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Make Poverty History: ProBono


“What will our generation be remembered for? The internet, yes, the war against terror, yes . . . wouldn’t it be great if we were also remembered for being the ones who set about Making Poverty History!” Bono (British Labour Party Conference, 2005)

An ardent activist for the eradication of poverty, U2 lead singer Bono is as well-known for his political activism as his rock and roll sensibilities. As well as bringing his music to the stage, Bono tours the world as a messenger for those affected by poverty. In each country he visits, Bono meets with world leaders, challenging them to keep promises they have made and reconsider policies to help the poor, asking that we be the generation which eradicates world poverty. An educated and passionate advocate, his is not just a self-appeasing wish, but a genuine belief shared by thousands of New Zealanders.


WHYREADTHIS? Playing in Auckland on March 17 and 18, Bono will not only want to talk about the music that has propelled him into being one of rock’n’roll’s most noted names, but his other passion – to MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY.

Originally motivated by time spent working in an Ethiopian orphanage, Bono has gone on to become a key figure in what has now become the largest movement against poverty the world has ever seen. Last year thousands of New Zealanders joined with millions around the world to fight for the end of “extreme and stupid poverty”. There is no doubt Bono will push this message to MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY while he is here.


“We are the first generation that can look extreme and stupid poverty in the eye, look across the water to Africa and elsewhere and say this and mean it: we have the cash, we have the drugs, we have the science - but do we have the will? Do we have the will to make poverty history? Some say we can’t afford to. I say we can’t afford not to.”

“This is a real moment coming up, this could be real history, this could be something that your children, your children’s children, that our whole generation, will be
remembered for at the beginning of the 21st century. Putting right a relationship that has been so very wrong for so very long.”

“People are dying over there, needlessly dying, at a ridiculous rate and for the stupidest of reasons: money. They are dying because they don’t have a dollar a day to pay for the drugs that could save their lives.”

“6,500 Africans dying a day of treatable, preventable diseases - dying for want of medicines you and I can get at our local chemist - that’s not a cause, that’s an emergency.”

“I’ve described the deaths of 6,500 Africans a day from a preventable treatable disease like aids: I watched people queuing up to die, three in a bed in Malawi. That’s Africa’s crisis. But the fact that we are not treating it like an emergency – and the fact that it’s not everyday on the news – well that’s our crisis.”
"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 a bargain."

“There’s no way we can look at Africa – a continent bursting into flames – and if we’re honest conclude that it would ever be allowed to happen anywhere else.”

“Trade – our badge of shame. We in the rich countries shuffle the poorest into a backroom, tie their hands and feet with our conditionalities and then use our subsidies to deliver the final blow…”

"When the story of these times gets written, we want it to say that we did all we could, and it was more than anyone could have imagined."

“Now you know why Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are really excited that U2’s got a new album coming out – why? Because I’ll be away on tour next year. But even from a tour bus I can be a pain in the arse. That’s my job.”


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