Monday, October 30, 2006
In defense of Madonna
All aboard the Madonna-bashing wagon! Or at least that's the way it has seemed since we got wind that Madonna was with child -- an adopted child at that -- a child she and husband Guy Ritchie are adopting from the poverty-stricken African nation of Malawi.

"Madonna skirted the law!" her angry detractors roared. "She beat the system!" they huffed and puffed with the sort of indignity usually reserved for far more nefarious deeds.

OK. Let's take a breath here and play a little game we'll call "Change the name to protect the innocent."

Suppose it had been Oprah Winfrey who did what Madonna did. One day, this story goes, Oprah tells her audience she has decided to give a beautiful child a wonderful life. And not just any child. A child in Malawi, one of the poorest nations on Earth (as Madonna did), in which more than 1 million are orphans. A child whose mother died soon after childbirth. And as this story goes, the father of the child is willing to give up his little boy so he may live a life far better than he could ever imagine.

"But wait!" declares Oprah. There is more. "I am concerned about all the children of Malawi, especially the orphaned children," she announces to the roars of approval from her studio audience. And then Oprah also pledges to donate $3 million to orphanages in Malawi (as Madonna did). And given this is an urgent matter, she is getting on a plane pronto to pluck this poor child from Malawi while her assistants take care of the paperwork.

Does anyone doubt that the news stories that followed would bear headlines the likes of "Oprah To The Rescue!", "St. Oprah!" and "Oprah's Love Spares Child!"

The point is, of course, that those who are caught up in the pleasures of red tape and bureaucracy fail to fully absorb that, in the end, we can not forget the child -- in this case 13-month old David Banda. Let's not forget the child. After all, isn't that what really matters?

Prof. Stanford Mukasa of SW Radio Africa News gets right to the point when he writes, "The underlying motive behind this battle would appear to be the fact that Madonna has now been cast into the stereotype of her lifestyle as a pop diva."

So let's STOP the Madonna bashing and START thinking about David.
You couldn't be more right... She's going to be helping this child more than anyone in this world could. I don't think she's doing anything wrong.
First off, to give an underpriveleged child a better life is certainly commendable and admirable. I don't think the human rights people are against giving children better lives and I don't think they have forgotten about David. I suppose, for a lot of people, myself included, there is something a bit "off" with this particular adoption in that it is a real tragedy when the poor must give up their children so that the little ones can have better lives. Madonna is quoted as saying many times that she is "providing David with a life". The truth is, David's life, albeit a poverty-stricken one, was given to him by his parents before she swept in to save the day. The truth is, he BELONGS to someone, his father. If Madonna really wanted to make a difference in his life, she could have provided David's father with the means to provide for his son. It seems that the reason David was placed in an orphanage was because his father was poor and could not take care of him... not because he did not love his son.
I just think that there is something incredibly horrible about the fact that the right to have children and raise a family appears to be a privilege of the rich. I know his father gave him up willingly, however, no one deserves to have their children taken away from them, even if it is under the facade of generosity and goodwill.
Thank you for a refreshing take on this "controversial" issue. I also, don't understand the havne't been able to stand all the hoopla around it. The woman is saving a child, who otherwise would spend his life in an orphanage....and she is helping many others orphans in the country through her generous monetary gift. Would these so-called human rights groups rather see little David stay in that orphanage or return home to a father who admittedly is so poor he cannot afford to feed him? I'm just not sure what alternatives they are proposing here. And yes, perhaps Madonna's case is being expedited, but that's what money can do. The other question to the naysayers is...have any of them recently donated millions of dollars to save orphans in a developing country? I didn't think so.
I think this case is unique in that David already has a loving father. Why couldn't Madonna with her new found generosity have given his biological father the resources to raise the child?
There is nothing wrong with Madonna adopting a child. The problem lies in the skirting the law. There a thousands of eligible parents waiting to give a loving home to a child in the US, but they simply are not able to "donate" $3 Million to get a child. There are people who have been on waiting lists for years to give a loving home to a child, and Madonna can simply write a cheque? This does little more than promote a black market for children.
On another note. Again, I am sure Madonna will provide aloving home for this child. But now the child has gone from one extreme to another. This child has been brought up in a poor nation, with little to eat, and no media attention. So he has had a somewhat "Normal" life for his surroundings. Now He will be brought into a life of Paparozzi and scandle? Is this really the best environment for a child? Sure Madonna can afford to protect him, and have him homeschooled and basically not live the life of your average american. Is this fair to anyone?
So Yes...Lets start thinking of David!
Perhaps David should be going to a home with a loving mother and father of an average family. One perhaps that doesn't have a mother who has posed nude, or been in erotic movies. Lets do whats best for the child
Akasha from Oak Park...You are forgetting the news story (I obviously cannot verify if it is true) that while David's father gave him up because he loved him, he also never visited him while he was in the orphanage. It costs money to feed children and provide basic necessities; it doesn't cost money to give a hug now and again. And people all over the world (including the United States) give up children for financial reasons. If someone wealthy wants to adopt an American child, should the potential adoptive parents first see if the birth parents want a million dollars so they can raise the child instead?
Bravo for saying what so many were thinking! I think it's disgusting the way the media attacked Madonna for her pure and kind generosity, but at the bottom of it we see the true nature of journalism - whatever it takes to make a buck, even if it's slandering blessed mitzvot - let these reporters do tshuva and learn from her.

