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Maybe U2 can help our peace process once more

Published 17/11/2015

I wish to challenge Councillor Jim Rodgers' negative comments about U2 coming back to Belfast this week. Jim clearly knows little of Bono and U2's consistent and powerful commitment to peace, reconciliation and non-violence, in Ireland and globally.

Bono has always been a man of faith and peace, and has expressed this in his campaigning, his action and his songs.

From the Sunday Bloody Sunday lyrics, "We can be as one tonight", to "One life, but we're not the same/We get to carry each other, carry each other" in One, to "Sick of hearing again and again, that there's gonna be peace on Earth" in Peace on Earth (about the Omagh bombing), to Raised By Wolves (about the Dublin/Monaghan bombings), he has expressed solidarity with all victims and those fighting for truth and justice.

On the eve of the U2 concerts, we should really be reflecting on Bono and U2's last appearance in Belfast. It was an amazing night - May 19, 1998 - three days before the Good Friday Agreement.

Who will ever forget the iconic image of John Hume, Bono and David Trimble, hands together, on stage at the Waterfront Hall at the U2/Ash "Yes" concert? An image of "two men who have taken a leap of faith out of the past and into the future," as Bono said.

John Hume said at the time: "Some people think that pop stars do not live in the real world. Well, Bono, you and your band live in the real world. You brought David Trimble and I together, you brought the young people out. You made the difference."

Indeed, exit polls show that, between the U2/Ash concert and the Blair pledges, between five and six percentage points were added to the "Yes" vote.

On that magical night, Bono and U2 showed their strength by reaching out, embracing and uniting the two tribes on the island of Ireland. Their efforts on that evening really did make the difference between success and failure.

Maybe this week, Bono and U2 can help us rekindle that flame of peace.


Belfast City Council

Belfast Telegraph

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