Bono sings an anti-hunger tune

2011-10-11 11:05

Bono, U2 frontman and ONE.org co-founder, has challenged world leaders who will be meeting at the G-20 summit in November to prevent the deaths of 75 000 Somalis from famine.

In an open letter to G-20 leaders, Bono said thousands have died in Somalia and unless action is taken, the famine in the Horn of Africa country could kill over 750 000 people in the coming months.

Bono referred to famine as a new obscenity. “I’ve been known to drop the occasional expletive, but the most offensive F word to me is not the one that goes f***. It’s F***** – the famine happening in the Horn of Africa, mainly Somalia,” he added.

“When you meet at the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit in November, you have the opportunity to break the cycle of famine and ensure people are hungry no more. Lives are in your hands,” Bono said.

He admitted that the reasons for the famine in the Horn of Africa were complex and solutions difficult, especially in Somalia, but urged world leaders not to “loose sight of some simple facts” that over 30 000 children have died of hunger in just three months.

He appealed to world leaders to always remember that “every one of those 30 000 children is part of a family – a son, a daughter, sister or brother”.
“Famine is not a natural catastrophe – drought doesn’t have to lead to famine. It can be prevented,” he said.

Bono called for an investment in the things proven to work in preventing famine like early warning systems, irrigation; the use of drought resistant seeds and peace and security.

“We can’t imagine what it must be like to starve to death, but most of us know what it’s like to lose someone we love,” Bono said.

Bono attended Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s book launch last week on the eve of his birthday where he told him he “is the only rock star in the room”.

“At 80, you are on one punk rock level higher than I am. You are also more dangerous than any rock star because, Arch... you’re radical like the Christ whose footsteps you tread,” he said.

He is a co-founder of ONE.org, an organisation that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to action.

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