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

Share
Related Topics

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.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A solar energy farm in France  

Nature Studies: For all the attractions of solar power, it shouldn’t blight the countryside

Michael McCarthy
Supporters of New Democracy wave Greek flags during Antonis Samaras pre-election speech.  

Greece elections: Where does power lie? This is the question that ties the UK to Athens

Steve Richards
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project