Bono + AIDS Prevention + Poverty Relief = Nobel Peace Prize?

Usually I don't care for celebrities taking up causes for a number of reasons, but I read this article today in the newspaper and had an exception. I salute U2's Bono for taking up the cause of AIDS in Africa and global poverty. Unlike most celebrities, Bono isn't a johnnie-come-lately and he actually knows what he is talking about.

He has become increasingly involved in campaigning for debt relief in the Global South and the deterrence of the AIDS pandemic in Africa in recent years. In 2002 he took the then US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill on a four country economic tour of Africa. Later that year he started up Debt, Aids, Trade in Africa (DATA), a multinational, non-government organization that was created for the purpose of obtaining equality and justice for Africa through debt relief, adjusting trade rules which burden Africa, eliminating the African AIDS epidemic, strengthening democracy, more accountability by the wealthiest nations and African leaders and transparency towards the people.

Bono has also encourage world leaders to join in his crusade. He made a speech during the inauguration of Paul Martin as Canada's prime minister, who in turn pledged to help with the global AIDS crisis. He also held an audience with Pope John Paul II to discuss world debt relief.

Bono continued his crusade with a special meeting with President Bush, who had just unveiled a $5 billion aid package for the world's poorest countries on that show respect for human rights.

"This is an important first step, and a serious and impressive new level of commitment," said President Bush in a speech later that day, "This must happen urgently, because this is a crisis."

"It is much easier and hipper for me to be on the barricades with a handkerchief over my nose - it looks better on the résumé of a rock 'n' roll star," said Bono, "But I can do better by just getting into the White House and talking to a man who I believe listens, wants to listen, on these subjects."

Bono has also played a key role in the NetAid/Jubilee concert in 2000 and Nelson Mandela's 46664 concert last year.

Truly, Bono is a man of conviction.

However, I can't say the same for other celebrities. Although they sometimes bring attention, some celebrities would be better served to not get involved in social causes, as they make fools of themselves and/or do it for self-serving reasons. Sometimes I actually cringed when Susan Sarandon appears on TV to promote her latest liberal-cause-of-the-week, knowing full well that her and her husband, Tim Robbins, only seem to have a superficial grasp of the issues. An incident happened when Sharon Stone collected $1 million (£530,000) to fight malaria in five minutes at an impromptu fund-raiser at the most recent World Economic Forum. Although it might have seemed like a good deed, in the long run is Stone really going to seriously take up the cause of the malaria-stricken children of Africa? Is she going to make sure the mosquito nets are purchased and implemented? Or was this just another opportunity to save her ever sinking acting career? Even Angelina Jolie, who also attend the Forum, criticized actors for not being committed enough to helping others. A UN Goodwill Ambassador since 2000, she further stated that she gives one-third of her income to charitable organizations.

But the few like Bono are committed and making a difference. Bono's latest endeavor is with the One Campaign, a diverse coalition of faith-based and anti-poverty organizers to show the steps people can take to fight global AIDS and poverty. On Wednesday he held a press conference to announce that he will be organizing famous friends Brad Pitt, Jaime Fox and others to participate in television commercials to promote the campaign. I can't speak for the other celebrities he has organized for his latest campaign, but he himself is very sincere, and everyone should get out and support him. Bono represents the future for social justice.

No wonder is being considered for a Nobel Peace Prize!

On the Net:
The ONE Campaign:


At Friday, April 08, 2005 10:40:00 PM, Blogger Sharon Cobb said...

Bono is a true humanitarian. He and his lovely wife Ali stayed involved in social and political causes long after everyone from Band Aid had moved on.

Talia, best of luck with your blog. I was looking for an email address for you, but didn't see one.
Sharon Cobb


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