U2 and AIDS in Africa—A Commentary
I’m not usually given to making endorsements on anything but I wanted to point readers to a wonderful interview with Bono of U2 on MSNBC that I viewed this morning. The title caught my eye: “Bono on progress on Africa aid.” It is a 16 minute interview by Brian Williams on the effort by Bono to raise the vision about the needs of AIDS victims in Africa and the money to alleviate some of the pain. It is really quite inspiring. God comes up in the conversation along with Bono’s take on the concept of the “American idea.” An interesting perspective from an outsider. He also speaks of misgivings a 4-star general, and Marine, shared with him who thought we were losing the war on terrorism. You need to watch the interview to find out why, in Bono's, and perhaps the general's, perspective.
Whether you like the music of U2 or not [I do…a lot], you have to be moved by Bono’s commitment to making a difference in the world. He speaks candidly in this interview about wanting to do more than just record music. Granted, he did confess that he and his band are working on some fresh stuff currently, but I got the idea that they are playing for a different purpose now, wanting to be part of the story of how humanity turned the tide against the “forest fire” that is devastating a continent. The challenge of AIDS is no small task and I suggest we not become callous, closing our hearts to this tragedy of startling proportions.
Specifically, the Red and One Campaigns are cooperative efforts initiated by Bono and a business partner that seek to mobilize businesses, individuals and governments to help meet needs, create awareness and alleviate pain of the poor in Africa. This year, they have already poured over 47 million into the needs of the poor in Africa. Many of their specific efforts aim at preventative measures and medication that are slowing the advance of AIDS.
By the way, my friend Stuart, who works at World Vision would not want me to forget to mention World Vision’s efforts to do much of the same kinds of things in Africa. They have been doing this for a long time actually. Their child sponsorship program is the model for many and is unmatched in integrity for making a lasting impact on the lives of children around the globe. The AIDS situation in Africa has been on their map for many years.
Bono closes the interview saying that U2 wants to be a band that takes it to the next level. In other words, they don’t want to make music just for the sake of music but rather to be on the side of making a difference and writing a new chapter to the story of AIDS. Here is the interview. By the way, the photo is from the escalator at the Pike Street metro tunnel in Seattle. I could not think of another photo that matches this story so am playing with the idea of going up to the "next level." Does it work? As always, comments are welcome.
"Then He will answer them, saying, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'" Matthew 25:45.