Rock giants U2 have drawn attention to the plight of refugees and called for “humanitarian leadership” as they kicked off the European leg of their world tour.
Frontman and activist Bono, who addressed Turin’s packed Pala Alpitour in Italian on a number of occasions, said he did not have the answers to the refugee crisis but added that we “must work together” to find the solution.
And in an interview with the Press Association, the band’s bass player Adam Clayton spoke of the “anger” felt by Europeans who he says are questioning why their governments cannot seem to “do the right thing”.
The image of a young Syrian boy washed ashore in Turkey earlier this week sparked outrage and calls for governments throughout Europe to do more to help the tens of thousands of refugees.
Bono made reference to the shocking incident by changing the lyrics in Pride (In the Name of Love) to: “One boy washed up on an empty beach.”
The image of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi lying face down in the sand made headlines around the world, becoming a focal point for the deepening refugee crisis.
In a set that included more than two dozen of the band’s songs and at one point featured a screen showing footage of refugees, Bono said: “There is a lot of heartache in the world, but there is so much joy in here this evening.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you. It’s incredible.
“Watching the news, ordinary people – all of us – seem capable of such great evil and such great love.
“I don’t know the answer to the refugee crisis in Europe and Africa but I know we must work together to find an answer to the refugee crisis in Europe and Africa.”
He added: “As Nelson Mandela said: ‘It always seems impossible until it is done.'”
Bono asked the crowd: “What do you want? A Europe with its heart and borders closed to mercy? Or a Europe with its heart open?”
Commenting on whether U2 would get on board with a Band Aid style event, guitarist The Edge told PA: “I think we’d take it very seriously, but again, as Adam says, it might not be the right response since it couldn’t be any more high profile.”
He added that it was more an issue for governments.
The Edge told PA that the band tries to touch on issues that are relevant, adding: “We feel like our music should be a reference to what’s happening in the milieu around it.”