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Music365 : Bono and Friends Praise ’Funky Pontiff’ at World Debt Summit

jeudi 23 septembre 1999

Source : Music365

From Music365 :

Bono and Friends Praise ’Funky Pontiff’ at World Debt Summit

Bono and Bob Geldof have praised Pope John Paul II forbacking a global campaign to cancel debts owed by the world’spoorest countries.

The U2 frontman and the Live Aid supremo met with HisHoliness at his summer residence in Rome today (September23), as part of a delegation of musicians, economists andcharity workers from the Jubilee 2000 Coalition.

Bono gave the Pope a collection of poetry by Seamus Heaney,and as he handed over the book, His Holiness also grabbed thesinger’s trademark ’Fly’ sunglasses and put them on.

At a press conference following the behind-closed-doorsmeeting, Bono said : "He’s a charming man as well as a holyman. I told him he was a great showman, whereupon he tookmy ’Fly’ shades and put them on. The first funky Pontiff !"

The singer said he was aware that the Pope was not in thebest of health and that he was grateful that he made the effortto meet the delegation.

"You could see what a struggle it was for him and yet he madeit seem so easy to hang out with a bunch of economists andpop stars. I don’t know how you could turn such a man down,and I don’t think Bill Clinton wants to turn this man down, orTony Blair, or Gerhard Schroeder."

Bono has met all three politicians on behalf of Jubilee 2000 inrecent months.

Geldof added : "Were the spirit of this frail old man mirrored in apractical way by our political leaders, then the final push ofpolitical will to eradicate this unnecessary tragedy would beeasily achieved... and I liked his shoes !"

Bono joked that the Pope’s red-brown Gucci’s may well havebeen fakes bought in Poland.

"To have that grace, to be so light with such a heavy issue weighing on his mindas something I’ll remember always," the U2 singer continued. "And it is a heavyissue that, at the end of the 20th century, there are over a billion people in direcircumstances, and people of my generation are tired of throwing pennies at theproblem.

"They want to be part of a bigger idea, to effect the structure of this economy,and this is the biggest and best idea that any of us have heard to deal with such aproblem on such a scale."

Quincy Jones, who was also part of the delegation, said : "We’re talking abouthumanity. This man is not in the greatest of health right now, but he put everyinch of fortitude and spirit into being involved in the project because he feels thesame, if not more so, as we all do.

"I don’t think I’ve been this impressed since meeting Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatraand Stravinsky, but this was in a whole other realm."

In a prepared statement, the Pope said : "The Catholic Church looks at the situationwith great concern, not because she has any concrete technical model ofdevelopment to offer, but because she has a moral vision of what the good ofindividuals and of the human family demands.

"She has consistently taught that there is a ’social mortgage’ on all privateproperty, a concept which today must also be applied to ’intellectual property’ andto ’knowledge’. The law of profit alone cannot be applied to that which is essentialfor the fight against hunger, disease and poverty."

Ann Pettifor, director and co-founder of Jubilee 2000, added : "It is now up to theworld’s leaders to rise to the Pope’s call and moral leadership."

Latino jazz star Willie Colon said the Western economies could afford to wipe outthe debts of their poorer neighbours : "It would take $6 billion to educate everyonein the Third World, and in America they spent $8 billion a year on cosmetics. Itwould take $9 billion to bring electricity and water to everyone that needs it, andin Europe and America we spent $17 billion on dog food.

"It really is a shame. It’s not gonna cost us anything, we’re not gonna feel it, andit’s the right thing to do."

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