The Artist and The Politician

3 Dec 2000
In the new edition of Rolling Stone Magazine, Bono is nominated as one of the 'people of the year', notably for his work with the Jubilee 2000 campaign to cancel the debts of the worlds poorest countries.

'The relationship of an artist and a politician is an uncomfortable one, ' he says. 'Because you might not be able to be so friendly the next time you see them, if they haven't given you what you wanted.'



INSPIRED by the Old Testament tradition of the jubilee year, in which the indebted should be unburdened every fifty years, Bono teamed up with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2000 to help cancel the debts of the world's poorest countries. The world was thankful; his U2 mates were annoyed. Turns out you can't save the planet and toil in a recording studio simultaneously. So Bono set about saving his band by completing All That You Can't Leave Behind, the group's tenth studio album and most exciting work in years. Finally, as 2000 winds down, heaven and earth have aligned for the U2 frontman.

You had the notion of this being a jubilee year. Was it a success?

We got $100 billion agreed for debt cancellation, and that feels like a lot.

What's it like working with Kofi Annan?

Kofi Annan, as it happens, is one of the finest people I've ever met. But I think the relationship of an artist and a politician is an uncomfortable one. Because you might not be able to be so friendly the next time you see them, if they haven't given you what you wanted.

You started out with a group of bands that were very activist in spirit, and there haven't been groups to take the mantle from you. Are you ready to hand it off?

It's so boring. No one wants it. They've more sense than I have. It's so unhip."

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