This column is part of Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb. The words and pics are by Debbie Kreuser.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

FOR BONO: Vision Over Visibility

This has been an interesting year for many of us – a worldwide recession which shows no real sign of leaving, environmental catastrophes (the BP oil spill) and natural disasters (earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, flooding in Pakistan) and increasing levels of human rights violations around the world (China, Russia, Ivory Coast, etc). U2 have also seen an interesting year with the postponement of the North American leg of the 360 tour due to Bono's back surgery in May, the harassment of social activist organizations (Amnesty International and ONE) during the 360 tour concert in Moscow and the continuing problems associated with the Broadway musical “Spiderman, Turn Off the Dark” with music composed by Bono and the Edge.

The one shining event which uplifted all of our hearts was the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from seven years of house arrest in Burma. After years of singing “Walk On' to spur her release from house arrest, U2 were singing the “Rejoice” refrain from their song “Scarlet” to celebrate this human rights victory.

I, for one, will be glad to see 2010 go. It was a personally difficult year for me with the loss of a job and the loss of my mother. Since March, there seems to have been a dreary grey cloud hanging over my head. No matter what I have done to advance, forces have seemed to conspire to stalemate me. This has
sometimes led me to experience some sad moments but I always rebound stronger than before!

The new year is already looking better for me with the promise of a possible new job starting soon and the trip I was just able to book to go to NYC in April to see “Spiderman, Turn Off the Dark” - the new Broadway musical with songs composed by Bono and Edge.

Whether we see it or not, there is always something to be grateful for. And this year, like the thirty years that preceded it, I am grateful for the presence of U2 and their music in my life. They have travelled down this road of life as my constant musical companions, filling my days and lighting my nights with their always hopeful music.

And at the start of a New Year, my thoughts naturally go to one song “New Year's Day”. Thus, as I do every year since, I'm including an article that I wrote for a U2 fansite seven years ago about this TRULY INCREDIBLE SONG. I hope that you'll enjoy reading it and will make every effort in the new year to “begin again”. Have a GREAT 2011!


With its soaring vocals and nearly perfect rhythm
lines, "New Year's Day" emerged in the early 1980's as
a U2 favorite. Composed of simple words, it stirred a
timeless hope and belief in the souls of all those who
heard it - the aspiration for freedom and unity for
people around the world. This theme would continue to
follow U2's songwriting in the years to come (Pride, One,
Please, Walk On, etc.). And with its
message of Peace and Goodwill for all humanity, it is
the perfect U2 song to reflect on as we start the year

“All is quiet on New Year's Day
A world in white gets underway
I want to be with you
Be with you night and day
Nothing changes on New Year's Day
On New Year's Day

I will be with you again
I will be with you again”

According to Niall Stokes in "U2: Into the Heart",
"New Year's Day" probably began as a love song from
Bono to Ali, but quickly became something more. In
1980, the Solidarity movement in Poland under the
leadership of future Nobel Peace Prize winner and
President Lech Walesa openly challenged the oppressive
rule of the then Polish government. In December 1981,
the Solidarity movement was outlawed and Walesa (and
its other leaders) were arrested and put in jail. As
Bono tells it: "Subconsciously I must have been
thinking about Lech Walesa being interned and his wife
not being allowed to see him. Then, when we'd recorded
the song, they announced that martial law would be
lifted in Poland on New Year's Day. Incredible."

The song continues to document the growing
movement of people clamoring for freedom and justice
throughout Eastern Europe in the early 1980's.

“Under a blood red sky
A crowd has gathered in black and white
Arms entwined, the chosen few
The newspapers say it's true
It's true...
And we can break through
Though torn in two
We can be one”

OK - great song. But what is the significance of
this song for us in 2004?

It resides in the power of FOUR words: I WILL
BEGIN AGAIN. The willingness to start over, to "begin
again", may be the singular most important idea that
we can gleam from U2's music and is a very appropriate
concept to consider at the start of a new year.

U2's music(and Bono's lyrics) have always given us
a sense of empowerment - the knowing deep within us
that we have the ability to change ourselves (and our
world). We CAN recreate ourselves, become better human
beings, bring Hope and Love to our world. And if U2's
music hasn't motivated us to "begin again", the
personal trials, tribulations and ultimate triumphs of
Bono's life should.

Bono's life and career has been an evolving
tale(some would say a parable or teaching story) of
one man's decision to CHOOSE good over "bad", hope
over despair, action over apathy, grace over karma.
And, in the process, he has given us a BRILLIANT life
which we can affirm and emulate.

So, as we start the year 2004, let us remember
this magnificent song by U2 and on "New Year's Day"
let our resolution simply be: I WILL BEGIN AGAIN!

by Deborah Kreuser - ♫ -

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