View Full Version : Is Bono being used?

05-29-2002, 11:10 PM
Is this guy in the music news alot lately or what? This is one of a few more I'm gonna share, because he seems to be setting a trend in music and it's clout upon our world survival. It seems everywhere I turn this week he is mentioned. And there's lots to discuss without serious debating, but rather alot of food for thought. I hope you agree. If interested, you can find this article at rollingstone.com along with a place to voice your response.
Rocking My Life Away

Is Bono being used?

"Is he doing it for the publicity?" Just about every reporter I've spoken to in the news media recently has asked me if Bono's visit to Africa in the company of Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill isn't a publicity stunt. As if U2 needed the publicity -- and as if there weren't far easier ways for the band members to get it if they did. No, Bono is visiting Africa with O'Neill precisely for his stated reasons: To try to convince the Bush administration to provide further debt relief to impoverished nations and to invest long term in building up the physical and economic infrastructures of those countries. Remove the swept-back black hair and the blue-tinted shades, and it's not a very sexy story at all.
The sexier story by far is why O'Neill would agree to bring Bono along on this jaunt. When the singer first tried to arrange a meeting with the Secretary about a year ago, O'Neill refused, telling his staff that he thought Bono was trying to "use" him. That's mainstream political thinking at its finest -- seemingly tough-minded but, in fact, just hard-headed and essentially clueless. Other than trying to advance a political cause just like everybody else who goes to Washington, what conceivable use could Bono make of O'Neill?

But as O'Neill has learned -- along with his boss, President George W. Bush, you can be sure -- the Republican party can make splendid use of Bono, and the singer would be wise to keep that fact in mind during his African visit and afterwards. As the President struggles with the perception both in this country and abroad that he is intolerant of any position that differs from his own, images of a cabinet member cavorting with one of the world's best-loved rock stars (not to mention the photos taken previously of Bono flashing the V sign while walking next to Bush) create the impression of youthful, progressive open-mindedness. Those pictures can certainly prove helpful come election time -- you can be sure that you haven't seen the last of them by a long shot. And if, finally, the Bush administration doesn't deliver on any of the goals that Bono wants to achieve, what the hell, that's just the way the political ball bounces. But at least they listened.

To his credit Bono has proven a deft politician himself during his debt-relief crusade. First he framed the issue in moral terms as a way of appealing to conservative Republicans, like Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, who like to wear their Christianity on their sleeves. Then, after the attacks on September 11th, he argued to the Bush administration that impoverished populations are kindling for the terrorists' flame. The more the United States eases the plight of those countries, the less susceptible they are to extremist, fundamentalist ideologies. That's a point Bono has been making over and over again on this trip.

But for all his willingness to put up with nonstop Odd Couple jokes, O'Neill is no champion of increased aid to Africa. He's an unabashed free marketer who has repeatedly claimed that "we have precious little to show" for whatever aid poor nations have already received. Generally speaking, he and Bono have been expertly diplomatic in their statements leading up to and during the trip. When O'Neill says things like "For too long, we've seen too little progress," Bono and his supporters can agree -- from their point of view, that lack of progress in ending African poverty is the very reason for their activism. From O'Neill's perspective, however, the lack of progress is entirely the fault of the African nations themselves for squandering the resources so generously provided to them by the West.

There have been signs that the fissures in Bono and O'Neill's delicately balanced relationship have already begun to show. In Ghana, Bono openly wondered whether 800 employees at a company doing work for American corporations for $1 an hour were being exploited. He also visited Nima, a run-down area of Accra, Ghana's capital -- tellingly, while O'Neill was giving a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce. Bono was appalled by the devastation he witnessed there. "I got all kinds of mixed feelings," Bono told journalists afterwards. "Agitation . . . quite angry, I'm getting angrier as the day goes on. I cannot believe that this is a world I want to be part of. Nima is the real world. It's where the full force of the free market is being felt. I thought they should be throwing rocks at us." The singer also accused the U.S. of hypocrisy for preaching free trade to poor countries whose economies can barely function, while propping up the American farm industry to diminish the impact of imports. "You can't have debt cancellation on the one hand and trade subsidies on the other," Bono said. "I don't like this kind of duplicity."

