U2's Bono Has 'Row' With President Bush Over AIDS Money

By | September 19, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Bono and President George W. Bush held a candid discussion on AIDS funding on Tuesday (September 16) which the U2 lead singer describes as a “Good ole row.” Back in May, Bush earmarked $3 billion worth of funding to fight AIDS on a global level. But since that time, Congress has only released $2 billion. Speaking at a press conference following their meeting, Bono said Bush is “very passionate about these problems and I believe him. I just can’t agree on the numbers.”

Bono has long used his fame as a platform to speak out about AIDS, which has claimed the lives of more than 22 million Africans. In 2002, he set up an organization called DATA (Debt, Aid, Trade for Africa), which advocates economic aid, lowering export tariffs, and money to fight the scourge of AIDS.

He revealed AIDS is the greatest threat to humanity since the bubonic plague. “To describe this as the greatest threat to humanity since the bubonic plague killed off two-thirds of Europe in the middle ages, it’s of that order,” Bono said. “And it’s happening in our time.”

Bono’s continued work has led him to be placed on the short list of possible winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. The winner is expected to be announced on October 10.

There are roughly 30 million people on the African continent alone who are afflicted with AIDS, leaving Bono to remark, “The AIDS emergency is just that. It’s not a cause… Several thousand people dying a day is not a cause, it’s an emergency.”

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