Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bono Guest-Edits The Independent – RED Edition; Half Revenue Donated to Fight Aids

Recently I’ve done a number of postings on people, whether they be celebrities, bloggers, and normal individuals who have spoken up for issues they’ve cared about. Of late, I’ve focused more on people who have spoken out against the government, as I see serious dangers associated with our government’s policies; but it’s not the anti-Bush sentiments that earn coverage from the Nomad, rather it’s the push to make a difference.

Perhaps no celebrity has been more socially conscience than Bono of U2. U2 has some good songs, maybe even a few great ones, and definitely some powerful lyrics, though I don’t consider them great artists.  They do put on a great performance, though, and at the heart of that performance is Bono.

It is not Bono’s voice that makes him so powerful, to say the least.  He has a presence, a charisma that rivals any politician or superstar you can think of.  Understanding his strengths, Bono has decided to use his appeal not only to make the almighty buck with his music, but also to make a difference in the world.

Today Bono’s primary cause is the war against Aids, predominantly in Africa.  And his latest effort to earn money for this cause is to guest-edit the May 16, 2006 edition of The Independent, the leading British newspaper, with half of the proceeds being donated to his anti-AIDS initiative, called Red.

Bono has authority to decide which stories run in today’s issue, titled The Independent – No News Today.  He also wrote an essay for the edition, named “I am a Witness.  What can I do?”, and also helped create the cover, which included the statement that “Just 6,500 Africans died today as a result of a preventable, treatable disease (HIV/Aids).”, and a reference to Genesis 1.27:

God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.

Whatever you may think of Bono, it’s hard to refute that he’s a positive force in the world, and that he’s making a difference using his unique talents. Unlike many of my rock and roll heroes, Bono doesn’t see himself as some sort of God, but instead sees himself as a member of the world community, and that he has responsibilities that are associated with membership. View this passage from his editorial in today’s paper:

May I say without guile, I am as sick of messianic rock stars as the next man, woman and child. I am also tired of average work being given extra weight because it's attached to something with real gravitas, like the Aids emergency. So I truly try to tread carefully as I walk over the dreams of dignity under my feet in our work for the terrible beauty that is the continent of Africa. I'm used to the custard pies. I've even learnt to like the taste of them. But before you are tempted to let fly with your understandable invective, allow me to contextualise. Not for the sake of my vanity, but for the sake of people who are depending on you - the reader - to respond to the precariousness of their lives.

I first saw U2 at a concert in Hayarkon Park in Ramat Gan, just outside Tel Aviv, Israel. The show was on Erev Rosh Hashanah, September 30th, 1997, and the band was greeted by roughly 200,000 fans, half Palestinian and half Israeli. The concert was extraordinarily political, and Bono spoke in Hebrew, Arabic, and English as he pushed for peace in the region.  The concert was amazing, and not one fight was recorded.

Bono is known for the socially conscious and sometimes religious lyrics incorporated into many of his songs.  He has supported a number of causes over the years, including 3rd world debt, trade with Africa, and the fight against aids, while being an organizer of Live Aid in 1985 and Live 8 in 2005.

He has met with both Junior and Senior President Bushes and President Clinton, Treasury secretary Paul O’Neill, Canada’s Prime Minister Paul Martin, UN Chairman Kofi Annan, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and a host of other dignitaries to argue for his specific causes.  And coming from a world of violence, Bono has always preached peace and moderation.

Now I can’t tell you whether Bono is qualified to edit as important a paper as The Independent, even for a day.  But I certainly applaud his efforts to assist the growing plight of Aids stricken Africa, as well as the direction he has taken with his career and his political efforts. As such, Bono is this week’s Inspiration of the Week!

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Posted by Scottage at 11:32 PM / | |