By C. Bottomley
At the rate he's going, U2 singer Bono is likely to be up for
a Nobel Peace Prize by the end of the year. Following a meeting
with Bono and a Jubilee 2000 delegation in Rome, Italian Prime
Minister Massimo D'Alema agreed to put Third World debt
cancellation back on his country's agenda. The Jubilee 2000 group
is aiming for the cancellation of all unpayable debt by the end
of the year 2000.
"What we convinced him to do was not to miss the opportunity
of the goodwill, the interest of the general public," Bono said.
So far, Bono's efforts on behalf of the organization have seen
results in the United States, Great Britain and Canada, who have
all agreed to reconsider their positions regarding Third World
D'Alema's commitment to debt relief included reviving
legislation aimed at forgiving the debt of 18 poor nations, with
at least as many more countries to be made eligible for debt
cancellation. His decision came after meeting last Wednesday with
Bono, Jubilee 2000 coalition director Ann Pettifor and the
Italian rapper - yes there are such things - Lorenzo
Ann Pettifor said of the Prime Minister's decision, "Mr.
D'Alema is listening to Jubilee 2000, to the Pope, to the Italian
people, and to the millions of supporters around the world that
have called for urgent action to be taken on debt cancellation in
this Jubilee year, the start of a new millennium. If Italy were
to carry through these promises this year, Mr. D'Alema and the
Italian Parliament would be giving a wonderful gift to the Pope -
and to the millions of suffering people in the poorest countries
that would benefit."
Bono was in Italy to appear at the six-day San Remo music
festival, where he was joined by The Edge. On Saturday he thanked
both D'Alema and the Pope for supporting his Jubilee 2000
endeavor before leading the festival's grand finale. Speaking in
perfect Italian, he said, "To the Pope - thank you; to Mr.
D'Alema - thank you for your promise."
Bono also asked Italy's opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi
not to stop the legislation."Mr. Berlusconi, please help Mr.
D'Alema to help the Jubilee," he said. "This is not politics but
The San Remo festival, which was broadcast on television to
over 17 million Italians, had become a soapbox for several
musicians to appeal to D'Alema to listen to Bono. Italian
entertainer Fabio Fazio said at the beginning of the festival
that the Jubilee 2000 was part of "the commitment that the music
world has shown for years towards important social issues, from
Live Aid on."
Jovanotti also said from the stage, "I would like to use the
microphone and the television, to ask you from here to make a
huge sign ... Cancel the debt! One billion people on the planet
live on less than a dollar a day ... Their poverty is not a
choice but their only reality." His impromptu rap became a
discussion in Italy as politicians were quick to condemn what
they saw as Jovanotti's opportunism.
© 2000 VH1
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