(09-20-2002) Bono: Ambassador to the World - Oprah.com

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Sep 22, 2001
new york city

Bono: Ambassador to the World

U2 frontman Bono isn't just about rock and roll?he's on a mission to help save millions. Most recently, he has been concentrating on helping African nations manage their debt so that they can focus more on health care and education.

Bono on taking care of other nations
"Post 9/11, there's a new mood in the world. People accused America of behaving like an island. I don't think that's fair?I think Americans really care about what's going on in the rest of the world. There are politicians that don't think that though. They don't think there's a vote here. I'm absolutely sure that if you can explain to the American people that their dollars will be spent well and can save millions of lives, then they're going to be with that program."

On using "celebrity" for change
"We have a spotlight on us. I'm just doing what everyone else would do if they had the time and the money. U2 fans have given me a great life, and I'm a spoiled-rotten rock star. My kids don't have to worry about where they are going to school or paying their medical bills. In return, there's a deal. One, don't bend over, and two, use this spotlight to shine on bigger problems."

On why he wants to help Africa
"After LiveAid [in 1985], I went there to work with my wife. We spent a month in Ethiopia in the middle of the famine. I saw stuff there that reorganized the way I saw the world. I didn't know quite what to do about it. You can throw pennies at the problem, but at a certain point, I felt God is not looking for alms, God is looking for action. You can't fix every problem, but the ones that you can, we have to [fix]."

On our responsibility
"[Our generation will be known for the Internet, the war on terror] and how we let an entire continent burst into flames while we stood around with watering cans?or not. I think it's exciting to be part of a generation that actually says 'No.' Now, the world is a smaller place; distance cannot decide who is our neighbor to love. Love thy neighbor. We can't afford not to. The world is too close."

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