Journalists should, like Ricky Martin has, take note of the other starving orphans in Malawi and use this opportunity to promote their cause. Madonna's message has been lost because of the poor state of the modern media. Let her light be heard and others follow her example!
I don't understand the charitable organizations that oppose Madonna's adoption. They concern themselves with the legality of the process. Where were these organizations when this child, David needed medication for pnemonia? Why was Madonna able to take him to a clinic in his country for medicine and the 67 agencies opposing this adoption did not? Are they not concerned for David"s rights like they pretend to be? How about his right to live? Also, instead of fighting Madonna in court they should spend their time and resources on all the other orphans whom they have failed to provide basic medical needs and get off the political bandwagon. Is this what our charitble dollars goes to support?
To say "[i]f Madonna really wanted to make a difference in his life, she could have provided David's father with the means to provide for his son" is highly unfair. What about the three million dollars she is donating to provide for these children already? If she gave money to David's father, would that solve the problem? What about the millions of other children who need "a life"? What she is doing is a wonderful gift. You should try it.
As an adoptive mom, I have to agree with Peter in Nova Scotia. I am not pro or anti-Madonna. What I am is concerned that her actions may cause even more legal difficulties for the thousands (and I do mean thousands) of parents all over the world who are seeking to adopt. Those parents have taken classes, gone through home studies, gotten clearances from their governments, traveled to the countries of their future children's birth. They have followed the processes and laws of those countries, met their future children, waited for court dates, 10-day waiting periods, etc. They have applied to embassies, gotten physicals, passports & visas for their now adopted children. Then, and only then, have they been allowed to return to their own countries with their newly adopted children.

Every time one of these movie stars or famous people circumvent the laws of a country to adopt, they place at risk all of the hopeful adoptive parents and the futures of prospective adoptive children. More and more levels of red tape will be added so that the ordinary run of the mill adoptive parent or parents may or may not be able to afford to seek adoption. The Madonnas and Angelinas of the world may very well keep the regular Janes and Joes from succeeding in their dream of adopting a child or children simply because they have the money and clout to get their way regardless of the law! The law should be the law for all!!!!
Well said, Cydney! I applaud your approach. Just WHERE were they? And the same goes to the first comment, where we were asked to imagine it was Oprah who did this instead of Madonna.
"START thinking of David"...hmm... let's just do that. Let's see. How long will it be before he realises that his mom is a shame, a person who shares responsibility for the destruction of youth culture; one who promotes any sort of vulgarity and mockery of the good, desicration of the sacred? There are worse things than poverty and death.
Hi, thanks for all that, I share your intentions completely.

I don't think it's about rights, let politicians deal with rights. Do you know that saving Jews in Poland in 1940-45 was against the law? Would you just let them die because of a stupid legislation?

David will be better with a slightly eccentric but very generous mother than he would ever be in his country.
At the end of the day this child would soon be dead if Madonna didn't step forward...even if she did get any kind of special treatment, WHO CARES...she is helping a child....if everyone who had money and power opened up their homes and their wallets we would have a lot less homeless, dying children in the world...SHE IS DOING A GOOD THING....PERIOD
Most of the people criticising the adoption are bitter bitter people who can't get a child of their own (it's obvious.) How anyone can speak negatively about this is beyond me? The average life span of an orpaned child(yes orphaned, david is an orphaned child despite his father) - in Molawi is 5 years old. David will have the opportunity to medical attention for his pneomonia, schooling, he'll be able to play, the options are limitless for him. What seems "off" about that? You people are discouraging other people from doing the same and that's a travesty.
Yes, maybe Baby David should go home to a loving mother and a father of an average family. Oh, but here's a thought...what if that family never comes? LEAVE MADONNA ALONE!!!!
I agree with most of the feedback here that the "family" (the boy and his father) should have received the financial support from Madonna to be a family. This completely smacks of how America handles poor families, instead of providing the aid to keep poor families together, they send the kids to an orphanage and the parents to live on the streets. Contgrats Madonna for aligning with the worst values America has to offer poor families. Even it if it had been Ohh...pra or anyother person (celebrity) or not with financial means it would not change my opinion. The celebrity thing always cuts "one way", when they get praise they want more of it, when the get criticized.. "they want their privacy". I am so sick of people looking up to "celebrities" who make no contribution to day-to-day life and their pat-themselves-on-the-back award shows, etc. People should just ignore the people "who got lucky" with some record or film company cause that's all it is. There are far more talented artists than those that these corporation-media-machines produce (let's all ignore the celebrities and maybe they'll just go away...including Oprah).
Not only do I agree with all the people that commented on the fact that Madonna is doing a wonderful thing for this boy but he will also grow up to be the richest, best advocate for human rights for his country ever. These activists are spending way to much time and effort in the wrong areas. Not to mention the fact that both the government and Madonna stated that she wasn't allowed any short cuts and did everything by the law.
Let's face it. Many are jumping to conclusions that she 'skirted' the law that has resulted to all these bashing simply because she is Madonna.

