Rocker Bono can’t look at footage of a Jordan refugee captured for U2’s current Joshua Tree Tour, because the video often leaves him choked up and unable to sing.
The Irish star commissioned French artist J.R. to interview real-life refugees to beam on to the big screens onstage during shows, but the rocker had no idea he’d react so emotionally to the images.
“He (J.R.) finds her in Zaatari, in a camp in Jordan, which I visited with my daughter and (my wife) Ali a year ago,” Bono tells Rolling Stone. “He finds this incredible spirit, Omaima. She talks about America as a dreamland. She closes her eyes and J.R. asks her in another segment of the film we don’t broadcast, ‘What do you see when you think of America?’ She goes, ‘Oh, it is a civilised country and they are a good people’.
“It was just heartbreaking. We’ve put some of that in that show, just for a kick in the balls. Just when you think things are lightning up, we do the ode to women. The next thing you know this woman gives you a kick in the balls, but in the most velvet way. She says everything.
“Sometimes, when we’re playing it I have to turn away from the film. I can’t sing when we’re looking at it. It’s very touching. She’s so dignified and so authoritative. There’s something of a future leader in her.”
Ironically, Bono points out, the refugee in the footage is among “the sort of women that aren’t welcome, that President Trump doesn’t want in America”.