The Observer reports on Bono's trip - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Your Blue Room > PLEBA > PLEBA Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 05-21-2006, 11:10 AM   #1
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Band-aid
 
biff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: I may have lost my way
Posts: 4,014
Local Time: 10:57 AM
The Observer reports on Bono's trip

With Bono the preacher man on his mission to Africa

Kamal Ahmed joins the singer on an extraordinary week as he travels through Lesotho and Rwanda, to cramped hospitals and plush hotels alike, in his campaign against poverty and the continent's Aids epidemic

Sunday May 21, 2006
The Observer


Tuesday midday
The runway, Johannesburg Airport
Bono looks a little disappointed when he gets on the private charter jet for the flight to Maseru, capital of Lesotho. He is wearing dark glasses with pale lavender lenses. On the corner of the glasses is a little word - Red. This is the new 'virtuous brand' created in partnership with some of the world's biggest companies. For each pair of Red Armani glasses sold a donation is made to the Global Fund, set up by the G8 and the United Nations to fight Aids, malaria and tuberculosis. 'Where's the bar?' Bono says. 'Where are the bedrooms?' Ali, his wife, laughs. There is no bar, no bedrooms - Bono may be a rock star but he is travelling without frills.

1.30PM

The road to Maseru
Dr Richard Feachem, tall, quietly spoken, closely cropped beard, is looking over the dusty roads of Maseru. He is the executive director of the Global Fund. 'Mobile men with money,' he says, explaining Africa's HIV/Aids epidemic. Truckers, miners, migrant workers, travelling in large numbers across the continent. Leaving their families behind. 'And gender inequality.' Treating women badly, lots of sexual partners, rape. 'A toxic mix.' The sun glimpses out from behind the clouds. The population of Lesotho is 1.8 million. More than 30 per cent of adults are HIV-positive.

3.30PM

Precious Garments Factory, Maseru
Bono arrives at the factory still wearing his glasses. Women sit in neat rows making clothes for Gap. They wear masks. In front of them are hundreds of T-shirts. Some of them will be sold as Gap Red T-shirts, with an amount of money pledged to the Global Fund. It's consumerism with an ethical edge. Motorola, Converse and American Express have also joined, with a mobile phone, a pair of boots and a credit card.

Outside, later, Bono sits with five of the factory workers. Wages are above the national average. Unions are recognised. There is an HIV and Aids counselling service. Bobby Shriver, founder along with Bono of the Red brand, has a straight answer. 'If it wasn't for Gap, some of these people would be dead.'

Bono speaks to a group of five women sitting at a table outside, asking questions about their drug treatment. They each have HIV, but courses of anti-retrovirals have meant that they can carry on with their lives. Three years ago the drugs were only available to those who could afford $20,000 a year. Now they cost $140 a year, with many of the treatments in Lesotho financed by the Global Fund.

'I find it hard to get my head around some stuff,' Bono says. 'These women found the courage to come forward, to speak up.' In a country where HIV and Aids was a subject surrounded by suspicion and violence, it is now talked about more openly. Well, a little more openly. The government has agreed a universal testing and counselling service, the first on the continent. The treatments have also helped break down stigmas - having Aids no longer means the end of life. Anti-retrovirals can work for 20, 30 years.

Bono walks away from the women. 'When it comes to the time to write the history of this, it will be their names that will be important. Not mine,' he says. 'This is the face of transformation.' He does a little jig, right there in the factory.

8PM

Dinner, Lesotho Sun Hotel, with Lesotho's Prime Minister
When the fashion show starts, no one is quite sure what to expect. Already, beautifully upbeat and optimistic, one of the choirs from the clothing factories has sung about a new future. Suddenly this is a different Africa, not of flies around the mouth and babies with thousand-yard stares, but a country that is doing something, getting somewhere. As each model comes down the catwalk the crowd cheer and clap. The models, all factory workers, strut. They are sassy. Bono claps his hands. He sways. He gets up to speak. Sure, there is poverty. But there is also ... this.

'I'm an artist not a politician. But I prophesy that what was once impossible is possible. I prophesy that I will probably drink one too many red wines this evening. I'm sure, maybe, some people might dance on the tables.

'I prophesy that a day is coming when there will be no HIV.

'I prophesy that this jewel of a kingdom is soon to become a giant.

