Amnesty International and U2 Fans

Eric Shivvers Chicago :

When U2 played here in Chicago two nights ago, I was asked to take some pictures of the show and I did. Yeah, I have a great shot of Larry playing his djembe and a couple of the Edge, both of which will make great mementos but as I stood against the rail behind the stage taking in the show, I turned around and observed a group of One campaigners and Amnesty International volunteers lining up to go onstage.  I thought to myself, if Bono Edge, Adam and Larry are the generals of philanthropy and we are the army of followers, then these are the lieutenants. Night in and night out on this tour, local volunteers give up their time to sign up us fans for these causes. Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry know that we are a community of good-hearted people, willing to join a cause they promote. 

As stage crew handed out the props that these good Samaratins were going to walk with onstage, I knew this would be the one photograph that no one else would take. The smiling happy volunteers were excited to go onstage, even if it was just to stand for five minutes or so, representing their great organizations. It didn’t matter that they weren’t going to play along with Edge or sing with Bono. What they were doing was more important. They were speaking to us in silence for those who don’t have a voice. The people they represent are the AIDS patient waiting to die in a hospital in Central Africa or a political prisoner such as Aung San Suu Kyi. Both of whom need these organizations to set justice straight.

I thought it was a little camp the first time I witnessed this on the 360 tour, but after seeing their smiling faces in these pictures, I have greater respect for this spectacle during the show. U2 keeps teaching me something new about the world every time they go out on the road. With these volunteers and our passion for the band, we have made a difference. Aung San Suu Kyi was finally freed from house arrest and 4 million lives were saved from AIDS with anti-retroviral drugs. These two accomplishments came from rock stars that didn’t have to take up these causes, but they did and they made a believer out of me when I joined their army 25+ years ago.   

In closing, these pictures will never grace the entertainment section of the Chicago Tribune, but the opportunity to represent their cause for five minutes onstage will last a lifetime. They will tell their friends and family about standing shoulder to shoulder with U2 on a hot July night in 2011. There may be no photographs of witness to their triumph but that’s okay. They are volunteers who will slip back into their day-today world unrecognized as the rockers they shared the stage with, but recognized, through their passion, as the keepers of the flame, telling us that we can change the world one U2 fan at a time.


The Edge Supports Aung San Sun Kyi

U2/The Edge Dave Evans, known as Edge, from the band U2 says that they will continue their support for the Myanmar (Burma) democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Edge, in a news letter said “I’m sure, like us, you’re delighted with the news of the release of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma at the weekend. We should all be relieved, if cautious, that she has been able to take a step towards freedom.

However, we must remember that her release is not part of any political process but is designed to get positive publicity for the dictatorship after the blatant rigging of elections on 7th November. We must not forget the thousands of other political prisoners still suffering in Burma’s jails and must do whatever we can to encourage the international community to engage the junta in dialogue.

We will continue our support of this remarkable woman and her campaign, and as always we count on your continued input and continued vigilance.”

Leave it Behind, Early Morning View

It’s Monday early morning in North America the day has yet to begin and yet the promise of tomorrow outweighs any concerns that I may have had yesterday.  “And Love is not an easy thing”  Those words rang out loud over the weekend as the news release of Aung San Suu Kyi spread around the world.

Twitter was a buzz and facebook fans cheered at the idea that Aung San Suu Kyi is stronger than most of us.

Now the question what’s next for U2?  One of many things I admirer about U2 is the idea of standing strong for the beliefs that sometimes are not popular or bringing the issues to your living room and making them real. Remember Nelson? Remember South Africa? Now we can say remember Aung San Suu Kyi! 

Amnesty International continues to fight for the other 2K plus that have right to have their day of freedom. It’s not sexy or flashy to stand up for those that can’t speak.   Bono has taken on some of the biggest challenges in the world only to point out that we are of greater purpose and that we have the ability to do more if given half the chance.  “Leave it behind” and so we will with the knowledge that  we have lots of work left to do.  Peace @U2TOURFANS

U2'S Joy At Release

U2 are celebrating after political prisoner AUNG SAN SUU KYI was released from house arrest in Burma.

Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma, had been detained for 15 of the past 21 years because of her political views.

The Irish rockers showed their support for the longtime social activist during their world tour last year (09), urging their fans to don face masks during their track Walk On, which they dedicated to Suu Kyi.

And they were overjoyed to learn she had finally been freed over the weekend.

A statement from the band reads, “There is a cautious joy amongst the campaigners for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release. Over the years we have feared for her life, and until Burma’s leadership better reflects its people, we should continue to be vigilant in our concern.

“Her struggle has become a symbol for all humanity, of what we are capable of - best and worst. Her very grace so infuriating to the bully government whose brutish gorging of the country’s rich resources have left the people of Burma poor and hungry.”