Bono and the Fight for Equality

Our best quotes about the U2 rocker’s crusade — from him and the world.

April 20, 2002

Our best quotes about the U2 rocker's crusade — from him and the world.

Back in 1985, Irish rock singer Bono — the U2 front man — participated in Bob Geldof’s legendary Live Aid concert. And while most other rock stars went on with business as usual, Bono and his wife went to work in an Ethiopian orphanage for six weeks. Ever since, the fight against poverty has been his mission. Our new Read My Lips explores the rock singer’s crusade.

Is Bono’s humanitarian work only an ego-boosting stunt?

“I’m sure the African parents of dying children will not worry about Bono’s ego if they are able to feed and educate their families as a result of his intervention.”

(Letter to the editor of the Irish Times, March 2002)

What is Bono’s own view on that?

“Believe me, I know how absurd it is to have a rock star talk about the World Health Organization — or debt relief or HIV/AIDS in Africa.”

(March 2002)

Why is Bono’s work so easy to criticize?

“Bono courts the Naomi Klein set, delivering anti-capitalist tirades — even as his bank balance eclipses the average Third World state’s GDP.”

(Irish Times editorial, February 2002)

What are your views on anti-globalization protests?

“It’s okay banging your fist on the table. It’s not okay to put your fist in the face of an opponent — whether they are protestors or police.”

(July 2001)

Does your fight against global poverty impair your career as a musician?

“The band might cringe, I might wince, but I went to Washington to get a check — and I’m going back to get a bigger one.”

(March 2002)

What has been the band’s reaction?

“My bandmate Edge was pleading with me not to hang out with the conservatives.”

(March 2002)

How do you manage to enlist the support of the world leaders?

“Once my foot is in the door, I am hard to get out.”

(March 2002)

Do you consider yourself a good lobbyist?

“I am a pest. I am a stone in the shoe of a lot of people living here in Washington.”

(March 2002)

What is Bono’s working strategy when teaming up with fellow rock star Bob Geldof?

“Bono goes into the meetings with these world powers — and he’s really polite and he makes his case very intelligently. Then I get up and start [expletive] screaming at them. It usually works.”

(Bob Geldof, Irish rock singer, March 2002)

Does this strategy work with the Bush White House?

“Dick Cheney walked into the Oval office, he said, ‘Jesse Helms wants us to listen to Bono’s idea.'”

(U.S. President George W. Bush, March 2002)

Why is Bono’s involvement so remarkable?

“Instead of doing what all other filthy rich rock stars do — buy a trout farm in the country and develop some interesting addictions — he has been busy bending the ear of politicians looking for an answer to his $350 billion debt-relief question.”

(Irish Times editorial, March 2002)

What does U.S. President George W. Bush think of Bono?

“Bono is willing to lead to achieve what his heart tells him — and that is that nobody should be living in poverty and hopelessness around the world.”

(U.S. President George W. Bush, March 2002)

Does Bono truly understand global issues?

“What distinguishes Bono from other air-head rock stars whose analysis of geopolitical affairs amounts to ‘Poverty is a really bad vibe’ is his willingness to hit the books and learn.”

(Irish Times editorial, March 2002)

Will Bono eventually run out of steam?

“It’s too late to stop him from saving the world.”

(Irish Times editorial, March 2002)

Why is poverty reduction crucial for the fight against terrorism?

“There are potentially another 10 Afghanistans in Africa — and it is cheaper by a factor of 100 to prevent the fires from happening than to put them out.”

(March 2002)