US Must Not Lose Voice, Says Bono

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3.19.03 - Irish Examiner

By Sean O'Driscoll, Washington

U2 lead singer Bono has appealed to the US not to become the political version of "a disco band" and lose its voice for equality around the world.

Accepting a humanitarian award at the American Ireland Fund Gala in Washington early yesterday, Bono said the US was like a band he loved.

"When I'm in Washington, I'm afraid someone is going to tell me I'm not with the band but that hasn't happened," he said.

He told the 1,000 guests at the gala he was "like an annoying fan" who read the sleeve notes and criticised the band.

"Those sleeve notes are the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, they are a force for equality and justice," he said.

He also paid tribute to US politicians who had helped secure $15 billion in funding for AIDS programmes in Africa, including President Bush and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who toured Africa with Bono before he was fired by the Bush administration.

Bono shied away from mentioning President Bush's US address announcing the Iraq war, broadcast only two hours before.

"Instead I'm going to talk about what I know about," he said, before appealing to the US to launch a war on poverty after the war on terrorism has ended. The gala generated about $1 million dollars for the Special Olympics in Dublin this summer.

Accepting the 2003 International Humanitarian Award, Bono said he wanted to pay special thanks to John F Kennedy's sister Eunice Shriver for bringing the Special Olympics to Ireland.

The guests, who included the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, also heard a speech by Special Olympics athlete Rita Lawlor, who received a standing ovation for a speech in which she explained how the Special Olympics had changed her life.

Afterwards, Bono embraced her on the podium and asked her for her autograph.

Copyright © 2003 Irish Examiner. All rights reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on March 19, 2003 2:50 AM.

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