What a relief! Finally a REAL person-(S) of the year Time! I applaud
the choices of those who are giving their time and their money in an ongoing
commitment to make the world a better place. The world needs more Bono's
and Gate's here in the quiet of the chasm.
Bill and Melinda Gates, Bono are Time's 2005 'Persons of the Year'
Monday, December 19, 2005 at 06:58 JSTNEW YORK — Time magazine on Sunday named Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, as well as Irish rock star Bono as its 2005 "Persons of the Year."
"Bono charmed and bullied and morally blackmailed the leaders of the world's richest countries into forgiving $40 billion in debt owed by the poorest," the magazine said in its edition to be released Monday.
Time praised the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has a $29 billion war chest, for "giving more money away faster than anyone ever has" in 2005.
The Gates Foundation has become the world's biggest charity and provides vital funds for AIDS programmes and vaccinations against tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases that are killing millions in the Third World each year.
"For being shrewd about doing good, for rewiring politics and re-engineering justice, for making mercy smarter and hope strategic and then daring the rest of us to follow, Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono are Time's Persons of the Year," Time editor-at-large Nancy Gibbs said.
The choice was made in a year that has seen an almost unprecedented amount of international aid given after the tsunami disaster in Asia, the South Asian earthquake and even the hurricanes that hit the southern United States.
Former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and the elder George Bush were named as "partners of the year" for their international efforts to raise money for reconstruction after the devastating tsunami that crossed the Indian Ocean on Dec 26 last year.
Bono has used his pop power over the past 20 years to get access to world leaders to press the case for debt relief for the world's poorest countries and increased action over AIDS.
He went to the Group of Eight industrialised powers summit in Britain this year to press leaders to write off $40 billion in debt. He is a regular visitor to the White House.
But he has at the same time maintained U2 as one of the world's premier rock groups — their discs and tours have remained best sellers for almost three decades.
Bono told Time of the difficulties of marrying the two careers.
"It's tricky if you're recording a vocal to get called out because there's a finance minister on the phone," he said.
Bono, who was spoken of this year as a potential head of the World Bank, went on: "It's hard explaining that to the rest of the band. I've got to be careful because music is what's given me the license, and I have to serve it. I have crossed that line and gone too far. I'm trying to figure this out as we speak. It's not easy."
Gates said he had at first not been interested in meeting the rock star.
"World health is immensely complicated. It doesn't really boil down to a 'Let's be nice' analysis. So I thought a meeting wouldn't be all that valuable," Gates said before adding that he had changed his mind within three minutes.
"It's not about making himself look good," Gates said. "He really reads this stuff; he cares about the complexity." (Wire reports)