Two days ago, Bono Vox, Irish singer, and frontman of the rock band U2 performed a 40-minute surprise concert, in the metro station Khreshchatyk in Kyiv, which today serves as an air-raid shelter.
After three months, Russia continues attacking Ukraine, which is in deep danger and needs the help of the whole international community, both at a military (arms, soldiers) and at a humanitarian level (medicines, clothes, food, and basic supplies). In the middle of this brutal tragedy, where it is still impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel, President Zelensky invited Bono Vox to sing live, as a gesture of solidarity to the Ukrainian people during these hard times.
The performance took place in front of a small crowd of fans and members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. During the day, between the sound of the alarms and the sirens that alert citizens of possible attacks by the Russians, Vox performed accompanied by David Howell Evans called the Edge, the guitarist of the U2, some of the band’s main successes, such as “Sunday bloody Sunday”, “Desire” and “With or Without you”. In addition, the leader of the U2 sang along with three Ukrainian soldiers, “Stand by me”, transformed into “Stand with Ukraine” specifically for the occasion.
The duo was also joined by musicians who had to abandon their profession to fight for their country and singer Taras Topolya from the Ukrainian band Antilya. The frontman also praised the country’s struggle for freedom and also pronounced his prayer for Ukraine, so that the country can soon find peace. "People in Ukraine are not only fighting for their freedom but for all of us who love freedom," Bono added during a short break, expressing his full support for the Ukrainians.
Vox also wrote a poem in which he expressed his thoughts with regard to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The composition was read aloud by the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi at the annual Friends of Ireland luncheon at the Capitol, and it starts by recalling how Saint Patrick of Ireland "drove out the snakes," only to later associate and identify the evil serpents with the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the heavenly Saint Patrick to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. "Ireland's sorrow and pain / Is now Ukraine," Bono wrote, "And Saint Patrick's name now Zelensky."
Moreover, during his speech, the singer referred to past conflicts that happened in Ireland, his native country, and the injustices that small countries are forced to suffer due to more powerful neighbors. About this, it is important to remember that the song "Sunday Bloody Sunday" was written by the band following a demonstration held in Ireland, in which Irish Catholic protesters demanding the independence of Ireland, were killed by the English.
After the performance, Vox and the Edge decided to go visit the cities of Bucha and Irpin, which have become symbols of the barbarities committed by the Russian aggressors during the last few months. In both places, the dead bodies of hundreds of Ukrainian civilians have been found, piled up under the rubble, in mass graves, and in the streets, after the withdrawal of the Russian troops, which took place last month. Moscow immediately responded saying that the shared images were fake and that Russia was not responsible for the killing of the people found dead. But we know that this is not true, because until now Russia's military campaign in Ukraine has actually killed thousands of people and forced more than 12 million citizens to leave their homes to find hospitality somewhere else, often abroad.
The two artists, as often in their history as activists as well as musicians, have tried as much as possible to pay homage and bring hope to the Eastern European country. It is in fact since the beginning of the 80s of the last century that the members of the U2 band have collaborated with politicians, musicians, artists, and celebrities to tackle important issues including poverty, disease, and social injustice. Among the various initiatives to which the band has contributed, the participation in the Band-Aid in 1984 stands out, where the U2 helped raise money to be destined for the population in Ethiopia, in serious crisis due to famine. Also important is the band's participation in the benefit concert “Self-Aid” for the unemployment in Ireland and the benefit concert tour in support of Amnesty International campaigns. In the late 2003 Bono and The Edge participated in the HIV awareness concert series in South Africa, always using their popularity for charity.
“World leaders must stand up and stand by Ukrainians and refugees everywhere who have been forced from their homes and their lands” and “We pray that you will soon enjoy some of that peace”, where the two phrases with which Bono concluded his performance. “I am grateful to Bono for supporting our people and drawing attention to the need to help our people” thanked Zelensky in his nightly video address. While this gesture did not change the lives of those who still suffer from Russia's attacks today, it certainly shed more light on the atrocious events in Ukraine as well as warming the hearts of those present and bringing at least some hope.
Hope that normality can soon be restored without of course forgetting those responsible for what has happened.
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