But Bono's experience with duplicity may be just beginning. He's a bright guy, and he understands that by going to Africa with Treasury Secretary O'Neill, he has walked into a lion's den. "My job is to be used," he bluntly told the Washington Post. "I am here to be used. It's just, at what price? As I keep saying, I'm not a cheap date." Maybe not, but as that old-fashioned relationship adage goes, Why buy a cow when the milk is free? The Republican party may already have gotten everything it needs from Bono. And as for that morning-after phone call, whether O'Neill and the president honor whatever promises they made to make their date with Bono such a public relations boon very much remains to be seen.

(May 24, 2002)

05-30-2002, 12:04 AM
From www.relevant.com
... Bono and Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's tour of Africa stopped by a Ford industrial plant, where they encountered a rather strong odor of marijuana. The tour guide informed the group employees are allowed to smoke dope, as long as it doesn't interfere with work, and in fact, most do. O'Neill was in shock: "They do? What do I know? That's something I don't know anything about." Bono's reaction: "I was getting off on the diesel fumes myself" Oh my! :)

Here's the rollingstone link if you want to leave some comments there to the top article. Maybe even mention this other? :)

05-30-2002, 05:20 PM
(found this at www.billboard.com )

U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and U2 frontman Bono today (May 30) visited an Ethiopian hospice and orphanage run by missionaries, one of the last stops of their African tour. Dozens of patients quietly lined walkways and alleyways. O'Neill said he was deeply moved and touched.

"This is a place of love and joy," he said. "This is a place where all pretense is gone and all human beings are together and everyone is treated with dignity and respect."

Chris Gaines
05-30-2002, 06:12 PM
I think Bono is standing up for a great cause :)

05-31-2002, 12:10 AM
Yesterday I listened to an interview with Bono about this on NPR. He discussed how they are trying to work everything out... how the US govt. has felt recently that the money that has been given for these causes has been wasted in many cases. Bono agreed that too much donated aid wasn't getting to the people that it is intended for. He disagreed with the idea that private donations alone could do that job however and that the US and other govt.s must continue to provide funding in Africa.

He's been meeting with charity groups in Africa and trying to find organizations that are efficient with their use of money and trying to make deals with others to make the situation better.

It was a great interview and I think he's doing an admirable job.

05-31-2002, 09:58 PM
Keys To Bono's Political Success: Passion And An Iron Butt

Observers laud U2 singer for his unyielding dedication to AIDS, third-world

By Gil Kaufman

Rock and politics have been strange bedfellows for decades, from folkie Pete Seeger's civil rights work in the '60s to Frank Zappa's censorship battles in the '80s and Rage Against the Machine's anti-sweatshop agitation in the '90s. But whether it's peace in Ireland or restructuring third-world debt, few rock stars have been able to devote as much time to their poesy and political passions as U2's lead singer.

And few politicians in recent memory, to say nothing of moonlighting rockers, have been able to bring such mainstream attention and hope for action to causes such as AIDS and poverty in Africa as the Irishman born Paul Hewson.

Which is why you've seen Bono on the cover of Time magazine, on the nightly news and in newspaper articles across the U.S. lately. If his recent 10-day tour of Africa with U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill was meant to focus the world's attention on the devastation HIV has wrought on Africans and the continent's dire poverty, experts both inside and outside Washington, D.C.'s beltway believe it was a mission accomplished. One that perhaps only someone like Bono could have pulled off.

According to those who've worked with him, that's because Bono through his tenacity, religious conviction, deep knowledge and, of course, rock star cache has transcended the headline-grabbing, day-tripper image of politicized superstars who make a splash and then get back to their lives.

"One of the things that he and conservative politicians like Senator Jesse Helms have in common what distinguishes him from other rock stars is that they can not only go home and tell their daughters that they met with Bono, but he can speak to them and address issues in a way that touches the heart," said Marie Clarke, national coordinator for the Jubilee USA Network, a debt-relief organization that has benefited from Bono's support.

This report is from MTV News

07-06-2002, 05:20 PM
Fri 5 Jul 2002 14:17

Shop for U2

U2 frontman and ambassador for human rights, Bono, has insisted he will never become a politician.

The star has recently been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Irish Presidency, a position that often attracts people from outside the world of politics.

But Bono has insisted that music is his true passion and he is not prepared to move into politics.

A greatest hits compilation is expected later in the year.

Full Article at: