- 29 Aug 18
Bono has vowed to "wave a big, bright, blue EU flag” on stage later this week when U2 kick off the European leg of their world tour in Berlin.
Penning an article for the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine, Bono also criticised Brexit, warned about the rise of “extremist politics” and said that he's proud that other EU countries "rallied behind Ireland on the border issue".
Discussing his decision to wave a EU flag on stage later this week, Bono wrote in his opinion piece: "I’m told a rock band is at its best when it’s a little transgressive: when it pushes the bounds of so-called good taste, when it shocks, when it surprises. Well, U2 is kicking off its tour in Berlin this week, and we’ve just had one of our more provocative ideas: during the show we’re going to wave a big, bright, blue EU flag.
"I’m guessing that even to a rock audience, waving an EU flag these days is either an annoyance, a bore, a kitsch reference to the Eurovision Song Contest but to some of us it has become a radical act. Europe, which for a long time triggered a yawn, today sparks a kitchen-table screaming match. Europe is the theatre of powerful, emotional, clashing forces that will shape our future. I say our future, because there is no way to deny that we are all in this boat together, in seas churned up by extreme weather and extremist politics."
Bono argued that even though Europe is a "hard sell in Europe these days" the fact remains that "there has never been a better place to be born" during the last 50 years.
Bono pointed out: "Though we have to work a lot harder to spread the benefits of prosperity, Europeans are better educated, better shielded from abuses by big corporations, and leading better, longer, healthier, and flat-out happier lives than people in any other region of the world. Yes, happier. They measure these things."
Bono added: "I feel privileged to have witnessed the longest stretch of peace and prosperity ever on the European continent."
Bono also pointed out that his homeland Ireland has a "special emotional connection" to Europe.
"Belonging to Europe enabled us to become a better, more confident version of ourselves," Bono wrote in his column for the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine.
"We stand a bit taller among friends. Also, the closer the north and the south of Ireland got to Europe, the closer we got to each other. Propinquity crossed the border and brought the barriers down."
Bono then listed off a huge amount that the EU has achieved. However he warned: "But all these achievements are under threat, because respect for diversity—the premise of the whole European system—is being challenged."
The U2 frontman pointed out that we’re seeing a "spectacular loss of faith in that idea" of the EU, which he says is "fuelled by the unevenness of globalization, and a failure to manage the migration crisis".
He continued: "Nationalists say diversity is a danger. Seek refuge, they tell us, in sameness; drive out the different. Their vision for the future looks to me a lot like the past: identity politics, grievance, violence. Nationalism is an equal opportunity discriminator."
Bono feels that the word patriotism has been "stolen from us by nationalists and extremists who demand uniformity."
But "real patriots," Bono pointed out, "seek unity above homogeneity. Reaffirming that is, to me, is the real European project."
Bono concluded his opinion piece by asking, "Can we get put our hearts into this struggle? There may be no romance to a “project” or sexiness in a bureaucracy, but as the great Simone Veil said, ‘Europe is the grand design of the 21st century’. Its values and aspirations make Europe so much more than just a geography. They go to the core of who we are as human beings, and who we want to be. That idea of Europe deserves songs written about it, and big bright blue flags to be waved about."
— U2 (@U2) August 27, 2018