A common chord

Published: Thursday 31 October 2002

The Oprah Show . ABC Network . September 19 . 2002

The activist rock-star Bono of the band U2 appeared on an extended episode of Oprah Winfrey show to take his campaign against debt in Africa to the US citizen. Bono articulated the vicious spiral between AIDS and mounting debt in the African continent. The rock-star appealed to a predominantly women US audience to join in the fight against AIDS in Africa. Bono justified his appeal by saying "any mother knows that the pain of losing a child is the same in Africa as it is in America".

In the forefront of an international campaign against debt in poor countries, the star has been travelling all around the world, trying to have a dialogue with world leaders and decision-makers. He has lamented the deplorable state of world affairs where a rock-star has to campaign about a serious issue like debt and more qualified people have no time to look into it. In the show, he linked the dearth of funds to tackle AIDS and basic rights such as water with the debt burden. The artist also rattled off figures like : Africa spends over $14.5 billion dollars yearly repaying debts. It receives only US $12.7 billion in aid.

The show comes after his private meeting with Bush junior and travelling in Africa with US treasury secretary Paul O'Neil. At one point in the show he pointed out that poverty and debt crisis in Africa cannot be solved with money as the problem was a political one. More campaign material on African debt can be found on Bono's non-profit organisation DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade in Africa) website: www.datadata.org.

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