather under certain circumstances could be interpreted as pejorative to individuals and possibly cause offence. Although quite clearly no such personal usage was intended, I understand from UKIP Party Chairman Steve Crowther and leader Nigel Farage that I must not use the terminology in the future, nor will I and sincerely regret any genuine offence which might have been caused or embarrassment to my colleagues”.

 

“My aim, successful as it appears, was to demonstrate the immorality of sending £1 billion per month abroad when we are desperately short of money here. Ring fenced overseas aid at nearly 0.7% of estimated GDP growth next year, some to buy arms – Mirage fighters in Argentina is just one example”.

Some definitions of the word "bongo"
Some definitions of the word “bongo”

 

Whatever your thoughts, there are some other possibilities as to “Bongo Bongo Land’s” meanings and we display them in the image above. Before we all go “bloomin’ bonkers”, let’s realise that Godfrey Bloom could actually have meant something entirely different.

 

 

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