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January 29th, 2023
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U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2019
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Bono of U2 Wants U.S. to Help Africa

Posted on Saturday, January 05 @ 08:00:43 CET by Macphisto


With or without U2, Bono can't be muzzled. On stage, he's the swaggering showman in leather and shades. Off stage, he doubles as a diplomat, bringing focus to world ills that stand in stark relief to a rock star's pampered lifestyle.

His current obsession is DATA, or Debt, Aid and Trade for Africa, a movement to encourage debt cancellation, humanitarian aid and trade incentives for Africa's impoverished nations. Bono hopes enough grass-roots pressure can be brought to bear on leaders of wealthy nations at next summer's G8 summit in Canada. A U.S. endorsement is crucial.
"There's a will to do it in Washington," Bono says. "Whether there's a way depends on how much the American people bang their dustbin lids. The only fitting memorial for those lives lost on Sept. 11 is to create a world of equal opportunity. Just letting some of the poorest countries sell their macadamia nuts to Europe and America might be a start. You can't be the great advert for free trade and not let the poorest countries on the planet in the game."
After assisting a mission that successfully erased some of the crushing debts that developing countries owe the West, he's optimistic about this new front.
"I meet people in the administration who are starting to see Africa in strategic, as well as philanthropic, terms," he says. "America has, more than any other country, a feel for the outcast, the refugee, the famine-struck."
While Bono freely volunteers opinions on issues, he backs up the hot air with true grit.
He argues that art and issues should commingle rather than be segregated as improper strangers.
"In a civilized society, there should always be dialogue between culture and government," he says. "It's a worry when that dialogue isn't there. "
Toggling between his duties as U2's frontman, his devotion as a family man and his volunteer work in the army for universal justice has been challenging, to say the least. But he's hoping his involvement at this level will be a sprint, not a marathon, and that new recruits will carry on the fight.
"I hope I'm not doing this in a couple years' time," he says, noting that he's been nudging Tom Cruise, who's keenly interested in the debt crisis, to take the reins.
Though U2's music conveys a revolutionary spirit and resolve, Bono has resisted dragging his political views into lyrics. When self-restraint doesn't succeed, his bandmates pull the leash.
"Thank God!" he says. "I can be a pain the arse, so I have to really watch myself."

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