Bono: 'Africa makes a mockery of our ideals of justice'

From a speech by the lead singer of U2 at the Labour conference in Brighton

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I'm fond of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. They are kind of the John and Paul of the global development stage. But the point is, Lennon and McCartney changed my interior world - Blair and Brown can change the real world. As transcendent as I'd like to think a U2 show can be, it isn't life or death. This is. And I've met people whose lives will depend on the decisions taken by these two great men. They have great ideas. And the promises they have made will save hundreds of thousands of lives - if they follow through.

I'm fond of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. They are kind of the John and Paul of the global development stage. But the point is, Lennon and McCartney changed my interior world - Blair and Brown can change the real world. As transcendent as I'd like to think a U2 show can be, it isn't life or death. This is. And I've met people whose lives will depend on the decisions taken by these two great men. They have great ideas. And the promises they have made will save hundreds of thousands of lives - if they follow through.

Six thousand Africans dying a day of treatable, preventable disease, dying for want of medicines you and I can get at our local chemist - that's not a cause, that's an emergency. Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice; it makes a farce of our idea of equality. Because there's no way we can look at Africa - a continent bursting into flames - and if we're honest conclude that it would ever be allowed to happen anywhere else. Certainly not here in Europe, or America, or Australia, or Canada. There's just no chance. You see, deep down, if we really accepted that Africans were equal to us, we would all do more to put the fire out. We've got watering cans, when what we really need are the fire brigades.

The West has a vested security interest in combating the poverty of Africa and its related problems. To fight Aids, and its root cause, the extreme poverty in which it thrives, it's not just a development strategy. This has to be a security strategy.

The war against terror is bound up in the war against poverty. I didn't say that; Colin Powell did. In these distressing and disturbing times, surely it's cheaper, and smarter, to make friends out of potential enemies than it is to defend yourself against them. Africa is not the frontline on the war against terror. But it could be soon. Justice is the surest way to get to peace.

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