Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bono in conversation

I've been reading this book of conversations with Bono. It's by Michka Assayas, and it's entitled "Bono in Conversation." Very appropriate. You know I've been getting into U2, and the thing is, I kind of thought they might be an accident. I thought that maybe they stumbled into a lot of great things, and that maybe they didn't really know what made them great. But I was wrong. At least in Bono's case. This man is freaking brilliant. So much of what he says is full of wit, humor, wisdom and humility. Here's how he describes himself in the book:

"I’m a scribbling, cigar-smoking, wine-drinking, Bible-reading band man. A show-off who loves to paint pictures of what I can’t see. A husband, father, friend of the poor and sometimes the rich. An activist traveling salesman of ideas. Chess player, part-time rock star, opera singer, in the loudest folk group in the world."

He is, of course, very involved in Africa. This one thing he said really grabbed me. Check it out:

"Right now there is the biggest pandemic in the history of civilization, happening in the world now with AIDS. It’s bigger than the Black Death, which took a third of Europe in the Middle Ages. Sixty-five hundred Africans are dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease. And it is not a priority for the West: two 9/11s a day, eighteen jumbo jets of fathers, mothers, families falling out of the sky. No tears, no letters of condolence, no fifty-one-gun salutes. Why? Because we don’t put the same value on African life as we put on a European or an American life. God will not let us get away with this, history certainly won’t let us get away without excuses. We say we can’t get these antiretroviral drugs to the farthest reaches of Africa, but we can get them our cold fizzy drinks. The tiniest village, you can find a bottle of Coke. Look, if we really thought that an African life was equal in value to an English, a French, or an Irish life, we wouldn’t let two and a half million Africans die every year for the stupidest of reasons: money. We just wouldn’t. And a very prominent head of state said to me: “It’s true. If these people weren’t Africans, we just couldn’t let it happen.” We don’t really deep down believe in their equality."

Crazy. I think he's right. I might be posting more quotes from the book soon...

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