Sen. Jesse Helms’ Changing Attitudes on AIDS Illustrate the ‘Power of Redemption,’ Editorial States
As Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) prepares to leave Congress, he "has shown us the power of redemption" by admitting that he is "ashamed" of not having done more to fight HIV/AIDS, a St. Petersburg Times editorial states. During most of his political career, Helms was "intolerant" regarding homosexuality and AIDS, but "time and a sense of mortality have a way of opening even closed minds," the editorial says. One of the "[m]ost astonishing" changes in Helms' attitude toward AIDS was his declaration that Bono, the lead singer of the rock band U2, helped shape his "new insight into the suffering of others," the editorial says. Helms, who met Bono while the singer was campaigning in support of debt relief for developing nations, said that Bono would "always be a friend." The editorial states that Helms' shift on HIV/AIDS may not be enough to "change [his] image in the minds of most Americans," but it demonstrates the potential of redemption (St. Petersburg Times, 2/28).
Time Profiles Bono
The March 4 issue of Time features a cover story on Bono, who "has no rival" in his role as both a pop star and an advocate for Africa. Bono "has grown even larger over the past three years, molding himself into ... the most secular of saints, becoming a worldwide symbol of rock-n-roll activism" by placing the issues of poverty and AIDS in Africa "onto the agenda of the world's most powerful people," Time reports. Bono has campaigned extensively for debt relief for African nations and recently founded DATA -- Debt, AIDS and Trade for Africa -- a group that he hopes to officially launch in mid-March. DATA will campaign for short-term economic aid, lower trade embargoes and money to fight AIDS "in return for democracy, accountability and transparency in governments across" Africa. Bono says that the group takes a "pragmatic, not preachy" approach to aid for Africa by maintaining that health and poverty on the continent present a "financial and security issue for America." Bono said, "Seventy percent of the problem of HIV/AIDS is in Africa. We're talking about the continent bursting into flames while we stand around with watering cans. That's our one idea. But the closer you get to the policy makers, you need specificity, and you need to know what you're talking about. I'd go in and talk about debt relief, debt relief, debt relief and people would say, 'But that's only part of the picture here'" (Tyrangiel, Time, 3/4). The full article is available online.