Tag Archives: Bono

Playing for Change: Peace through Music

Seriously – how can a world that produces beautiful things like the video below also produce the cookie-cutter garbage that so heavily pollutes our airwaves?

Yes, Bono is back, lending his voice to yet another musical endeavour meant to raise awareness about our common desire for peace in the world… And, my previous somewhat scathing post notwithstanding, Bono does need to be given credit for putting so much effort into raising awareness. Hopefully these efforts will coalesce into something more than mere words and music.

So what is Playing for Change?

Playing for Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The idea for this project arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race. And with this truth firmly fixed in our minds, we set out to share it with the world. (…)

We built a mobile recording studio, equipped with all the same equipment used in the best studios, and traveled to wherever the music took us. As technology changed, our power demands were downsized from golf cart batteries to car batteries, and finally to laptops. Similarly, the quality with which we were able to film and document the project was gradually upgraded from a variety of formats– each the best we could attain at the time—finally to full HD.

One thing that never changed throughout the process was our commitment to create an environment for the musicians in which they could create freely and that placed no barriers between them and those who would eventually experience their music. By leading with that energy and intent everywhere we traveled, we were freely given access to musicians and locations that are usually inaccessible. In this respect, the inspiration that originally set us on this path became a co-creator of the project along with us! (…)

Over the course of this project, we decided it was not enough for our crew just to record and share this music with the world; we wanted to create a way to give back to the musicians and their communities that had shared so much with us. And so in 2007 we created the Playing for Change Foundation, a separate 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation whose mission is to do just that. In early 2008, we established Timeless Media, a for-profit entity that funds and extends the work of Playing for Change. Later that year, Timeless Media entered into a joint venture with the Concord Music Group through the support of label co-owner and entertainment legend Norman Lear and Concord Music Group executive vice president of A&R John Burk. Our goal is to bring PFC’s music, videos and message to the widest possible audience.

Now, musicians from all over the world are brought together to perform benefit concerts that build music and art schools in communities that are in need of inspiration and hope. In addition to benefit concerts, the Playing for Change band also performs shows around the world. When audiences see and hear musicians who have traveled thousands of miles from their homes, united in purpose and chorus on one stage, everyone is touched by music’s unifying power.

And now, everyone can participate in this transformative experience by joining the Playing for Change Movement. People are hosting screenings, musicians are holding benefit concerts of every size, fans are spreading the message of Playing for Change through our media, and this is only the beginning. Together, we will connect the world through music!

Further explore this wonderful initiative here – enjoy!

It’s no wonder that music is one of the easiest ways for us to get over our mental and historical obstacles. In the Baha’i Writings, Baha’u’llah tells us that: “We, verily, have made music as a ladder for your souls, a means whereby they may be lifted up unto the realm on high.” The song War/No More Trouble is such a ladder to my soul. I have been having some trouble with colleagues of mine, and the anger and resentment I feel towards them melt away when I listen to this song. It reminds me that my problems, although they aren’t easy to deal with, aren’t as bad as some of the troubles afflicting others. It also gives me the peace of mind and the calmness of heart needed to deal with the situation in a calmer way. I actually have this song on my portable music player – and each time I need to deal with a thorny, emotional situation, I put it on as a form of preparative therapy.

Hmmm. Perhaps world leaders should consider doing so… Wouldn’t World Summits and Peace Talks end very differently if they were forced to listen to music like this?

I need to get in touch with Bono..

What we want, What we say and What we do: Not quite the same

As Sahar’s Blog has been evolving, I have been talking to more and more people around about the various subjects it covers. After all, the whole point is to create a forum where various points of views are represented, not just mine! And it always surprises me how people want one thing, say another thing and do something totally different.

Take the example of the elimination of poverty. Everyone wants poverty to be eliminated. Everyone says they will help by donating money to various causes. But many of those who dared answer the last question didn’t put their money where their mouth was.

The conversation became even more interesting when I pointed out that poverty wouldn’t be eliminated by donating money, but rather when the way we do things changes and, more fundamentally, when the reasons behind our actions change. It was amusing and, at the same time, a little sad to see how some would fidget uncomfortably when I would ask them what they would be willing to sacrifice of their cushy north american lives to help the lives of millions of others.

