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Fwd: Fwd: [up-jodera] Bono Harvard Graduation Speech

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  • ana cielo
    Ana Cielo Matuloy wrote: To: annacoelum@yahoo.com Date: Wed, 06 Nov 2002 17:31:28 -0800 From: Ana Cielo Matuloy Subject: Fwd: Fwd:
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 7, 2002
      Ana Cielo Matuloy <anacielo@...> wrote:
      To: annacoelum@...
      Date: Wed, 06 Nov 2002 17:31:28 -0800
      From: "Ana Cielo Matuloy"
      Subject: Fwd: Fwd: [up-jodera] Bono Harvard Graduation Speech


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      DATE: Wed, 06 Nov 2002 16:51:50
      From: "ron demabasa"
      To: anacielo@..., shades1206@...


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      --------- Forwarded Message ---------

      DATE: Wed, 6 Nov 2002 20:53:00
      From: "Michael Oliver M. De Guzman"
      To: , ,,
      Cc:

      kinda long. good read though. =)

      Mike.


      > Harvard Commencement 2001
      > Class Day
      > by Bono of U2
      >
      > I suppose I should say a few words about who I am and
      > what on earth I'm doing up here.
      >
      > My name is Bono, and I am a rock star.
      >
      > Now, I tell you this, not as a boast but as a kind of
      > confession. Because in my view the only thing worse than a rock star is
      > a rock star with a conscience - a celebrity with a cause... oh, dear!
      >
      > Worse yet, is a singer with a conscience - a placard-waving,
      > knee-jerking, fellow-travelling activist with a Lexus, and a swimming
      > pool shaped like his head.
      >
      > I'm a singer. You know what a singer is? Someone with a hole in his
      > heart as big as his ego. When you need 20,000 people screaming your
      > name in order to feel good about your day, you know you're a singer.
      >
      > I am a singer and a songwriter but I am also a father, four times over.
      > I am a friend to dogs. I am a sworn enemy of the saccharine; and a
      > believer in grace over karma. I talk too much when I'm drunk and
      > sometimes even when I'm not.
      >
      > I am not drunk right now. These are not sunglasses, these are
      > protection.
      >
      > But I must tell you. I owe more than my spoiled lifestyle to rock music.
      > I owe my worldview. Music was like an alarm clock for me as a teenager
      > and still keeps me from falling asleep in the comfort of my freedom.
      >
      > Rock music to me is rebel music. But rebelling against what? In the
      > Fifties it was sexual mores and double standards. In the Sixties it was
      > the Vietnam War and racial and social inequality. What are we rebelling
      > against now?
      >
      > If I am honest I'm rebelling against my own indifference. I am
      > rebelling against the idea that the world is the way the world is and
      > there's not a damned thing I can do about it. So I'm trying to do some
      > damned thing.
      >
      > But fighting my indifference is my own problem. What's your problem?
      > What's the hole in your heart? I needed the noise, the applause. You
      > needed the grades. Why are you here in Harvard Square?
      >
      > Why do you have to listen to me? What have you given
      > up to get here? Is
      > success your drug of choice or are you driven by
      > another curiosity?
      > Your potential. The potential of a given situation. Is missing the
      > moment unacceptable to you? Is wasting inspiration a crime?
      > It is for a musician.
      >
      > If this is where we find our lives rhyme. If this is
      > our common ground, well, then I can be inspired as well as humbled to be on this great campus. Because that's where I come from. Music.
      >
      > But I've seen the other side of music - the Business.
      > I've seen success as a drug of choice. I've seen great minds and
      > prolific imaginations disappear up their own ass, strung out on their own
      > self importance.
      > I'm one of them.
      >
      > The misery of having it all your own way, the
      > loneliness of sitting at a table where everyone works for you, the emptiness of arriving at Aspen on a Gulfstream to stay in your winter palace. Eh, sorry, different speech
      > ...
      >
      > You know what I'm talking about - you've got to keep
      > asking yourself why are you doing this? You've got to keep checking your
      > motives.
      >
      > Success for my group U2 has been a lot easier to
      > conjure than, say ...
      > relevance. RELEVANCE ... in the world, in the culture.
      >
      > And of course, failure is not such a bad thing ...
      > It's not a word that many of you know. I'm sure it's what you fear the
      > most. But from an artist's point of view, failure is where you get your
      > best material.
      >
      > So fighting indifference versus making a difference.
      > Let me tell you a few things you haven't heard about me, even on the
      > Internet.
      >
