Monday, January 19, 2009

Bono's shout out to Palestine

According to friends in attendance, (and several publications, including the Nation), U2's Bono gave a shout out to Palestine to the crowd of half a million that was gathered on the mall where King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.

"Let freedom ring. On this spot where we're standing 46 years ago Dr. King had a dream. On Tuesday, that dream comes to pass," said Bono, before launching into 'Pride (In The Name Of Love)', U2's tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"This is not just an American dream," he said, adding that it was "also an Irish dream, a European dream, an African dream... an Israeli dream..." then pausing for a few seconds, and adding with emphasis "and also a Palestinian dream."

Of course our bar is so low at this point that we get excited when anyone-let alone a celebrity- shouts out to the Palestinian dream for freedom. As noted by the Nation, the reference to Gaza with Obama sitting a few feet away will do little to "change the circumstance on the ground in Gaza" or "inspire a more engaged or functional U.S. policy with regard to the Middle East. But Bono deserves a measure of credit for reminding the partygoers that peace and justice, for Israel and Palestine is a part of the dream."


Blogger Khalid said...

I wish Bono had the courage to speak out as Brian Eno, his long-time friend and producer of his albums, did:

It's a tragedy that the Israelis - a people who must understand better than almost anybody the horrors of oppression - are now acting as oppressors. As the great Jewish writer Primo Levi once remarked "Everybody has their Jews, and for the Israelis it's the Palestinians". By creating a middle Eastern version of the Warsaw ghetto they are recapitulating their own history as though they've forgotten it. And by trying to paint an equivalence between the Palestinians - with their homemade rockets and stone-throwing teenagers - and themselves - with one of the most sophisticated military machines in the world - they sacrifice all credibility.

The Israelis are a gifted and resourceful people who fully deserve the right to live in peace, but who seem intent on squandering every chance to allow that to happen. It's difficult to avoid the conclusion that this conflict serves the political and economic purposes of Israel so well that they have every interest in maintaining it. While there is fighting they can continue to build illegal settlements. While there is fighting they continue to receive huge quantities of military aid from the United States. And while there is fighting they can avoid looking candidly at themselves and the ruthlessness into which they are descending.

Gaza is now an experiment in provocation. Stuff one and a half million people into a tiny space, stifle their access to water, electricity, food and medical treatment, destroy their livelihoods, and humiliate them regularly...and, surprise, surprise - they turn hostile. Now why would you want to make that experiment?

Because the hostility you provoke is the whole point. Now 'under attack' you can cast yourself as the victim, and call out the helicopter gunships and the F16 attack fighters and the heavy tanks and the guided missiles, and destroy yet more of the pathetic remains of infrastructure that the Palestinian state still has left. And then you can point to it as a hopeless case, unfit to govern itself, a terrorist state, a state with which you couldn't possibly reach an accommodation.

And then you can carry on with business as usual, quietly stealing their homeland.

Brian Eno is a musician and music producer.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Halla said...

Was watching the concert on TV and cheered when I heard him mention Palestine. You are right our bar is set so low that any recognition is better than nothing.

11:43 PM  
Blogger brooke said...

yes, i'm glad that he mentioned palestine at such a concert in this country. *sigh* i hope obama gets this through his skull. thank you for continuing to speak out on behalf of your family, friends and country.

3:07 AM  
Blogger Foulla said...

"Of course our bar is so low at this point that we get excited when anyone-let alone a celebrity- shouts out to the Palestinian dream for freedom."
That would have been my comment...ALAS!

3:34 AM  
Blogger CruelMonkey said...

If only the Palestinians pursued MLK's ideals of non-violence...

3:22 AM  
Blogger Khalid said...

CruelMonkey... they did pursue a non-violent uprising, but it was greeted with lethal force. See:

10:18 AM  

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