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Bono Vox of O'Connell Street


Paul David Hewson was born on the north side of Dublin Ireland on May 10th 1960 ([to borrow from Micah's not so figurative book] read: He's old.) His mother died when he was fourteen , and his dad was an understandably distant and harsh one. His dad was cynical, and didn't care much for education, and was bewildered when Paul wanted to go to college. When reading about his early life, his fighting matches with his elder brother, grief over the lose of "his" Iris (read: mother) it almost seems tragic. But really, there is nothing extraordinary about Paul's growing up, not really. He was just another kid. This isn't going to be a post about how anyone can do amazing things, or how anyone can go anywhere, but it is going to be the teenage boy equivalent to a "fan girl" post.

Paul Hewson, of course, is Bono, the lead singer of U2, co-founder of "DATA" (Debt, AIDS,Trade in Africa), author of some of the most amazing poetry of the late twentieth century (at least, I call it poetry). I could honestly write forever about this individual, but I want to focus on one thing that set's him apart from other musicians and other "celebrities".
I'm currently reading a book that my fantabirificalsome (I think I spelled that wrong.) sister grace bought for me. It's called "Bono, in conversation with Michka Assayas" Admittedly not a very creative title, but the book itself is amazing. In it Bono says:

"I'm not sure we accept that Africans are equal...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."

I think he's right. This is what set's Bono apart. Most celebrities have pet projects (Case in point: Angelina Jolie adopting an inordinate amount of children). The thing is, for most of them, ultimately, the project is "hey look at me." it's not like that with Bono. He sees Africa differently than most people do, differently than I do. I can honestly say...who am I? How can I not be....jumping out of my seat screaming in outrage at what is happening to Africa. It's rotting, Africa's people are rotting. Would the UN let America rot? Would we let...the UK rot? No, but we let Africa rot. Okay, so maybe this post is all leftist propaganda, but I don't care. Bono's right, deep down, must of us don't see Africans as people...because...they're just too far away. Out of sight really is out of mind. But quote at the top of this page says "You can't fix every problem. But the one's you can, you must."

That's where my faith in Capitalism, and not helping with humanitarian aid begins to fade. When I see thousands of people dying, I wonder if we have a right to not let the government use our money to help them. Isn't life more important than money? Sure, ideally the government shouldn't "steal" our money to save Africa...but could we really blame them if they did? Should we not DEMAND that our government help the ways they can? (government to government=Bad. Paying for drugs to be sent=good.)

That is why I admire Bono so much, because he's not just sitting in his posh house by the sea...doing...whatever it is Celebrities do with their obscene amount of money. Granted he does have a posh house by the sea in Ireland, but he's also probably the only celebrity/singer to sit with his silly trademark sunglasses, and shaved late 40s hair, at the World Economic Forum, and to help get rid of nearly a third of third-world country debt. And I believe I can say confidently that it's not about him. Paul Hewson, known at 16 as Bono Vox of O'Connell Street, cares about people. To him, people matter, no matter how far away they are. I believe he is a man worthy of admiration.

Yahweh -U2
Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don't make a fist
Take this mouth
So quick to criticise
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Why the dark before the dawn?

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it break


(not to go all cliche on you with the whole "posting song lyrics" thing. :P)
Note: I shall most likely be writing a LOT of posts about Bono, U2, and/or their amazing music.

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4 comments:

Hayley said...

I think you mean, "You can't fix every problem. But the ones you can, you must."

So my shooting coach used to be a huge Bono fan, and then he found out Bono was a socialist, and now he can't listen to any U2. (And that was the whole dream.)

Screw the government. They fail. Always. And in the few instances they don't, there comes a point in any crisis that political activism doesn't matter anymore. Bono's cool because he didn't wait around for governments to acknowledge the tragedy in Africa, but went to the problem himself. That's the only thing that's really spoken to any atrocity in this world - people, not policies, on the front line.

I'm not sure what my point was by that. At any rate, Bono for the win!

Micah E. said...

I wonder if we have a right to not let the government use our money to help them.

The choice to do what is right must be made by individuals.

-J.S. said...

Ideally, yes Micah...but they don't. Does there come a time when forced charity (I know, a contradiction) become acceptable? Isn't life more important important, more fundamental than individual liberty? Is saving lives worth breaking the bounds of government's sphere of duty....I don't know the answer.

Micah E. said...

Hmmm, I think I get what your saying... that there is a hierarchy of natural rights. Life, liberty, and property, and that life needs to come before liberty and property?

Interesting dilemma, either way, I'm with Hayley on one point, screw the government.