      > Let me tell you how I enrolled at Harvard and slept with an economics
      > professor.
      >
      > That's right - I became a student at Harvard recently,
      > and came to work with Professor Jeffrey Sachs at CID - to study the
      > lack of development in third-world economies due to the crushing weight
      > of old debts those economies were carrying for generations.
      >
      > It turns out that the normal rules of bankruptcy don't apply to
      > sovereign states. Listen, it would be harder for you to get a student
      > loan than it was for President Mobutu to stream billions
      > of dollars into his Swiss bank account while his people starved on the side of the road. Two generations later, the Congolese are still paying.
      > The debts of the fathers are now the debts of the sons and the daughters.
      >
      > So I was here representing a group that believed that
      > all such debts should be cancelled in the year 2000. We called it
      > Jubilee 2000. A fresh start for a new millennium.
      >
      > It was headed up by Anne Pettifor, based out of London
      > - huge support from Africa. With Muhammad Ali, Sir Bob Geldof, and
      > myself, acting at first just as mouthpieces. It was taking off. But we were
      > way behind in the U.S.
      >
      > We had the melody line, so to speak. But in order to
      > get it on the radio over here, we needed a lot of help. My friend
      > Bobby Shriver suggested
      >
      > I knock on the good professor's door. And a funny thing happened.
      > Jeffrey Sachs not only let me into his office, he let me into his
      > Rolodex, his head and his life for the last few years. So in a
      > sense he let me in to your life here at Harvard.
      >
      > Then Sachs and I, with my friend Bobby Shriver hit the
      > road like some kind of surreal crossover act. A rock star, a
      > Kennedy, and a Noted Economist crisscrossing the globe. like the Partridge Family on psychotropic
      >
      > drugs. With the POPE acting as our ... well .... agent. And the
      > blessing of various Rabbis, Evangelists, mothers, unions, trade
      > unions and PTAs.
      >
      > It was a new level of "unhip" for me, but it was really cool. It was in
      > that capacity that I slept with Jeff Sachs, each of us in our own seat
      > on an economy flight to somewhere, passed out like a couple of drunks
      > from sheer exhaustion.
      >
      > It was confusing for everyone - I looked up with one
      > eye to see your hero - stubble in all the wrong places ... His tie
      > looked more like a headband. An airhostess asked if he were a member of the Grateful Dead.
      >
      > I have enormous respect for Jeff Sachs but it's really
      > true what they say. "Students shouldn't sleep with their
      > professors..."
      >
      > While I'm handing out trade secrets, I also want to
      > tell you that Larry Summers, your incoming President, the man whose
      > signature is on every American dollar is a nutcase - and a freak.
      >
      > Look, U2 made it big out of Boston, not New York or
      > L.A., so I thought if anyone would know about our existence it would be a
      > Treasury Secretary from Harvard [and M.I.T.]. Alas, no. When I said I was
      > from U2 he had a flashback from Cuba 1962.
      >
      > How can I put this? And don't hold it against him -
      > Mr. Summers is, as former President Clinton confirmed to me last week in Dublin, "culturally challenged."
      >
      > But when I asked him to look up from "the numbers" to
      > see what we were talking about, he did more than that. He did - the
      > hardest thing of all for an Economist - he saw through the numbers.
      >
      > And if it was hard for me to enlist Larry Summers in
      > our efforts, imagine how hard it was for Larry Summers to get the
      > rest of Washington to cough up the cash. To really make a difference for
      > the third of the world that lives on less than a dollar a day.
      >
      > He more than tried. He was passionate. He turned up in
      > the offices of his adversaries. He turned up in restaurants with me
      > to meet the concerns
      > of his Republican counterparts. There is a posh
      > restaurant in Washington they won't let us in now. Such was the heat of his debate - blood on the walls, wine in the vinegar.
      >
      > If you're called up before the new President of
      > Harvard and he gives you the hairy eyeball, drums his fingers, and
      > generally acts disinterested it could be the beginning of a great adventure.
      >
      > It's a good thing that I got invited up here before
      > President Rudenstine hands over the throne.
      >
      > Well. it's at this point that I have to ask - if your
      > family don't do
      > it
      > first - why am I telling you these stories? It's
      > certainly not because I'm running for role model.
      >
      > I'm telling you these stories because all that fun I
      > had with Jeff Sachs and Larry Summers was in the service of
      > something deadly serious.
