Lead singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE and (RED)
A Thought That Needs to Become A Feeling
Nationalists say diversity is a threat, but it’s Europe’s greatest strength
I’m told a rock band is at its best when it’s a little transgressive: when it pushes the bounds of so-called good taste, when it shocks, when it surprises. Well, U2 is kicking off its tour in Berlin this week, and we’ve just had one of our more provocative ideas: during the show we’re going to wave a big, bright, blue EU flag.
I’m guessing that even to a rock audience, waving an EU flag these days is either an annoyance, a bore, a kitsch reference to the Eurovision Song Contest but to some of us it has become a radical act. Europe, which for a long time triggered a yawn, today sparks a kitchen-table screaming match. Europe is the theatre of powerful, emotional, clashing forces that will shape our future. I say our future, because there is no way to deny that we are all in this boat together, in seas churned up by extreme weather and extremist politics.
Europe is a hard sell in Europe these days. This is true even though there has never been a better place to be born than in Europe during the last 50 years. ….
As a European I feel proud thinking back to when Germans welcomed frightened Syrian refugees (I’d feel prouder had more countries stepped up) …
But all these achievements are under threat, because respect for diversity — the premise of the whole European system — is being challenged. …
To prevail in these troubled times Europe is a thought that needs to become a feeling.