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Old 03-15-2003, 01:21 PM   #1
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Some More Understanding Of Bono's Position Between Iraq and Africa

Found at U2log.com:

March 14, 2003
Third world debt, AIDS, famine and Africa
From the Nouvel Observateur.

Bono: ďIím declaring war on the forgotten war.Ē

The Irish rock star is battling tirelessly for the third world. He harasses the pope, George Bush, the IMF or the World Bank, and today Jacques Chirac to get rich countries to cancel the debt of poor countries. Meet this pragmatic utopian.


Bono is at war. At war against AIDS that is laying Africa to waste, at war against the debt that suffocates the third world. A few days ago, he and Jacques Chirac spoke for an hour and a half about world affairs. A unique summit meeting between a President of the French Republic and a rock star, both of whom are nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Irish singer from U2, who can lay claim to the title of ďbiggest rock group in the worldĒ (more than 60 million dollars earned last year, ahead of the Beatles, 4 Grammy awards, 100 million albums sold) was awarded the Legion of Honor for his work towards third world debt relief and his fight against AIDS in Africa.

Paul David Hewson, 42 in May (sic) ó nicknamed Bono Vox by his Dublin friends after the name of a store which sold hearing aids, today the spokesman of DATA (Debt, Aids and Trade for Africa in Return of Democracy, Accountability and Transparency in Africa) ó was arguing for an African Marshall Plan. He left the Elysee Palace with the promise that the forgotten continent will be the priority at the next G8 summit. Better, Chirac committed to do everything possible, they say, to bring an end to third world debt.

But if the gulf between western prosperity and the misery of the world were to be filled in tomorrow, that would also be thanks to Bonoís fight. Time ran the headline a few months ago: Can Bono Save the Third World? (sic). The self-educated singer hasnít put his pilgrimís staff down for 20 years. Spiritual like Lennon, human like Springsteen, a rebel like Manu Chao, Bono, the son of the divisive union of a Protestant mother and a Catholic father, has proclaimed his credo everywhere: Music can change the world. From Sunday Bloody Sunday, a pacifist hymn to the Londonderry dead, to the ďMLKĒ tribute to Martin Luther King, from Miss Sarajevo to Peace on Earth, Bono wields spirituality (with the Bible as his main inspiration) like a Kalashnikov. He preaches compassionate rage and responsibility.

Famine in Ethiopia, Live Aid, apartheid, Irish unemployment, Amnesty International, Nicaragua, AIDS, Rushdie (who joined him onstage), NetAid, etc. It wasnít enough for Bono to sing for a good cause. He joined action to words, such as when he brought together David Trimble (the unionist head, Prostestant) and John Hume (the nationalist head, Catholic) onstage in Belfast in 1993 and got them to shake hands for the first time. Bono understands the weight of symbols and the price of his image: ďIím very happy to use my celebrity, but itís not cheap.Ē Trading off the modern showbiz game without a qualm, the rock star has put himself at the service of his ideals. ďIím not a hippie. I think about moving things along piece by piece. Iím a pragmatist,Ē he says.

His real political work began in 1985 during the Ethiopian famine. With Bob Geldof, the musician who organized Live Aid, he spent a month in a refugee camp. It was an experience that changed his life and resonated instantly on the day in 1998 when a representative of Jubilee 2000, leaders of the campaign for third world debt forgiveness, explained to him that fine, Live Aid raised 200 million dollars, but Africa was paying that much in five days just to service their debts.

Bono jumped right in then, got allies, analysed, argued, put dossiers together, and visited all the planetís big shots to convince them with his well-tested arguments. He got the ear of Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and John Paul II, spoke up at the UN and Davod. A relentless advocate, he pestered the IMF and the World Bank. And donít forget the fieldwork, like last June when he took the American Secretary of the Treasury with him on a 12 day Africa tour to Uganda, South Africa, Ghana and Ethiopia, where he piled up visits to schools and hospitals to prove that ďcanceling poor countriesí debts is not a bad idea.Ē

At the present time, if he doesnít approve of war in Iraq, Bono thinks that terrorism is also born of famine and AIDS, which kills 2.5 million Africans every year. And that that injustice is where the biggest threat to world peace is to be found.