'Colin Powell once said that the greatest weapon of mass destruction is a virus called HIV. But no WMD could break the spirit I feel in this room. God is in the house, I feel.'

A spotlight plays on his face, silhouetted, surrounded by the smoke from the fashion show. The crowd cheer, clap, ululate. Bono is a preacher. That's the difference. People shout: 'Bono, sing, Bono, sing.' He could do 'Forty' now and have them eating out of his hands. But he doesn't.

Later, outside over a glass of wine I ask him what was going on in there. 'The future,' he says. 'Didn't you feel it?'

Wednesday 11.30AM

Butha Buthe Hospital, Butha Buthe, Lesotho
In a small room, Daniel Letuka Fatle sits with his wife, Matumelo and their son, Tumelo. Daniel has Aids and a year ago did not have enough energy to lift his hand. Bono sits with him, allowing the cameras to get shots of him asking questions of the clinic staff and the patients. He knows this is show business, that a rock star's unique selling point is his celebrity. Daniel is on anti-retrovirals, financed by the Global Fund, and is back working. Bono asks what he does.

'I'm a traditional healer,' Daniel says, by way of an interpreter. 'I use secret herbs to heal.'

'What kind of herbs?'

'It wouldn't be a secret if I told you, would it?'

Outside an old woman lies under a blanket. She looks like she is dying.

10PM

The plane to Kigali, Rwanda
We sit down in the front row. Bono asks for a bottle of wine and some cheese. He tells funny stories about the first time he met Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch. He wants to talk about why he does what he does. 'It is a great skill that Africa has, the skill of commerce. There is something about the dignity of labour, in coming off the nipple of aid, and Africa has it, whether it's hustling on street corners or running a big business. We want to give them the dignity of doing business with them. To treat them as supplicant is offensive. They cringe at the way they are portrayed.'

But companies are motivated, the critics say, by wanting to look good. 'It's irrelevant what their motives are. It is not about what my motives are, either. It could be the halo effect, it could be something else. What we have to measure is whether people's lives are being drastically improved or not by these interventions.'

He says people should grow up, leave the agitprop behind. If getting anti-retrovirals means working with business, then work with business. He describes the new movement of glamour-giving as 'hip hop', not afraid of commerce, not afraid of making money. 'We used to be into indie music, all long coats and worrying and wagging our fingers at everyone. But hip hop is now.'

He could just be a rock star, of course. Why isn't he? He pauses. 'I could see a way through some of these issues and I would have felt culpable if I hadn't done what I could see needed doing. Love thy neighbour is a command, not a piece of advice.'

Thursday 11.30AM

The Global Fund clinic, Kigali, Rwanda
Ten days ago Bono went to Washington DC to try to persuade members of the House of Representatives not to cut President Bush's plans for a $3bn increase in foreign aid. 'They patted me on the back, their eyes misted up in the right place,' he said. They slashed the budget by $2.5bn.

Now he is standing amid the overflowing beds and he wants to say something, something angry. 'I want [them] to see these pictures, three patients to a bed is absurd, but three families to a bed is obscene.' The NBC cameras record the preacher's words.

Later that afternoon we stand in the Nyamata genocide memorial, high in the hills outside Kigali. Eugenie Nyirajyimuzanye, a survivor, tells of the day she was attacked by machete-wielding militia. In the head. In the leg. In the back. She was left for dead among the rotting bodies of her friends and family from her village. She limps and the scars are still visible. The country says it is getting on, dealing with the past. The rain pitter-patters on the tin roof and Bono stands and listens in silence.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world...779874,00.html
__________________

biff is offline  
Old 05-21-2006, 12:30 PM   #2
Galeonbroad
 
Galeongirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Schoo Fishtank
Posts: 70,778
Local Time: 05:57 PM
impressive piece, thanks for posting!
__________________

Galeongirl is offline  
Old 05-21-2006, 01:23 PM   #3
Acrobat
 
PopDaisy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Heartland USA
Posts: 373
Local Time: 09:57 AM
Bono walks away from the women. 'When it comes to the time to write the history of this, it will be their names that will be important. Not mine,' he says. 'This is the face of transformation.' He does a little jig, right there in the factory.

*

He could just be a rock star, of course. Why isn't he? He pauses. 'I could see a way through some of these issues and I would have felt culpable if I hadn't done what I could see needed doing. Love thy neighbour is a command, not a piece of advice.'

