For those PowerBlog readers who don’t follow the world of rock and roll, the man in the photo on the left is Bono (aka Paul Hewson), the lead singer of the biggest rock and roll band in the world – U2. (I feel compelled to mention that I am Acton’s resident U2 Superfan: the proud owner of The Complete U2, regular attender of U2 concerts – I took that photo on May 7 in Chicago – and general aficionado of all things U2-related.)
What you may not have known about Bono is that he has become a relatively influential campaigner on behalf of Africa-related causes – primarily debt reduction, trade issues, and the AIDS crisis. It may surprise you that this rock star has managed to meet with and gain the respect of a wide range of politicians and world leaders, including Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Senator Jesse Helms, Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin, Kofi Anan, and even Pope John Paul II (whom Bono referred to as "the first funky pontiff" after giving the Pope a pair of his trademark fly shades).
As a longtime follower of his career, I believe that Bono is totally sincere in his efforts, but sincerity and good intentions don’t always translate into good policy.
Bono’s latest efforts on behalf of Africa revolve around support for the One Campaign, an effort to raise US foriegn aid to Africa by 1%. The Campaign’s website states rather grandly that:
We believe that allocating an additional ONE percent of the U.S. budget toward providing basic needs like health, education, clean water and food, would transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation of the poorest countries.
On their current Vertigo tour of the US, U2 have been urging their fans to text message their names to the electronic One Campaign petition during concerts with the goal of obtaining a list of 1,000,000 supporters of increased foreign aid. It makes for compelling theater, and they’ve made significant headway toward their goal – almost 650,000 people have sent in their names – but will it really help?
Read more on Bono: Aid or Trade?…