Fifth in a series of diaries from Bono, written during the recent Heart of America tour to highlight the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa.
DATA hit the road in December, with Bono, Ashley Judd, Chris Tucker, Wynonna Judd, AIDS activists and other experts getting the word out to Americans about the AIDS Emergency in Africa. Here's the fifth entry in Bono's diary.
Woke up this morning to find out that Paul O'Neill has resigned from office... he witnessed the AIDS emergency in Africa in May, and responded with not just tears, but anger... I saw his conviction. I liked him and his family enormously, I'm sure he will continue to work on Africa. Before he was Secretary of the Treasury, he worked in Africa. Valuable, valuable experience. President Bush will see the crisis for himself next year when he goes to Africa... the President, Dr Rice, Colin Powell, Tommy Thompson, they're passionate about AIDS - we need to turn this passion into cash.
I like Hoosiers. The spirit of Madame Walker was with us in Indianapolis last night. The meeting was in a beautiful little theatre named after this amazing woman. In 1905 she started a company producing hair products for black women, and throughout her life fought for civil rights. Always make sure you look your best on the battleground...
Each night Dario Franchetti has been sitting in the audience, taking the temperature (hot) watching his wife Ashley Judd's back (cool). But he's an Indy car driver....and so, in Indianapolis, had no choice but to move into pole position... His debut on the campaigning circuit was up to his sporting standards, he was incredible, and fast to my slow. Succinct is not a national characteristic if you're Irish.
And on to Cincinnati Ohio. I fall asleep in the back of the bus, with the blinds up and dream in some of the most beautiful landscape in the world lit up by the snow. My dream is a hamburger brought to me by John Sampson, our head of security... in the dream I get my hair cut and haven't the strength to eat it. These are the ramblings of someone who's been away from home for too long. I miss my wife, I miss my kids, I can't wait for Christmas. My present, our present, will be a historic AIDS initiative. I can't believe that the lives of so many people depend on the way the wind is blowing in Washington DC, London, Paris, Tokyo, Berlin, Rome, Ottawa. To whom much is given, much is expected...
Carocol in Cincinnati is a house full of promise. HIV sufferers that are now activists. In amongst this righteous throng, the racial tension of the city is made ridiculous. Laughter is louder today than loss. I bump into Peter Frampton, who lives locally and wants to work globally on this issue. I tell him his song Show Me the Way taught me how to sing... I wasn't joking. It was a prayer to me.
These people are the 'aftershot' we so want to see in Africa. The number of people who die from AIDS in the US has fallen by 90 per cent since the introduction of anti-retroviral drugs.... The words of Pastor Ken Mallard from Indiana are still ringing in my ears: There will come a time when there is no such thing as AIDS. Just like polio.
Melissa Jones works for DATA USA. She's one of those dangerous quiet people that gets you to do everything she wants. Her front tooth chipped this morning during breakfast... I don't want her to get it fixed - foxy foxy foxy.
We are about to go to a meeting organised by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which is run by the impressive Ed Rigaud. They are building a museum to showcase the history of the underground railroad - the Ohio river which separates Cincinnati from Kentucky was an important crossroads for slaves on their journey to freedom. As it happens, Irish longshoremen, used to fighting blacks for the worst jobs, hid slaves in the civil war here. The Green Card plays well in this neighbourhood. I'll play any card - Irish, rockstar, Catholic, Protestant, sensitive, macho, upper working class snob, wino.... I'll make my personality crisis go to work for me....
This meeting tonight is in Harriet Beecher Stowe House... this area of the world was full of pioneering women seeking justice... I'm finding out it still is.
Click below to read earlier entries