If it has been any other media darling we won't be hearing any of this.

Well at least this woman is doing something. What have the rest of you blabbermouths done lately to make someone else's life a little better?

Grisel Garcia
The problem is not that she has so much and he so little. The problem is why she felt the necessity to travel to another COUNTRY to find someone to help. God bless David Banda and his family and his forbears, but it appears to be a blatant call for some extremely positive (I'm really just a regular wife/mother/internationally recognizable by 1st name only) attention on her part. This is not the only way to get it, but it seems to be a 'trend' right now. Thanks to Angelina, who I believe sincerely cares about others who are not as fortunate, some riders on the bandwagon have other issues to dispel. Guy will appear to be the bad guy if he leaves her now. A tiger does not change its stripes. Madonna is ONLY about Madonna. Why the need to export kabbalah if the case is otherwise? Let's just continue to confuse the masses, shall we?
Bravo Dave Levine!! Finally someone remembers the child David Banda. You are so right in your observation. I get so tired of the small mindedness of we Americans. The big deal shouldn't be whether Madonna adopts a poor child. It should be about our poor soldiers dying in Irak.
The process behind "saving the child" faintly echoes the same egotistical views that tore Aborigine children from their homes & families in order to give them a better life. Madonna could have sponsored David (along with a Nanny or probably even a set of parents, for that matter) with much less hoopla and at considerable less expense, while at the same time improving David's life and those of those caring for him and eliminated the need to remove him from his country---IF David's interests were the primary interest.

If one chooses to give aid (regardless of the amount) to those who are suffering, do so. The intrigue stemming from celebrity adoptions and donations is a bit disheartening when there are so many people giving within their means with no need of such recognition.
Madonna is doing something good for one child and all I hear is accusations from her detractors. How selfish and how unkind to bring Madonna down at a time she is showing compassion on a needy child. The name Africa is like a rotten egg to some people. If Madonna had gone to Asia- China for one no one would have said all the ugly things been said. Madonna go to Sierra Leone and adopt an orphan child of that country's ten year war, or to Liberia, Ivory Coast, Congo and many other African nations if you choose. All those angered by that adoption are like terrorist, who hate every good that the world needs.
Thank you Dave. This Madonna adoption has been cheapened by the press from a beautiful thing to something they've tried to portray as ugly and malicious. It has been sickening to watch. Madonna and Guy fell in love with this child - plain and simple, and are giving him life. Because of who she is, she's been hounded, the child's father has been hounded. Press, use a little conscience and leave these people alone. I hate the fact that something beautiful has been turned ugly because the press nowdays seems to thrive on negativity and maliciousness. For shame! Congratulations Madonna, Guy and family on your adorable little boy.
My question is this...where were these so call protectors of the the process while David was languishing in this orphanage with malaria and tubercleosus. Where is their outrage that more people are not doing more to help the million + children that are still in orphanages in the region. Why not dovetail what she did by highlighting the plight of the children and encouraging more aid to the region. As for Madonna not leaving David with his father and supporting him to earn enough money to feed David, we have to remember that even with adequate funds to raise David and his siblings, David would still have far less opportunity to thrive than he would if he were blessed with the opportunity of being raised and educated by a foreign family.

