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Auf der Homepage des Rolling Stone findet sich ein Interview mit Popup LinkBono. Der Frage, was er denn leichter aufgeben könnte, die politische Arbeit gegen Armut oder U2, weicht er übrigens geschickt aus. Hier geht's zum 4-seitigen Artikel.

BONO The U2 frontman sits down for our 40th anniversary to talk about the future, the Buzzcocks and reasons to compromise. Anthony DeCurtis What is your most cynical vision of the future? That's a good one. I'm genuinely excited about the future, but it's clear that there's jeopardy. I don't know if you've read Martin Amis' short-story collection Einstein's Monsters. He's writing about the post-splitting-the-atom universe. In an essay at the start, he writes about feeling sick in his stomach because he can't escape the mathematical implications of there being all these nuclear weapons around the world and the odds of them going wrong. He's putting his kids to bed, and he just can't put that thought out of his head. He wrote that in the late Eighties or early Nineties, when there were vaguely organized control systems to hold back Einstein's monsters. What are the odds now? What's changed? We don't know where Einstein's monsters are. Are they moving around the world? Are they coming to my city? If you talk about a demonic view of the world, that's my first thought. Unless things calm down, it is clear that if you want to take out the head of a nation, you probably can. Now that's always been true, as we found out in the Sixties, but in the future, I can imagine a situation in which heads of state no longer have a set residence. And it also might be true that you can take a city out if you really want to. It is absolutely the monster in the room. And you feel it here in Manhattan. You must. But of course you don't talk about it. You don't think about it. But it must change the way you walk. And it must change the shape of your day in some tiny, tiny little increment. That thought is in the back of your head. So we're in the era of asymmetrical war. The greatest army cannot protect you from hatred that gets busy and organized and has enough of an audience to protect it. There's a moment. Was that true of Caesar? Was that true of Napoleon? No. Might was always right. Strangely, we have now entered a phase where being powerful and having the biggest nuclear arsenal leaves you completely defenseless. Now let's flip that. That could be a positive. Because if for the first time in history, military capacity doesn't protect you, what would? It would point us in the direction of prevention, rather than protection. When I'm arguing for increased aid to Africa, I always say, "Isn't it cheaper and smarter to make friends out of potential enemies than to defend yourself against them later?" We seem to be headed in exactly the opposite direction. Maybe it was possible to think that way right after 9/11, but that opportunity was squandered. When the French have you on the cover of their most treasured newspaper with the headline WE ARE ALL AMERICANS, something has been stirred! [Laughs] But this administration destroyed that. I know that you have to deal with a lot of these people. . . There was a plan there, you know. I think the president genuinely felt that if we could prove a model of democracy and broad prosperity in the Middle East, it might defuse the situation. I don't believe that, and in the capacity I had, I told them that. You said that? I told Paul Wolfowitz, all of them, to go ask the British army what it's like to stand on street corners and get shot at. Remember that during the British army's first years on the streets of Northern Ireland, they were applauded by the Catholic minority. Go look at that, and ask yourself how that all got turned around. It was always going to go wrong. I remember in the first moments after "shock and awe," I was watching it at home with [my wife] Ali and I said, "These people have just hidden their guns in the basement, took off their uniforms and come out waving American flags. And they've been told to. They knew this was coming, and they know what they're doing." So you mentioned this to Wolfowitz. Who else did you say this to? Did you say it to Tony Blair? I said it in all my conversations. To Condi. To Karl Rove. I did not discuss it with President Bush. I try to stick to my pitch, and it's an abuse of my access for me to switch subjects. But I'm a lippy Irish rock star, and I'm more used to putting my foot in my mouth than my fist. So occasionally I'm just going to talk about it. I want to be very, very clear, however: I understand and agree with the analysis of the problem. There is an imminent threat. It manifested itself on 9/11. It's real and grave. It is as serious a threat as Stalinism and National Socialism were. Let's not pretend it isn't. I think people as reasoned as Tony Blair looked at the world and didn't want to be Neville Chamberlain, who came back from meeting with Hitler with a piece of paper saying "peace in our time," while Hitler was planning to cross the channel from France. So what needs to be done? There's a word all of us have learned to undervalue: compromise. Bill Clinton once rang us, because