Bono spreekt tot Bush, Obama en mij (2)

Posted on 18 mei 2009

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Dit is het tweede deel van mijn post over de zanger van de rockgroep U2 – Bono – en zijn toespraak in 2006 tot leiders van de Amerikaanse regering en allerlei soorten geestelijke leiders uit Amerika. In het eerste deel kwamen Bono’s woorden over zijn geloofsontwikkeling en zijn benadering van de aanwezigen als een oud testamentisch profeet ter sprake.

In dit tweede deel komen we bij Bono’s visie op God, de armen en rechtvaardigheid. Bono wijst op de overeenkomsten tussen de drie grootste godsdiensten van Amerika: Islam, jodendom, christendom.

Check Judaism. Check Islam. Check pretty much anyone. I mean, God may well be with us in our mansions on the hill. I hope so. He may well be with us in all manner of controversial stuff. Maybe, maybe not. But the one thing we can all agree — all faiths, all ideologies — is that God is with the vulnerable and poor.

God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.

“If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and the speaking of wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday and the Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire even in scorched places.”

It’s not a coincidence that in the Scriptures, poverty is mentioned more than 2,100 times. It’s not an accident. That’s a lot of air time. You know, the only time Jesus Christ is judgmental is on the subject of the poor. “As you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.” [I] believe that’s Matthew 25:40. (See, I’ve been doing my homework.)

As I say, good news to the poor.

Dit zijn toch hele profetische woorden tot de machtigsten de aarde! En niet alleen de Amerikaanse regeringsleiders, maar ook de geestelijke leiders die met hun boeken en conferenties vanuit hun rijke land over de hele wereld enorme invloed hebben.

Bono komt dan bij het einde van zijn toespraak en legt het verschil tussen liefdadigheid en rechtvaardigheid uit.

And finally, getting to higher levels, higher callings: This is not about charity in the end, is it? It’s about justice. The good news yet to come. I just want to repeat that: This is not about charity, it’s about justice. And that’s too bad. Because we’re good at charity. Americans, Irish people, are good at charity. We like to give, and we give a lot, even those who can’t afford it.

But justice is a higher standard. Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice; it makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties; it doubts our concern, and it questions our commitment. Six and a half thousand Africans are still dying every day of preventable, treatable disease, for lack of drugs we can buy at any drug store. This is not about charity: This is about Justice and Equality.

Because there’s no way we can look at what’s happening in Africa and, if we’re honest, conclude that deep down, we would let it happen anywhere else — if we really accepted that Africans are equal to us.

I say that humbled in the company of a man with an African father.

U2 zanger, Bono, en de (toen nog) senator Barack Obama praten met elkaar tijdens de 'National Prayer Breakfast'. (Photo: Dennis Brack/Getty Images)

U2 zanger, Bono, en de (toen nog) senator Barack Obama praten met elkaar tijdens de 'National Prayer Breakfast'. (Photo: Dennis Brack/Getty Images)

Bono doelt hier trouwens op Obama.

Liefdadigheid is leuk, maar Bono is hier over hogere wetten en een hogere roeping dan de Amerikaanse wetten en regering komen praten. De wet – de roeping van rechtvaardigheid en gelijkheid. Dat is andere koek dan alleen wat liefdadigheid. Rechtvaardigheid en gelijkheid bespotten onze geloofsgevoeligheden, ze trekken twijfels bij waar we onze druk om maken en ze zetten vraagtekens achter onze betrokkenheid. Als 6500 Afrikanse per dag sterven vanwege ziekten die makkelijke te behandelen zijn, gaat het niet meer om liefdadigheid, maar om rechtvaardigheid en gelijkheid. Of denken we stiekem toch nog dat zij minder waard zijn dan wij?

Bono vergelijkt de grote aandacht die er was voor de tsunami in Zuid Oost Azië met de bitter weinige aandacht voor evenveel slachtoffers die er elke maand in Afrika vallen. Onnodige slachtoffers, want in tegenstelling tot de tsunami is het mogelijk hier iets aan te doen.

Look what happened in South East Asia with the Tsunami. 150, 000 lives lost to the misnomer of all misnomers, “mother nature.” Well, in Africa, 150,000 lives are lost every month — a tsunami every month. And it’s a completely avoidable catastrophe.

It’s annoying but justice and equality are mates, aren’t they? Justice always wants to hang out with equality. And equality is a real pain in the ass. Seriously.

I mean you think of these Jewish sheep-herders going to meet with the Pharaoh, mud on their shoes, and the Pharaoh goes, “Equal? Equal?” And they say, “Yeah, that’s what it says here in the Book, here. We’re all made in the image of God, sir.” Eventually the Pharaoh says, “Look, I can accept that. I mean, I can accept the Jews — but not the blacks. I mean, not the women. Not the gays. Not the Irish. No way.”

Bono voegt tussen neus en lippen door nog even de vrouwenrechten en de homorechten in zijn toespraak. Daar zal ook niet elke conservatief evangelikale leider in zijn gehoor blij mee geweest zijn. Maar de weg van rechtvaardigheid en gelijkheid, van zorg om de minsten, de laagsten, de armsten, is niet voorbehouden aan één religieuze stroming.

But the reason I’m here, and the reason I keep coming back to Washington, is because this is a town that is proving it can come together on behalf of what the Scriptures call “the least of these.” It’s not a Republican idea. It’s not a Democratic idea. It’s not even, with all due respect, an American idea; nor it is unique to any one faith.

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Jesus says that. “Righteousness is this: that one should give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and to the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for the emancipation of the captives.”

The Koran says that. Thus sayeth the Lord: Bring the homeless poor into the house, when you see the naked, cover him, then your light will break out — then your light will be like the dawn and your recovery will be speedily and spring forth; then the Lord will be your rear guard. The Jewish Scripture says that. It’s Isaiah 58 again.

A number of years ago, I met a wise man who changed my life — in countless ways, big and small. I was always seeking the Lord’s blessing. I — I’d be saying, “Look, I’ve got a new song… Would you look out [for it]. I have a family; I’m going away on tour — please look after them. I have this crazy idea. Could I have a blessing on it.”

And this wise man asked me to stop. He said, “Stop asking God to bless what you’re doing. Get involved in what God is doing — because it’s already blessed. Well, let’s get involved in what God is doing. God, as I say, is always with the poor. That’s what God is doing. That’s what He’s calling us to do.

Ga ik mijn eigen weg of doe ik mee met Gods weg? Bid ik om Gods zegen voor mijn weg, of ga ik op Gods weg, die gezegend is? God is bij de armen, daar is God aan het werk en daar roept God ons te komen.

De profeet Bono heeft gesproken.

De hele toespraak staat, met een heel aantal foto’s, op het blog Speaking the Faith.

Posted in: religie, samenleving