*

Now he is standing amid the overflowing beds and he wants to say something, something angry. 'I want [them] to see these pictures, three patients to a bed is absurd, but three families to a bed is obscene.' The NBC cameras record the preacher's words.


I cherish and respect this man even more than I did 10 minutes ago. What a wonderful piece of writing. Thank you so much for sharing.
PopDaisy is offline  
Old 05-21-2006, 02:07 PM   #4
Refugee
 
thankyou's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: from everywhere
Posts: 1,885
Local Time: 10:57 AM
thank you biff! The article is very touching.

On the risk of being repetitive with popdaisy, but she really pointed out some of the most touching moments in your article:

God is in the house, I feel.' Bono is a preacher. That's the difference. People shout: 'Bono, sing, Bono, sing.' He could do 'Forty' now and have them eating out of his hands. But he doesn't.

Later, outside over a glass of wine I ask him what was going on in there. 'The future,' he says. 'Didn't you feel it?'

We want to give them the dignity of doing business with them. To treat them as supplicant is offensive. They cringe at the way they are portrayed.'

Love thy neighbour is a commandment, not a piece of advice.

'They patted me on the back, their eyes misted up in the right place,' he said. They slashed the budget by $2.5bn.

Now he is standing amid the overflowing beds and he wants to say something, something angry. 'I want [them] to see these pictures, three patients to a bed is absurd, but three families to a bed is obscene.' The NBC cameras record the preacher's words.

I can't wait to see the NBC nightly news with B. Williams starting on monday. I certainly hope they see it in washington. They should make them watch it.
thankyou is offline  
Old 05-21-2006, 02:34 PM   #5
ONE
love, blood, life
 
BonosBaby12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: East Coast girl living in Chi-Town
Posts: 14,889
Local Time: 09:57 AM
Thank you so much for posting this . It brought tears to my eyes when I read it. Like others I have gained even more respect for Bono.
BonosBaby12 is offline  
Old 05-21-2006, 02:51 PM   #6
Blue Crack Addict
 
Babydoll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Berlin, Germany.
Posts: 22,280
Local Time: 05:57 PM
Can a man be more wonderful? Like I said, someone who actually goes out and "does" something instead of just sitting in the luxury of their homes and complain and lament how unfair the world is... He believes he has it in him to make a difference. And what a difference he has made! Bono, you really are wonderful
Babydoll is offline  
Old 05-21-2006, 04:21 PM   #7
Rock n' Roll Doggie
VIP PASS
 
beau2ifulday's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Birmingham, UK
Posts: 5,512
Local Time: 03:57 PM
scans from the article:
beau2ifulday is offline  
Old 05-21-2006, 07:11 PM   #8
Rock n' Roll Doggie
VIP PASS
 
sue4u2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: hatching some plot, scheming some scheme
Posts: 6,628
Local Time: 10:57 AM
Re: The Observer reports on Bono's trip

Quote:
Originally posted by biff

Now he is standing amid the overflowing beds and he wants to say something, something angry. 'I want [them] to see these pictures, three patients to a bed is absurd, but three families to a bed is obscene.' The NBC cameras record the preacher's words.

Later that afternoon we stand in the Nyamata genocide memorial.

The rain pitter-patters on the tin roof and Bono stands and listens in silence.
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world...779874,00.html

He's trying so very hard to change the lyrics..
"Dignity passes bye"

I heard this morning (Sunday) on MSNBC thay they, and the Today show will be showing excerpts from Brian Williams/Bono in Africa. Starting tomorrow, Monday.
I hope this is so.
sue4u2 is offline  
Old 05-21-2006, 09:04 PM   #9
Refugee
 
zooperson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: los angeles
Posts: 1,548
Local Time: 08:57 AM
thank you for sharing!
zooperson is offline  
Old 05-21-2006, 09:24 PM   #10
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Band-aid
 
GracelandHarley's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Larry Mullen Circle
Posts: 4,983
Local Time: 10:57 AM
Thank you, biff, for posting this!
GracelandHarley is offline  
Old 05-22-2006, 08:36 PM   #11
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 30,150
Local Time: 03:57 PM
It was a fab read i must say it was brilliant to read the stories of Bono&Ali's tour

I didn't realise the article was in the paper, but am glad i bought the Observer now!
__________________

susanp6 is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:57 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com
×