From a speech given by Irish rock star Bono to the graduating class at the University of Pennsylvania on May 19, 2004.
There's a truly great Irish poet his name is Brendan Kennelly, and he has this epic poem called the Book of Judas, and there's a line in that poem that never leaves my mind, it says: "If you want to serve the age, betray it." What does that mean to betray the age?
Well to me betraying the age means exposing its conceits, it's foibles; it's phony moral certitudes. It means telling the secrets of the age and facing harsher truths.
Every age has its massive moral blind spots. We might not see them, but our children will. Slavery was one of them and the people who best served that age were the ones who called it as it was--which was ungodly and inhuman. Ben Franklin called it what it was when he became president of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society.
Segregation. There was another one. America sees this now but it took a civil rights movement to betray their age. And 50 years ago the U.S. Supreme Court betrayed the age May 17, 1954, Brown vs. Board of Education came down and put the lie to the idea that separate can ever really be equal. Amen to that.
Fast forward 50 years. May 17, 2004. What are the ideas right now worth betraying? What are the lies we tell ourselves now? What are the blind spots of our age? What's worth spending your post-Penn lives trying to do or undo? It might be something simple.
It might be something as simple as our deep down refusal to believe that every human life has equal worth. Could that be it? Could that be it? Each of you will probably have your own answer, but for me that is it. And for me the proving ground has been Africa.
Africa makes a mockery of what we say, at least what I say, about equality and questions our pieties and our commitments because there's no way to look at what's happening over there and it's effect on all of us and conclude that we actually consider Africans as our equals before God. There is no chance.
An amazing event happened here in Philadelphia in 1985 - Live Aid - that whole We Are The World phenomenon the concert that happened here. Well after that concert I went to Ethiopia with my wife, Ali. We were there for a month and an extraordinary thing happened to me. We used to wake up in the morning and the mist would be lifting we'd see thousands and thousands of people who'd been walking all night to our food station where we were working. One man - I was standing outside talking to the translator - had this beautiful boy and he was saying to me in Amharic, I think it was, I said I can't understand what he's saying, and this nurse who spoke English and Amharic said to me, he's saying will you take his son. He's saying please take his son, he would be a great son for you. I was looking puzzled and he said, "You must take my son because if you don't take my son, my son will surely die. If you take him he will go back to Ireland and get an education." Probably like the ones we're talking about today. I had to say no, that was the rules there and I walked away from that man, I've never really walked away from it. But I think about that boy and that man and that's when I started this journey that's brought me here into this stadium.
Because at that moment I became the worst scourge on God's green earth, a rock star with a cause. Christ! Except it isn't the cause. Seven thousand Africans dying every day of preventable, treatable disease like AIDS? That's not a cause, that's an emergency. And when the disease gets out of control because most of the population live on less than one dollar a day? That's not a cause, that's an emergency. And when resentment builds because of unfair trade rules and the burden of unfair debt, that are debts by the way that keep Africans poor? That's not a cause, that's an emergency. So--We Are The World, Live Aid, start me off it was an extraordinary thing and really that event was about charity. But 20 years on I'm not that interested in charity. I'm interested in justice. There's a difference. Africa needs justice as much as it needs charity.
Equality for Africa is a big idea. It's a big expensive idea. I see the Wharton graduates now getting out the math on the back of their programs, numbers are intimidating aren't they, but not to you! But the scale of the suffering and the scope of the commitment they often numb us into a kind of indifference. Wishing for the end to AIDS and extreme poverty in Africa is like wishing that gravity didn't make things so damn heavy. We can wish it, but what the hell can we do about it?
Well, more than we think. We can't fix every problem - corruption, natural calamities are part of the picture here - but the ones we can we must. The debt burden, as I say, unfair trade, as I say, sharing our knowledge, the intellectual copyright for lifesaving drugs in a crisis, we can do that. And because we can, we must. Because we can, we must. Amen.
This is the straight truth, the righteous truth. It's not a theory, it's a fact. The fact is that this generation--yours, my generation--that can look at the poverty, we're the first generation that can look at poverty and disease, look across the ocean to Africa and say with a straight face, we can be the first to end this sort of stupid extreme poverty, where in the world of plenty, a child can die for lack of food in it's belly. We can be the first generation. It might take a while, but we can be that generation that says no to stupid poverty. It's a fact, the economists confirm it. It's an expensive fact but, cheaper than say the Marshall Plan that saved Europe from communism and fascism. And cheaper I would argue than fighting wave after wave of terrorism's new recruits. That's the economics department over there, very good.
It's a fact. So why aren't we pumping our fists in the air and cheering about it? Well probably because when we admit we can do something about it, we've got to do something about it. For the first time in history we have the know how, we have the cash, we have the lifesaving drugs, but do we have the will?
55 Reasons why I love You..
1) The way you stand by my side
2) The times you make sure nothing will harm me
3) How you always find a new way to "WoW" me
4) When I'm sad, you take the pain away with a joke
5) How you always look deep into my eyes
6) How you can make my heart melt with your soft lips
7) The way you hold my hand so tight
Cool The way you never let my hands go
Cool How you always watch out for me
9) They way you make sure I have everything I need
10) How you always know what to say when I get mad at you
11) When you buy me things out of the blue
12) How you say the cutest things over and over and never gets old
13) The way you play with my hair when I'm falling asleep
14) The way you stare at me as if I am the most handsome guy in the world!
15) The times when you where determind for me not to be mad at you anymore
16) The way you look when I get all dressed up
17) The smile you give after I'm done kissing you
1Cool The way you act like a dork but make me laugh
19) The way your not embarrased to say or do anything in front of me
20) How you can just defend me and not be scared
21) They way you walk when you get sad!!
22) The look you make when you get jealous
23) When Im feeling the worst, you make me feel the happiest
24) The way you sing to be all cheesy
25) How you can just drive hours to see me for a day
26) How you always finish my sentences
27) How your the only one who thinks im NOT weird
2Cool How your the only one who gets my joke... and laughs
29) The way we play stupid games, but you play anyways
30) How I can never hate you
31) How you love me like no other
32) The way you touch me as if I might break
33) How you tell me long stories that have no meaning, but you know I'll listen anyway
34) How you listen to me talk for hours
35) How you forgive me when I do wrong
36) How you hardly ever get mad at me
37) The way you look after I say I love you
3Cool How times it seems like we're the only ones here
39) the way your not embarrased to call me sweet things in front of anyone
40) The way you call me every freakin minute
41) The way you always find a way to see me or talk to me
42) How you put ME before you friends
43) How you would do anything I say
44) The way you get my attention
45) The way I turn you on, without me doing anything
46) How you can just speak your mind
47) How your not afraid to tell me your feelings
4Cool How you can cry in front of me with out being shy or embarassed
49) How you can diss parties to just stay home with me all night
50) How we talk on the phone all night
51) How we both get along so well
52) The way you spend all your money to buy calling cards for me
53) The way we're so much alike!!
54) How you make me feel when I think I'm nothing
55) the way you inspire me with your thoughts and emotions!!!!