You see, Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice. It makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties. It doubts our concern. It questions our commitment. Because there is no way we can look at what's happening in Africa, and if we're honest, conclude that it would ever be allowed to happen anywhere else.
I'm a singer, not a politician, and I think you don't want the two to get confused. It's not OK to be on CNN talking about people starving and then tell the interviewer that your new album is coming out in six months.
So what we're talking about here is human rights. The right to live like a human. The right to live, period. And what we're facing in Africa is an unprecedented threat to human dignity and equality.
Because I was suspicious of the traditional Christian church, I tended to tar them all with the same brush. That was a mistake, because there are righteous people working in a whole rainbow of belief systems - from Hasidic Jews to right-wing Bible Belters to charismatic Catholics.
But with Christ, we have access in a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the Cross.
Ethiopia didn't just blow my mind; it opened my mind. Anyway, on our last day at this orphanage a man handed me his baby and said, 'Would you take my son with you?' He knew, in Ireland, that his son would live, and that in Ethiopia, his son would die.
When a nation is over-reliant on one or two commodities like oil or precious minerals, corrupt government ministers and their dodgy associates hoard profits and taxes instead of properly allocating them to schools and hospitals.
It's a privilege to serve the poor, to be servants of noble Africans, but I better belong in the rehearsal room or in the studio with my band. That's where I want to be and I still wake up in the morning with melodies in my head.
Africa is a continent in flames. And deep down, if we really accepted that Africans were equal to us, we would all do more to put the fire out. We're standing around with watering cans, when what we really need is the fire brigade.
I have been working for Africans since I was 18, when I got involved with the Nelson Mandela concerts. I got involved with debt cancellation because Desmond Tutu demanded that the world respond to that situation.
You see, idealism detached from action is just a dream. But idealism allied with pragmatism, with rolling up your sleeves and making the world bend a bit, is very exciting. It's very real. It's very strong.
When people say, you know, 'Good teacher,' 'Prophet,' 'Really nice guy'... this is not how Jesus thought of Himself. So you're left with a challenge in that, which is either Jesus was who he said he was or a complete and utter nut case. You have to make a choice on that.
I truly believe that when the history books are written, our age will be remembered for three things: the war on terror, the digital revolution, and what we did - or did not do - to put the fire out in Africa. History, like God, is watching what we do.
The fact is that ours is the first generation that can look disease and extreme poverty in the eye, look across the ocean to Africa, and say this, and mean it. We do not have to stand for this. A whole continent written off - we do not have to stand for this.
Mandela's heroism is the heroism of a man who suffered so badly for what he thought of as freedom. And yet when he had the upper hand he has this incredible self-control and these incredible leadership qualities.
God is so big. It's a gigantic concept in God. The idea that God might love us and be interested in us is kind of huge and gigantic, but we turn it, because we're small-minded, into this tiny, petty, often greedy version of God, that is religion.
It's not a coincidence that in the Scriptures, poverty is mentioned more than 2,100 times. It's not an accident. That's a lot of air time, 2,100 mentions.
It's much easier to be successful than it is to be relevant. The tricks won't keep you relevant. Tricks might keep you popular for a while, but in all honesty, I don't know how U2 will stay relevant. I know we've got a future. I know we can fill stadiums. And yet with every record, I think, 'Is this it? Are we still relevant?'
There was a moment when Prince did rock & roll with a sponge-y seductive sound. I think that's what was in our head for 'Get On Your Boots.' But actually, the song is much more punk rock.
What turns me on about the digital age, what excited me personally, is that you have closed the gap between dreaming and doing. You see, it used to be that if you wanted to make a record of a song, you needed a studio and a producer. Now, you need a laptop.