Nouvel Observateur: What did you come to ask Chirac?
Bono: Next year 2.5 million Africans are going to die of AIDS because they donít have access to drugs that are available in industrialized countries. I came to make sure he was going to put AIDS in Africa on the agenda of the next G8 summit in Evian. And he promised he would; he told me he wanted to make that one of the key points of the meeting. Itís urgent. Itís a real war unfolding in front of our eyes.

N.O.: The war on everyoneís mind now is the one against Iraq. Do you think this is a good time to kick off your campaign?
Bono: More than ever. The war on AIDS is the other war, the forgotten war. Iím very moved, seeing hundreds of millions of people demonstrating against war in Iraq and worrying about the loss of human life that could result. But what I canít believe is that these same people arenít demonstrating for the millions of Africans who will die, year after year. If this were going on anywhere but Africa, millions of people would be out in the streets.

N.O: People will accuse you of doing ďcharity business.Ē
Bono: This isnít charity. It isnít philanthropy. Itís a question of justice and equality, thatís all. Africa already has to confront natural disasters, and itís also confronted by the gangrene of corruption. But weíre supporting that corruption through unfair trade relationships. Iíll say it again, this isnít about charity, itís about equality. Weíve got drugs, we should make them available to everyone. An image comes to mind often for me about this epidemic. Itís the bubonic plague, which ravaged Europe in the middle ages. Imagine that the Chinese back then had discovered a cure, but they refused to help Europe because it was too expensive. How would we have judged China? How would history have judged China? Thatís exactly whatís going on for the West. Weíve got to act, to react.

N.O. You did an African tour with Paul OíNeill who used to be the Treasury Secretary of the Bush administration. What were the results?
Bono: The results were very concrete, because a little later in his State of the Union address, George Bush devoted time to this question of AIDS in Africa. He discussed antiretroviral drugs. Six months earlier, it would have been unthinkable that a member of the Republican administration could say that kind of thing. Even more important, he put 16 million dollars (sic) on the table, in other words an increase of 10 million dollars over 5 years. Thatís a doubling of what America spends on AIDS at home and abroad.

N. O. What do you say to the attitude of this same American administration, when they dangle assistance in front of African countries like Angola in exchange for their vote to support the US at the UN?
Bono: Engaging in that kind of tradeoff is just unacceptable.

N.O. Youíve met George Bush and Colin Powell before. What would you say to them today?
Bono: Iíd say the enemy I dread the most in the world isnít a military one, but the illness called AIDS. Not to stamp out this epidemic is playing into the hands of terrorism. Itís in that kind of distress that terrorism takes root. Iíd also ask them: we know now what youíre against. Could you tell us what youíre for?

NO: What do you think of Tony Blairís outlook?
Bono: Heís the greatest English Prime Minister in 50 years. Heís done extraordinary things for Great Britain. When my friends are amazed to hear me talk that way, I tell them: So did you already forget Margaret Thatcher? Youíve forgotten how awful life was under that government? Iíll say it again, Tony Blairís a great leader. His convictions on Iraq are very sincere, but I think heís sincerely wrong.

N.O Youíve fought, and you continue to fight, for third world debt cancellation. Does getting a Marshall Plan for Africa underway appear more urgent to you than war in Iraq?
Bono: Of course! Itís the only thing Iím fighting for. During the Cold War, the Marshall Plan wasnít only designed to help with the reconstruction of Europe; it was also supposed to build a wall against communism. Africa needs to become the new front line. We should fight AIDS there, send the drugs we have here in rich countries. We need to invest in Africa, invest in peopleís lives, in their future, in our future. We ought to end unfair trade. France has a lot to do on that score. The capitalist system canít be satisfied with storing up profits, it also has to assume repsonsibilities. Anyway, that system isnít working for the majority of people in the world. So itíll collapse. There will be rebellion. There ought to be rebellion. These AIDS drugs are the best publicity we can do for our innovation, our creativity. And theyíre a lot cheaper than bullets.

