Bono's speech at the NRJ Music Awards in Cannes

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NRJ Music Awards Draft Speech for Bono, January 2000

Thank you very much. I'm here because as a popstar I have two instincts - I want to have fun and I want to change the world. Fifteen years ago these instincts led Bob Geldof and a bunch of pop stars to do Live Aid. We raised two billion francs to help the poorest of the poor in Africa. That's a lot of money. Then I found out that's how much those same starving people pay us and our governments, in debt repayments, every single week.

And even then, the debt keeps getting bigger. It's stupid. And it's been going on for years - not because nobody cared, but because nobody really knew - except dodgy dictators like Mobutu who borrowed from dodgy lenders in our governments. It suited our interests during the cold war. But now children are dying because of it. According to the UN, 7 million children a year are dying because of third world debt. That's 13 kids since I started this speech.

And how much will it cost? Well about two beers, or a "ticket-restau" per French citizen per year.

I'm also here because it's the millennium, that Big Time we've been waiting for - and for what? Jubilee 2000 is the only idea with the balls to make this moment, our moment, our generation something to be proud of.

So Jubilee 2000 says let's do it. Let's drop the debt.

But the bankers won't write it off unless the politicians tell them to. And the politicians won't tell them unless we tell the politicians. So that's why I'm here...(are you with me?)

And you know what? The politicians are starting to listen. We're telling the leaders of the great nations to cancel ALL the debts owed them by the poorest countries. 100 per cent. And you know what?

Bill Clinton said yes. Tony Blair said yes. Jean Chretien said yes.

So, President Chirac, Mr Jospin; what do you say? Are you with us? Drop the Debt Now.


NRJ Music Awards in Cannes

(Bono speaks French) Ophelie Winter : And now Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a surprise, a very big surprise. We haven't seen him in any French TV show for more than six years. We have to say that during these tears he has been involved in a humanitarian association that he has created. He came to talk about it tonight, he is the singer of a mythic international band, Ladies and Gentlemen : BONO!!!

Ophelie Winter : Oh, My God.

Bono : Thank You Ophelie.

Ophelie Winter : Oh, You know my name!!! That's a great honour. Oh my God.

Bono : Thank you. It's cool. I'm a rock star, I used to live in a mansion... (Bono sings). Oh la la. Wow. Thank you very much... Man of the Year... That's only the 22nd of January... (laughs) Here we go...Look. This award is not for me. It's not about the Man of the Year, but it's about an idea, the idea of the year. It's about Jubilee 2000. And the idea is this. Jubilee 2000 wants to stop the poorest countries on the planet repaying old loans to the richest countries on the planet, rather than feeding, inoculating, educating the starving people. That's it, really. I don't want to bore your arse off (laughs) talking about this in the beautiful Côte d'Azur. But it's wrong. It's not right. And it could be put right. For the price of two beers per person, per year. In French, one luncheon voucher per person per year. Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. You invented this shit. You invented this. You invented democracy. So France, we look to you. Well then Jacques Chirac? Well then Lionel Jospin? What do you say? Are you with us? Drop the debt now. Thank you very much.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on January 22, 2000 8:41 PM.

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