he was collecting opinions on whether he should give Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams [of Sinn Féin, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army] a visa into the United States. I thought, "These people have put bombs in supermarkets, and many innocent people have lost their lives." So I said, "No. Don't dignify them." And he said, "But shouldn't you always talk to people?" And I said, "Yeah, but you dignify them." I was wrong. Clinton did exactly the right thing in talking to the Provisional IRA and other extremist elements. Now they have to do the same, in my opinion, with Hamas, and they have to do the same with Al Qaeda. You have to involve them in dialogue. But then you've also got to try to cut off the oxygen supply of hatred, which is false ideas about who you are as an American, who you are in the West. I know that sounds like limp liberalism, but it's really not. How would you describe it? I'm arguing for a demonstration to the world of what we're capable of in the West, with our technology, our innovations, our agriculture, our pharmacology. We've developed this unimaginable prosperity. Let's show the world what we can do with it. America, as I always say, is not just a country, it's an idea. The world needs to see right now what that idea means. Because there's an oncoming train on our track, and it's going to be met one way or another. It isn't going away. As a kid, did you have a particular vision of what the future would look like? When I was about sixteen, my head exploded. I had violent outbursts. I smashed things up. I went into myself. And I had a kind of poetic reverie, a couple of them, and one was a vision of the future. It was of a single, a 45. The grooves were going round and round, like a spiral, and things started to repeat much quicker. I don't know whether this was just a bad pint - I'm not ruling that out. But I remember staring at the ceiling and seeing a picture of the world speeding up, things repeating quickly. So the Fifties were going to happen again, the Sixties were going to happen again, and then they'd happen quicker. It was postmodern - there are no new ideas out there, everything is just being repeated. But it was this spiral thing I had. There was the first Buzzcocks EP, which is called Spiral Scratch, and it's like the picture we had in "Vertigo" as well. Now sometimes when I'm walking down the street, and I see a hippie, a punk and so on, I think, "This is exactly this world I pictured when I was a kid." It's like every age is present in this moment. I don't know what it means, exactly. I don't think it's negative or positive. It's just, we do live in a fractional present. No one mood predominates. What would be easier for you at this point, giving up U2 or your anti-poverty work? I can't live without music. I don't think I physically could live without music, because it's the thing that allows me to feel normal. It's like asking a psychotic person to do without their lithium, OK? [Laughs] But there are people out there whose lives are dependent on people like me who have access to agents of change, and I would have to take a big, deep breath before I gave that up. What I'm hoping is that the social movement that is growing around our issues will be so strong that in the event of somebody like me not being around they won't notice. In the end, social movements carry the day, not rock stars. Thirteen hundred campuses have signed on to our One Campaign - as part of our Millennium Development Goals, getting the world's wealthiest nations to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015. Those college kids are redefining their country through the prism of the fight against poverty. Issues like that afford a chance to America to redescribe itself to the world. But they also afford America a chance to redescribe itself to its citizens. That's what's going on. What do you mean? People are nauseous about being perceived as the enemy. After Abu Ghraib, reasonable, rational people were saying the most despicable things about America. Imagine that. The country that not only liberated Europe but rebuilt Europe with the Marshall Plan. The country of Omaha Beach. The heroism of people who gave their lives for people like my dad. I mean, this is the United States of America. And, by the way, whoever fixes that problem gets elected. People say, "Oh, it's all about the economy." This is the first time it's not. It's about turning that idea around. We're the United States of America, and we do not like being seen as the enemy. And it's a wave. I think the next generation is going to roll right over us. There's a new kind of hard-headed idealism out there, which is not about "Let's hold hands and wish away the world's problems." People are ready to change the world one brick at a time. I really believe that. What can that idealism produce? It is utterly accepted in the U.S. and Europe that you cannot live a life of peace and prosperity if at the end of your avenue there are hungry people without clean water, losing their children because they cannot access a twenty-cent vaccine or dying for the lack of drugs we have falling out of our medicine cabinets. So, some optimistic