N.O. Your father is Catholic, your mother Protestant. Is religion a source of inspiration to you?
Bono: Iím a pragmatist. I confront the world the way it is, because Iím an activist. But it does happen that I use the Bible as a weapon. When Iím dealing with American fundamentalists, I keep telling them that there are 2103 verses in Scripture about the poor, and Jesus speaks of judgment only once. And itís not judgment on sexuality or morals. Itís a judgment about poverty. I reminded George Bush of this passage in Matthew chapter 25 where itís written: ďFor I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.Ē The people who are listening answer ďbut when did we see you hungry and feed you?Ē And then Jesus tells them, ďTruly, every time you did it for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.Ē So there: thatís what remains for us to do.

(Translation kindly provided by Dre)
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Old 03-15-2003, 02:32 PM   #2
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Great read, thank you!

SD
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Old 03-15-2003, 03:19 PM   #3
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Thanks!!!
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Old 03-15-2003, 04:11 PM   #4
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Re: Some More Understanding Of Bono's Position Between Iraq and Africa

Quote:
Originally posted by Michael Griffiths
I keep telling them that there are 2103 verses in Scripture about the poor, and Jesus speaks of judgment only once. And itís not judgment on sexuality or morals. Itís a judgment about poverty. I reminded George Bush of this passage in Matthew chapter 25 where itís written: ďFor I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.Ē The people who are listening answer ďbut when did we see you hungry and feed you?Ē And then Jesus tells them, ďTruly, every time you did it for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.Ē So there: thatís what remains for us to do.
I love this part.

And LOL @ this
Quote:
So did you already forget Margaret Thatcher? Youíve forgotten how awful life was under that government?
It's always good to hear people criticising Maggie

Thanks for posting the article
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Old 03-15-2003, 04:42 PM   #5
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Thanks. Great article.
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Old 03-15-2003, 05:31 PM   #6
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I was watching Comic relief last night on TV showing the starving and dying in Africa and I thought as Bono, If the people who are for and against this with Iraq war put as much time and effort into the african problems it would create a huge difference.

One could only hope,

Great article Michael
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Old 03-15-2003, 05:58 PM   #7
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There are so many more thing we (US) could be spending our money on. Poverty. homlessness, and education in our own country to name a few. If 1/3 of our military buget were changed to humanitarian needs, the entire world could be changed.

We need to get rid of the old men that think might is only way to change the world. And "I'm no Bleeping hippy with flowers in my hair" either.
The real cause is the military/coroporate industrial complex that demands it money.
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Old 03-15-2003, 06:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Scarletwine
There are so many more thing we (US) could be spending our money on. Poverty. homlessness, and education in our own country to name a few. If 1/3 of our military buget were changed to humanitarian needs, the entire world could be changed.
Argh, no kidding-our money could be put to such better uses.

Great article!

This is why I love Bono so much, why I respect and admire him.

Angela
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Old 03-15-2003, 07:35 PM   #9
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Thatīs a great interview. Heīs such an extraordinay man.
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Old 03-15-2003, 07:46 PM   #10
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Originally posted by follower
Thatīs a great interview. Heīs such an extraordinay man.
Indeed. I particularly appreciate people like Bono during times like these. It's during the tough times that we really need good people. Thank God we've got them.
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Old 03-15-2003, 08:09 PM   #11
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It astounds me that a thread is moved as soon as there appears the keyword "Iraq".

And "Declaring war on the forgotten war" is the right thing to do.

In another thread, sometime ago, there was a discussion why Bono doesnīt speak out on the upcoming war. In that article you may as well find an answer.

Way to go.

Itīs a long way...
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Old 03-15-2003, 08:55 PM   #12
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Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars
In another thread, sometime ago, there was a discussion why Bono doesnīt speak out on the upcoming war. In that article you may as well find an answer.

Way to go.

Itīs a long way...
Absolutely. Bravo!!
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Old 03-15-2003, 09:06 PM   #13
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What else need's to be said....Nothing changes on New Years day... without enough voices.. he can't do it alone..maybe the time is right, maybe we can do it tonight....
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Old 03-15-2003, 11:25 PM   #14
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Originally posted by sue4u2
What else need's to be said....Nothing changes on New Years day... without enough voices.. he can't do it alone..maybe the time is right, maybe we can do it tonight....
We can't change things by ourselves, but we can change some things together.
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Old 03-16-2003, 02:59 AM   #15
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uh, i agree with most - but blair being the best prime minister in the last 50 years? tell me - just how awful have the brits been in electing their heads of state to make him the best of the bunch?
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