"It is an ironic habit of human beings
to run faster when we have lost our way."
(Honoury Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
(Irish singer, musician, humanitarian and political activist, best known for being the main vocalist of the Dublin-based rock band U2)
A few days back I gave Bob Geldof a full post because I thought he was worthy of it. Today I present another Irish rockstar who knows Bob well - Bono; also known as Paul David Hewson to his family. Together, they have done some amazing things for almost three decades.
Bono has become one of the world's best-known philanthropic performers and was named the most politically effective celebrity of all time by the National Journal. He has been dubbed, "the face of fusion philanthropy", both for his success enlisting powerful allies from a diverse spectrum of leaders in government, religious institutions, philanthropic organisations, popular media, and the business world, as well as for spearheading new
organizational networks that bind global humanitarian relief with geopolitical activism and corporate commercial enterprise.
In a 1986 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Bono explained that he was motivated to become involved in social and political causes by seeing one of the Secret
Policeman's Ball benefit shows, staged by John Cleese and producer Martin
Lewis for the human-rights organisation Amnesty International in 1979. "I
saw 'The Secret Policeman’s Ball' and it became a part of me. It sowed a
seed..." In 2001, Bono arranged for U2 to videotape a special live performance for that year's Amnesty benefit show.
Bono and President George W Bush Junior
Bono and U2 performed on Amnesty's Conspiracy Of Hope tour of the United States in 1986 alongside Sting. U2 also performed in the Band Aid and Live Aid projects, organised by Bob Geldof. In 1984, Bono sang on the Band Aid single "Do They Know it's Christmas?/Feed the World" (a role that was reprised on the 2004 Band Aid 20 single of the same name). Geldof and Bono later collaborated to organise the 2005 Live 8 project, where U2 also performed.
Since 1999, Bono has become increasingly involved in campaigning for third-world debt relief and raising awareness of the plight of Africa, including the AIDS pandemic. In the past decade Bono has met with several influential politicians, including former United States President George W. Bush and former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.
During a March 2002 visit to the White House, after President Bush unveiled a
$5 billion aid package, he accompanied the President for a speech on the White
House lawn where he stated, "This is an important first step, and a serious and impressive new level of commitment ... this must happen urgently, because this is a crisis." In
May of that year, Bono took US Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill on a four-country tour of Africa. In contrast, in 2005, Bono spoke on CBC Radio, alleging then Prime Minister Martin was being slow about increasing Canada's foreign aid. Bono was a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, 2005, and 2006 for his philanthropy.
In the White House with Mr President
In 2004, he was awarded the Pablo Neruda International Presidential Medal of Honour from the Government of Chile. Time Magazine named Bono one of the "100 Most Influential People" in its May 2004 special issue, and again in the 2006 Time 100 special issue. In 2005, Time named Bono a Person of the Year along with Bill and Melinda Gates.
Also in 2005, he received the Portuguese Order of Liberty for his humanitarian work.
That year Bono was also among the first three recipients of the TED Prize, which grants
each winner "A wish to change the world". Bono made three wishes, the first two related to the ONE campaign and the third that every hospital, health clinic and school
in Ethiopia should be connected to the Internet. TED rejected the third wish as
being a sub-optimal way for TED to help Africa and instead organised a TED conference in Arusha, Tanzania. Bono attended the conference, which was held in June 2007, and attracted headlines with his foul-mouthed heckling of a speech by Andrew Mwenda.
In 2007, Bono was named in the UK's New Years Honours List as an honorary
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He was formally granted knighthood on 29 March 2007 in a ceremony at the residence of British Ambassador David Reddaway in Dublin, Ireland. Bono also received the NAACP Image Award's
Chairman's Award in 2007. On 24 May 2007, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia announced that Bono would receive the Philadelphia
Liberty Medal on 27 September 2007 for his work to end world poverty
and hunger. On 28 September 2007, in accepting the Liberty Medal, Bono said, "When
you are trapped by poverty, you are not free. When trade laws prevent you from
selling the food you grew, you are not free, ... When you are a monk in Burma
this very week, barred from entering a temple because of your gospel of peace
... well, then none of us are truly free." Bono donated the $100,000
prize to the organisation. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala accepted the award for the Washington-based Debt AIDS Trade Africa.
The Liberty Medal
The organisation DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) was established in 2002 by Bono and Bobby Shriver, along with activists from the Jubilee 2000 Drop the Debt Campaign. DATA aims to eradicate poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa. DATA encourages Americans to contact senators and other legislators and elected officials to voice their opinions.
Clancy's comment: you may wonder why I have provided the space on this blog to honour two Irish rockstars - Bono and Bob Geldof. Well, how many politicians do you know are making a difference to the great unwashed? Mm ... as an Australian who has taken a keen interest in my country's politics and social attitudes since I was a kid, I must now say that I've never seen a lower integrity in our politics. Recent parliamentary debates on where 'boat people', also known as 'refugees', should be housed and processed, was nothing short of puerile, disgraceful and embarrassing. So, who cares if Bob and Bono drop the occasional F-bomb? At least they are getting things done by confronting and challenging those in power who supposedly care.
Don't forget. Bono and Bob do not have to do what they do, but they do. Having said that, I do often wonder how worse off many people in this world would be without these types of guys rattling a few cages and shaking some trees so the apples will fall. 'Good on 'em,' I say.
Love ya work, Bono! - CT
I'm Clancy Tucker