18 April 2002
The Night Love Rocked
Right down the hall from beatification comes crucifixion, joked Bono, the
night love rocked.
Ok, we're a little on the late side getting this story online but we thought
you'd want to read it anyway it's the address Bono gave on February 14th,
the night Tom Cruise and Kevin Spacey joined Lauryn Hill, Cher and REM in a
Hollywood tribute to Bono.
'Thank you so much.
Right down the hall from beatification comes crucifixion, so I'd better
enjoy this moment.
[Explaining Cher's appearance with REM] It's, it's a pretty amazing night.
Actually, I was in a lift once, and a gentleman got into the lift. I was
there with a stranger, nothing was said, we travelled floors, and a rather
cross gentleman had gone out of the lift and turned around before he left
and said, 'It's Bono.' (pronouncing it 'Bone-o') And I kind of looked at
this little old lady who was in the lift with me and she said, 'That's Sonny
Bono, who are you?' So, Cher, that's something I wanted to share with you.
I wanted to thank Michael Eisner and the Entertainment Industry Foundation
for honoring me tonight, that is a very, very big deal. And also, my friends
who've turned up to back me up, in what is an unnerving occasion, really.
REM came out a little bit after U2, but I have always looked up to them and
they are just the greatest group and it's extraordinary to see them there.
In the last year I've looked across to No Doubt because they came on tour
with us, and that is quite a carnival to have on tour with you, I can tell
And thank you to everybody really for turning up. Sean Penn is here tonight
and I want to mention him because he just got nominated for doing something
extraordinary, that is an extraordinary work 'I Am Sam.' I want to thank
the band because they let me come, actually, that's one thing. And I would
like to thank my darling wife, Ali, for coming out with me tonight. Also,
Drew Carey for hosting tonight's event. I know he knows, but I wanted him to
know I know also, that whatever they may call tonight's event, it's
Cleveland Rocks. It's Cleveland that rocks.
Also, the Cardiovascular Initiative, it is a great thing to be in the room
with a lot of doctors, and people who have put their life and energy into
something as important as life and death. As life transforming and as life
changing as I'd like to think a U2 gig is - it's not that. And I just wanted
to say that we are dignified tonight by those people who worked on the
Cardiovascular Initiative. We are dignified by them being in the room.
And that in a way is a bit of a problem, because, you know, I'm in a rock
and roll band, and the band do think that the stuff I'm doing is really
important and they really support it, but they do think it is incredibly
unhip. And I just think coming from the rock and roll community I want to
say that the right to be ridiculous is something I hold very dear.
But there is one thing I am not sure I am going to live down, just the other
week your Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O'Neill, actually referred to me
as a serious person. And that's hard - that hurts. I think what he might
have meant was a serious pain in the arse. And I certainly was a pain in the
arse for the last Secretary of the Treasury, and a thorn in the shoe of this
administration, and the next one, I hope.
But they're smart people, they know that it takes people like us to get them
to look up from the numbers and put flesh and bones on some awful facts.
Like the fact that there are 28 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who are
HIV positive and who are about to leave behind 100 million AIDS orphans by
the end of the decade. And this looks like the greatest threat to humanity
the world has seen since the Bubonic Plague took out about a third of Europe
in the Middle Ages. So think for a second what it would have been like if
China, say, had had the resources and the technologies to deal with the
Bubonic Plague in the Middle Ages, but didn't share them out. Can you
imagine what it would feel like now, or how hard the history books would
have been on them? Well, that's where we are right now.
And I was in Uganda a couple of weeks ago and met a load of AIDS workers.
They are really the heroes, like the NYPD, like the firemen of their
situation. They're going from town to town, right, and they are telling
people about what's going on with AIDS, and I'm asking a friend, where do
they get their passion from? Where do these people get their passion from?
And they say, actually, they're HIV positive. And I said. 'What - these
people are HIV positive?' Yes, he said, and they know that they cannot
afford the dollar a day that would take to save their life. They know that
they cannot afford to live. And I want to say to them, and I want to say
this evening, that we cannot afford to let them die.
This is not as a moral imperative, we actually financially cannot afford to
fill in for the teachers we lose, we cannot afford to look after their
children. I mean, I'm actually trying to convince people that it is more
expensive to let them die. And that's just one of the facts that we have to
put flesh and blood on.
But you know, this is Los Angeles. I don't want to say I just love this
city. More people live off their imaginations in this city than anywhere
else in this world and, boy, do we need your imagination on these problems.
It's true, the American dream was sold to the world from this city, right
here. They had the idea but in order to sort of mythologize it they needed
Los Angeles. Los Angeles sent out the idea of the American Dream to the rest
of the world. And what was at the heart of the American Dream was equality.
That's really what was going on - equality. And it's funny, there's a pain
in the arse if ever I heard one, you know, equality. That's a really
annoying thing to live with.
You know, you think of 2000 years ago, these Jewish sheepherders, walking
with shit on their shoes in front of pharaohs and kings and they're being
asked: you really think you're equal to me? And these sheepherders are
going, yeah, you know, it says here we're equal, yeah, God made everybody
equal, actually. And then they go, okay. And then years go by in the journey
of equality, and we accept Jews but not black people, I mean, black people
are not equal. Okay, black people, we'll have black people in, but not
women. Women are not equal, you can't be serious. Okay, well right. And
eventually it gets to the place where behind these borders in Europe and
America, we have an idea of equality, but what about the rest of the world ?
So, with the same imagination, with the same brilliant minds, here in Los
Angeles, can we make the American Dream a little bigger? Can we make it big
enough to fit and affect the lives of the poorest of the poor, the wretched
people? Eight million people die every year for the price of going out with
your friends to the movies and buying an ice cream. Literally for about $30
a head per year, you could save 8 million lives. Isn't that extraordinary?
Preventable disease - not calamity, not famine, nothing like that.
Preventable disease - just for the lack of medicines. That is cheap, that is
But politicians say there are no votes here - they are wrong! I believe in
this country, it is a great country, but it is also a great idea, and I
would please just ask you to send that message to the politicians. Actually,
America's a big enough country to take on that problem. And I promise you
this, that for those lives that were lost on September 11th, this is their
only fitting memorial. Not just the pursuit of justice, but the pursuit of a
less dangerous, safer, fairer, more inclusive world.
Anyway, thank you very much.
What a night! Thank you.'
More on the Campaign to Cancel the Debts of the Poorest Countries here
More on Artists Against AIDS www.aaaw.org