Fine, you may not agree with how she adopted this boy, but ask yourself if you really believe that it was done for any reason other than to give a child a chance at a fantastic future with every possibility open to him. What exactly is wrong with that?
David's father abandoned him. None of his family came to see him since his birth (or the death of his mother). Madonna basically saved this kid from potential death. Yea, there may be hundreds, thousands more in the same situation but isn't it noble to at least save 1 life?
TO THE CRITICS- Leave Madonna and her family alone. She has done a brave and loving deed in adopting the child.
I couldn't agree more. Stop the Madonna bashing and think of the child. How many critics out there are willing to adopt a child from Malawi?? Come on, raise your hands. Not many hands up huh? So, stop critizing someone who is trying to make a difference and be happy for her family and the adopted child.
Thanks a Zillion Madonna,
Where are the hundreds of human rights groups with their millions of dollars funding and we still have million of children in orphanage homes.
I believed the intention of Madonna has been thwarted by the international media. The additional donation of $3milllion to help million of orphans in Malawi is a giant step forward. The issue at stake is David, and once David is taken care of, we should happy and that the plights of orphans have been highlighted.
How can anybody critize anyone that wants to take an orphan into their home & give it comfort, security & mostly love? Don't these people have better things to do but complain, complain & complain. I salute any of the celebrities that want to take a child into their homes & give them a great life & nourish them to be healthy & loving adults!!
I think all those people who have negative comments regarding Madonna and David should shut up or put up. When was the last time they donated anything to anyone. Madonna will give this child a wonderful life. He will not have to experience hunger and will have parents who love him and a brother and sister. Madonna's children seem to be fine so let that go.
If Madonna received special treatment so be it. I can't imagine anyone who had the means to make a child's life better wouldn't use their finances to do so. It would be a good idea for Madonna to let David stay in touch with his father. Madonna seems to be a follower of Kabballah and I can't imagine she wouldn't make efforts to teach David about his heritage.
ANY WAY, THOSE WHO CRITICIZE SHOULD SHUT UP OR PUT UP.
I think it is great that Madonna (or anyone) cares for the helpless. Many do care for persons in need in our society and around the world. Most don't get front page news for their love and support of others, but do so quietly and with dignity. I recall a statement made by Madonna many years ago. The statement had to do with her desire to have people either love her or hate her. She apparently did not want people to be neutral about how she presented herself. Apparently, there are still people who may have chosen not to love her. She appears to purposefully create controversy to garner attention and record sales, but then presents herself as surprised when others challenge her motives with this child? She appears to be surprised that she is reaping what she has sown.
Dave Levine,

You could not have said it any other way! Stop bashing Madonna! She has her own life just like any other person and chose to help out a little orphaned child and then some! She might not be a saint, only human and whatever her lifestyle, fact is... that child will be more than well taken care of! Leave Madonna the hell alone you bashing bash of hell raisers!!! Mind your own business and while you are at it, why not start up a vendetta against Ophrah for having so much money and not bothering to adopt herself! Bottom line is, i admire these women who have the ends & means to adopt these poor children.
Finally someone who talks about the princple of the issue. I'm not even a Madonna fan, in fact I don't like her music. But in my opinion (which I'm sure means the world to everyon) if Madonna used her money and her influence to adopt a child from africa, while others might have to wait longer, is not a bad thing. At least she didn't spend the money to buy a plane, car, dress, house, etc. Something she might already have 10 of. Come on people IF she spent 3 million to adopt this child, and hopefully that money goes to good use, then no one has a right to say anything about it. Period.
Whether postitive or negative, the barage of press surrounding the Madonna adoption has certainly served to push Malawi and its plights into the spotlight. Perhaps this will ultimately help to create some political pressures internationally that will cause something more substantial than individual (however generous) donations to head that way. So, perhaps the media has done something good in spite of its own best efforts.
I don't think it's anybody else's business or concern or that anyone has the right to 'weigh in' on what another individual, who has worked to live a privileged life, chooses to do with the resources they have available to them.

Why do people get to even have an opinion on this?
When it came to comparing how it would have been if it was Oprah instead of Madonna, it's COMPLETELY true.
Madonna should not be bashed for this & to find out she donating $3 million dollars as well, give the lady a break!! I don't see men running out & adopting children, trying to give them better homes/lives, so all the men bashing Maddona keep yer damn traps shut, at least she's trying to help!
Madonna is no Oprah!
If Madonna really wanted to "save an orphan", why didn't she adopt one? David has a living parent who wants to give his child a good life. Madonna could have made that financially possible AND adopted a child who was truly an orphan, thus making a huge difference in three lives.
Even though I am not a huge Madonna fan and I don't agree with her current musical production. I feel that she has taken a lot of grief trying to do something that is honorable and that will be in the best interest of the child she is adopting. I pray that she and her husband will love this child as her own flesh and blood and raise him to have great moral values and love God as the same with her other two children. May God bless you Madonna the same as you bless others.
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Occasional musings and gab about the world of entertainment.
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