thoughts: In the near future, distance will no longer decide who your neighbor is. It will be accepted that the slums of Kibera, Kenya, the rural poverty of Lalibela, Ethiopia, the refugee camps of Darfur, Sudan, are at the end of our lane. In the not-too-distant future, the anopheles mosquito will be all but chased off the planet, saving 3,000 children's lives that right now are lost to malaria every day in Africa. In the not-too-distant future, the rich world will invest in the education of the poor world, because it is our best protection against young minds being twisted by extremist ideologies - or growing up without any ideology at all, which could be worse. Nature abhors a vacuum; terrorism loves one. Has your activism affected how you think about being in U2? I've spent a lot of time in these two-dimensional worlds - numbers, values, analysis of statistics. And when I get away from it, being with U2 is such a playground. It's made me realize how sacred music is. It's a kind of sacrament - like marriage, like friendship. I'm not sure the other three in the band know this, because they - maybe sensibly - have avoided that other world. They just think they're in U2, and that's great. But I really know how great it is to be in U2. Is it as great as what you dreamed it might be like when you were young? When I was a kid and I was at school, I worked at a gas station. And I would just get wound up thinking about practice on Saturdays - or Wednesdays sometimes. Just hearing the sound of a drum kit in a room, the silver of the ride cymbal and the skin of a tom-tom. It meant a great deal to me. Then, as it became my job to be in a band, you take for granted that you've got a few hours with your mates in the studio. I don't anymore. It is sanctuary and escape from the material world of causalities, profit and loss, cynicism and hard-bitten victories over your own indifference or somebody else's. You get into this fucking room and everything seems possible, and I've never really appreciated it more than now. Really and truly. It's this incredible thing. I treasure it. I treasure it now more than ever. I'm terrified that I might lose my first love in the supermarket, in the maw of so many choices of what you can do with your time. But I also think I'm better for having my brain pummeled in so many different areas. Has your activism made you more or less idealistic about government? Just being in D.C., and meeting all the people I've met - I've now been going there for nearly ten years. They let me in their rooms and they listen to my rhetoric or invective or whatever it turns out to be. And I come away from that city not with nausea but with admiration. These people work like dogs. These lawmakers, they're trying to move between their families back home and Washington. All of them could make much more money in the private sector. Not all, but most of them are there for the right reasons. There's very little glamour. And they're listening to me, who's completely over-rewarded for what I do. Yes, I have my moments and I lose patience. I'm in a rage sometimes. But my overall feeling when I look at the body politic, which I know now very well, is "God, these people can behave very badly, but they work very hard and they're often motivated by much higher intentions than I thought when I came into the process." I'm amazed by it. So are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future? It's a problem, because sometimes I don't see obstacles, and if I had, I might not have set out on the course. It's a criticism of me that I've underestimated obstacles. Do you accept that? Yeah. But I think I'm less like that now. Now I'm about "Describe Everest, then climb it." Know what you're in for. I think you can achieve much more than you'd ever imagined by getting busy and getting organized. And don't get too interested in what's "possible." The impossible is made possible by a combination of faith, gift and strategy. You need faith for sure - as Lou Reed says, "A busload of faith to get by." You need some talents, and if you don't have them, you better find people who do. And then: strategy. That's as true of making U2's next album as it is with the One Campaign to make poverty history. What's the next important challenge ahead? The next presidential election will be a real moment for America. Talk about the battle of ideas - I mean, this is it. You will get the country you deserve. You have to ask hard questions of who will be your leader, because we fans of America - annoying fans, maybe, but real fans - have a lot at stake. Even those who are not fans - everybody who values freedom, progressive thinking, innovation, has a stake in America. The country you may own. But not the idea. Actually, I heard a great one. I was wandering through France, and I ended up in this vineyard. They asked me to sign the visitors' book - it was a very posh wine: Petrus - they said, "Do you want to see the other people who have signed here?" I said, "Sure. Show me the first book." Thomas Jefferson. That makes me laugh so much. Here's this guy dreaming up an idea called America, drinking some fancy wine. My kind of guy.

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