Bono says Europe will make Ukrainian refugees ‘feel loved’

Bono said Ireland and the rest of Europe would “go to the end” to make Ukrainian refugees feel loved.

The U2 frontman was speaking at the Business and Finance Awards 2021, held at Dublin’s Convention Center on Tuesday night.

He presented the TK Whitaker Award to the family of the late John and Pat Hume at the event, which also recognized the need for peace and unity in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland Gerasko Larysa was supposed to be present but couldn’t.

At the ceremony, Bono said: “I don’t know if she made it, Ambassador Gerasko, her empty seat speaks to me and I’m sure it speaks to all of you, we are thinking of her…their empty chair indicates failed peace negotiations and not only do we pray for them and their country, we have officials who work very hard to ensure that these displaced persons are treated with dignity in our country and we go to make Ukrainians feel loved here in Europe. That’s what this is about.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has personally thanked Bono and U2 in a video address for spearheading a campaign aimed at helping Ukrainians return home after the war.

Stand Up For Ukraine was a global social media rally held on April 9 aimed at raising funds to temporarily return Ukrainian migrants to their homes “just like before the war,” as soon as it’s safe to do so, the president said Zelenskyj.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Bono said: “Freedom in Ukraine means taking up arms, but in 1998, on April 10, freedom in Ireland meant laying down them.

“So the presence of the Hume family at this event is temperature changing for many of us and it is a privilege and an honor to have you here. They know freedom doesn’t come for free and freedom is very, very expensive.

“Your father and mother were both teachers, not just school teachers, but moral teachers to the rest of us, to the Irish people.

“Some of us are difficult students, many of us had to travel the world before we found who we are and what we are capable of.

“We left home to try and make a name for ourselves, John Hume and Pat Hume were more interested in making a difference than making a name for themselves and they became world famous just by staying where they were were in Derry.

“It took a tremendous amount of courage to end the fighting in Ireland and achieve peace.

“It called for a different kind of heroism, a more subdued and romantic verse, less grand.

“Words that would have a hard time attracting tunes, words that could change the world, words like compromise, words like discussion, words like negotiation.

“These are the words that won peace on the island of Ireland.

“Some of you might remember phrases like ‘Parity of Pain’ and it sounds like a heavy metal band from Finglas, but a lot of you in this room lived it. No one won, so everyone could win.”

John and Pat Hume’s granddaughter, Rachel Hume, read a poem to the audience of 1,000. She originally read the poem at her grandfather’s grave.

In it, she said: “We’re going to miss the singing, we’re going to miss the soft smiles, the thousand questions, the nursery rhymes of Derry.

“We will miss the gifts from Toblerone and the instructions to hide them under the bed before our Mammy sees them. Your grandchildren will remember your grumpy memory just as fondly as we remember your generosity.

“You dedicated your life to bringing us peace. I hope you have now found some for yourself.” Bono says Europe will make Ukrainian refugees ‘feel loved’

Fry Electronics Team

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