Bono says ‘freedom is at stake’ in Ukraine as he compares Putin to ‘evil Bond villain’

Bono has compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to an “evil Bond villain” as he says Putin is incapable of “reinventing himself”.

The rock star said the Russian leader thinks “democracy is finished” and that people in Ukraine are “actually dying” trying to gain freedom.

Speaking in Washington in March while accepting the Fulbright Prize for International Understanding, the U2 frontman said the Ukrainian people are also fighting for “our freedom”.

“A few days ago, in a video you’ve all seen, President Zelenskyy called on all of us, ‘musicians, athletes, businessmen, politicians, really everyone… to stand up for Ukraine,'” Time magazine reported.

“As a musician, don’t let me apologize for where I’m from. I come from the noise and the intention to find some signal in this noise. I come from rock ‘n’ roll. I come from rock ‘n’ roll and pop lyrics that sound like throwaway lines, and they are, but they mean so much.

“I thought of the Beatles ‘I Saw Her Standing There.’ It’s about as great as any lyrics I’ve ever heard…I heard it when I was a kid. It just caught my imagination.

“Who was it that inspired the song I thought to myself? Who was the “she” in the song? Back then it might have been the girl next door. In the past I might have considered it my mother. But now I understand who Paul McCartney sang for.

“That was freedom. His and ours.”

The 61-year-old said liberation is at the “core” of who he is “as a European”. He said freedom was not only under siege in Ukraine.

“See, rock and roll, if it’s anything at all, it’s the sound of liberation — political, sexual, spiritual.

“It’s liberation… I think rock ‘n’ roll is the sound of liberation, and liberation is at the core of who I am, not just as a singer but as a European,” he said.

“I imagine it’s also at the core of who you are as an American. You could replace the word “freedom” with the word “liberation.” I think we all agree on the concept. And we all agree that not only Ukraine is under siege.

“So when we hear President Zelenskyy speak, or when you look at the humiliating heroism of people in Kyiv, Lviv or Mariupol, there’s a part of me that feels like they’re more European than me. Isn’t there a part of you that feels more American than you?”

“Why that? Because they actually live, actually die, for the ideal that is freedom.

“They are also fighting for our freedom. Now we have not yet been asked to face that test. I should be grateful for that, I’m not embarrassed, but somehow I’m both. Maybe you are too.”

The Dublin man suggested that society may have “fallen asleep in the comfort of our freedom”.

“The question that woke us up – what will we do for freedom in Ukraine – gives way the more we think about it to another, more uncomfortable question: How long might our own freedom last?

“I grew up in Dublin, a quiet suburb. The street I grew up on was really pretty, but I have to say Ireland in the 70’s was a bit gloomy. The country was on the brink of civil war, neighbor against neighbor…roads, households, war.

“Liberty is attacked from without… but also from within. You know who you are.”

Bono said freedom in Ukraine “is at stake” as shopkeepers “make Molotov cocktails” and “ballet dancers in riot gear”.

“If we’re being honest, it’s easier to spot when the threat is rolling towards tanks and blowing up hospitals.

“In Ukraine, freedom is not a line in a song. Freedom is at stake. It’s a matter of life or death,” he said.

“Putin thinks democracy is finished. He’s done. He’s not just a bully, he’s like an evil Bond villain. I wouldn’t even give him status. But reinvention? nope He won’t do that. He is what he is.

“By the way, did anyone see the news today? While tens of millions are fighting for freedom in Ukraine, four million people are fleeing for their lives, mostly women and children. It is a population the size of Ireland fleeing to freedom, an exodus of biblical proportions.” Bono says ‘freedom is at stake’ in Ukraine as he compares Putin to ‘evil Bond villain’

Fry Electronics Team

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