Which is why I found the article below, by MacLean’s very own Mark Steyn,  so interesting – even if I don’t agree with all of it.

What Bono says and what he does

There’s a well-documented reason the do-gooder can’t put his money where his mouth is

After playing the Obama inauguration a couple of months back, the pop star Bono flew back home to a rare barrage of hostile headlines. As you know, the global do-gooder wants us to send more of our money to Africa. So why is he sending his money to the Netherlands? From the Irish Times:

“Bono ‘Hurt’ By Criticism Of U2 Move To Netherlands To Cut Tax.”

U2 hasn’t, in fact, moved to the Netherlands. You won’t find them busking outside downtown Rotterdam mosques of a Friday night. But they did move some of their business interests from the Emerald Isle to the Low Countries. From the Times of London: “Bono Hits Back Over Tax Dodging Claims.”

Actually, he didn’t really “hit back” except in the mildest way, protesting that there was nothing “hypocritical” about being an “activist” and taking advantage of favourable “financial services” arrangements in the Netherlands, and that in any case U2 “pay millions and millions of dollars in tax.” Hey, so what? Any old Halliburton robber-baron pal of Dick Cheney can make the same claim: paying “millions and millions” counts for nothing when you’re supposed to be paying millions and millions and millions and millions. From the Belfast Telegraph:

“U2 Frontman Bono’s Tax Avoidance ‘Depriving Poor.’ ”

According to Nessa Ni Chasaide of the Debt and Development Coalition Ireland, U2 has consciously deprived the Irish exchequer of revenue needed for overseas aid. “While Bono has championed the cause of fighting poverty and injustice in the impoverished world,” said Miss Ni Chasaide, “the fact is that his band has moved parts of its business to a tax shelter in the Netherlands. Tax avoidance and tax evasion costs the impoverished world at least 160 million U.S. dollars every year.”

Oh, come on. It doesn’t cost “the impoverished world” anything. It’s Bono’s money, not theirs. And who’s to say, even if he did give it to the government, that they’d stick it in the mail to some Afro-Marxist kleptocrat as opposed to squandering it closer to home? I’m with the U2 lads on this: I think the caterwauling rockers know better how to spend their dough than the state does. I’m entirely sympathetic to the wish of Timothy Geithner and the other A-list tax delinquents of President Obama’s administration not to toss one more penny than the absolute minimum into the great sucking maw of the government treasury.

Unfortunately, that’s not an argument a celebrity “activist” like Bono can easily make. So his “hitting back” consisted mostly of sitting back while the Bono impersonator Paul O’Toole stood outside the Department of Finance in Dublin singing his own version of U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For—i.e., a jurisdiction with zero per cent tax rates for billionaire rock stars. U2 Ltd. actually moved to the Netherlands a couple of years back, about 17 nanoseconds after the Irish finance minister removed the tax exemption on “artistic” income above 250,000 euros. This was round about the time of Bono’s Live 8 all-star African-awareness-raising rock gala, but the world was too busy Rocking Against Bush to pay any attention. It’s only in the last few weeks that charities and NGOs and “justice groups” have decided to make an example of the unfortunate warbler.

But here’s my question: instead of arguing whether U2 Ltd. should be based in Dublin or Amsterdam, why not move it to Africa? After all, it’s essentially a licensing operation, so it doesn’t have any physical product to warehouse or ship other than the occasional PDF or MP3. All you need’s a phone line and a computer. Or, at the very least, why doesn’t Bono outsource U2 Ltd.’s tax preparation to Africa? With the invention of the Internet, India’s accountants started mugging up on 1099s and Schedule C and the other salient features of the U.S. tax code and have managed to snaffle a percentage of the American tax-filing bonanza away from H&R Block. Why couldn’t Bono open up a small accountancy firm in Bangui or Bujumbura? If he’s so eager to help Africa, wouldn’t that be a great vote of confidence?

Read the rest of this thought-provoking article here.