      > When people around the world heard about the burden of
      > debt that crushes the poorest countries, when they heard that for every
      > dollar of government aid we sent to developing nations, nine dollars came
      > back in debt service
      > payments, when they heard all that, people got angry.
      >
      > They took to the streets - in what was without doubt
      > the largest grass roots movement since the campaign to end apartheid.
      > Politics is, as you know, normally the art of the possible but this
      > was something more interesting. This was becoming the art of the
      > impossible. We had priests going into pulpits, pop stars into
      > parliaments. The Pope put on my
      > sunglasses.
      >
      > The religious right started acting like student
      > protesters. And finally, after a floor fight in the House of
      > Representatives, we got
      > the money - four three five million. That four three five
      > - which is starting
      > to be a lot of money - leveraged billions more from
      > other rich countries.
      >
      > So where does that money go? Well, so far, 23 of the
      > poorest countries have managed to meet the sometimes over-stringent
      > conditions to get their debt payments reduced - and to spend the money on the people who need it most.
      >
      > In Uganda, twice as many kids are now going to
      > school. That's good. In Mozambique, debt payments are down 42 percent, allowing health spending to increase by $14 million. That's good,
      > too. $14 million goes a long way in Mozambique.
      >
      > If I could tell you about one remarkable man in rural
      > Uganda named Dr. Kabira. In 1999, measles - a disease that's almost
      > unheard of in the U.S. - killed hundreds of kids in Dr. Kabira's
      > district. Now, thanks to debt
      > relief, he's got an additional $6,000 from the state,
      > enough for him to employ two new nurses and buy two new bicycles so
      > they can get around the district and immunize children. Last year,
      > measles was a killer.
      > This
      > year, Dr. Kabira saw less than ten cases.
      >
      > I just wanted you to know what we pulled off with the
      > help of Harvard - with the help of people like Jeffrey Sachs.
      >
      > But I'm not here to brag, or to take credit, or even to share it. Why
      > am I here? Well, again I think to just say "thanks."
      > But also, I think I've come here to ask you for your help. This is a big
      > problem. We need some smart people working on it. I think this will be the defining moment of our age.
      >
      > When the history books (that some of you will write)
      > make a record of our times, this moment will be remembered for two
      > things: the Internet.
      > And the everyday holocaust that is Africa. Twenty
      > five million HIV positives who will leave behind 40 million AIDS
      > orphans by 2010. This is the
      > biggest health threat since the Bubonic Plague wiped
      > out a third of Europe.
      >
      > It's an unsustainable problem for Africa and, unless
      > we hermetically seal the continent and close our conscience. It's an
      > unsustainable problem for the world but it's hard to make this a popular
      > cause because it's hard
      > to make it pop, you know? That, I guess, is what I'm
      > trying to do. Pop is
      > often the oxygen of politics.
      >
      > Didn't John and Robert Kennedy come to Harvard? Isn't equality a son of
      > a bitch to follow through on. Isn't "Love thy neighbour" in the global
      > village so inconvenient? GOD writes us these lines but we have to sing
      > them ... take them to the top of the charts, but its not what the radio
      > is playing - is it? I know.
      >
      > But we've got to follow through on our ideals or we betray something at
      > the heart of who we are. Outside these gates, and even within them, the
      > culture of idealism is under siege beset by materialism and narcissism
      > and all the other "isms" of indifference. And their defense mechanism
      > - knowingness, the smirk, the joke. Worse still, it's a marketing tool.
      > they've got Martin Luther King selling phones now. Have you seen that?
      >
      > Civil Rights in America and Europe are bound to human rights in the rest
      > of the world. The right to live like a human. But these thoughts are
      > expensive - they're going to cost us. Are we ready to pay the price?
      > Is America still a great idea as well as a great country?
      >
      > When I was a kid in Dublin, I watched in awe as America put a man on the moon and I thought, wow - this is mad! Nothing is impossible in
      > America!
      >
      > America, they can do anything over there! Nothing was impossible only
      > human nature and it followed because it was led.
      >
      > Is that still true? Tell me it's true. It is true isn't it? And if it
      > isn't, you of all people can make it true again.







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