Monday, February 21, 2011
Bono on justice, mercy, faith and narcissism
U2 are currently touring South Africa. It brings their work on behalf of Africa into particular focus, especially when they face the media in Africa. A few days ago, Bono was interviewed by Redi Tlabi on Talk Radio 702 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The interview ran for about 35 mins. It is a wide-ranging interview that covers music, marriage, justice, mercy, faith and narcissism.
There are some great quotes (transcribed by me, but I’d suggest if you want to use the quotes, then do check the sound recording for yourself):
On justice vs charity:
When it comes to One and Data, people see us as bleeding hearts. We do have hearts, but we’re very tough minded people. Justice matters, not charity. These are monies owed by the poorest to the richest. The grand children are held to ransom.
On the fight for justice:
The World Bank just put out figures that African leaders who qualified for debt cancellation. Between 2005 and 2011, there are an extra 44 million children going to school as a result of debt cancellation. These are World Bank figures.
On his relationship with Africa:
Africa seemed a long way away for a boy growing up in Dublin. Our music has always been influenced by social justice. It was while working in Africa that you start to think about the structural issues of poverty. We raised 200 million (in Bandaid) and then we realised Africa spends that much on debt repayment a month.
I am definitely capable of narcissism. I’m a rock star.
On whether aid to Africa positions them as victims:
We all needed aid. Ireland did. Germany did. Get over it. We are thinking what are the obstacles in the way of justice, equality and freedom.
On whether Bono is religious:
I’m a believer. I have a deep faith but I am deeply suspicious of people who talk about their faith all the time. It is utterly a part of my life. I try to read the Scriptures.
On his upbringing:
My upbringing made me suspicious. Faith is a very beautiful thing but religion can be a very ugly thing. My faith has helped me in that struggle.
For the full interview as a sound file, go here.