U2 members perform in support for displaced Ukrainians 


Bstn869 via Wikimedia Commons

U2 has a history of activism; in 1998 they performed in Chile in remembrance of the victims of the Pinochet dictatorship.

Keval Wagher, Copy Editor

On Sunday, May 8, U2 members Bono and the Edge appeared for a surprise performance in a bomb shelter in Ukraine. Previously a Kyiv subway station, the underground platform was converted to provide temporary safety to residents of the bombarded city. 

In a tweet, the famed musicians announced they had been invited by President Volodymyr Zelenksyy to “perform in Kyiv as a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people.” The bomb shelter has housed hundreds of displaced Ukrainians for months. Their performance was an act of support for the besieged country. 

Bono and the Edge performed acoustic versions of some of their popular songs, including “With or Without You” and “Desire.” In an impromptu turn of events, they were joined by Ukrainian singer Taras Topolio, who, like others, had joined the military resistance. Wearing military uniforms, he and his band Antytila performed a few songs with the Irish musicians. 

Frontman Bono addressed the audience during breaks in the set. He praised the Ukrainian people’s resistance against the Russian invasion, which began in January. “The people in Ukraine are not just fighting for your own freedom, you are fighting for all of us who love freedom,” he declared. The group sang a cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” with the lyrics changed to “Stand By Ukraine.”

The members of U2 have long been fierce activists and advocates for peace. In the ‘80s, they captivated the world with the struggles of the Irish through a plethora of songs, most memorably “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” a tribute to the victims of the Northern Irish conflict. “Pride (In the Name of Love)” is a call for universal peace and references Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

The platform of influence that popular musicians hold is tremendous. The messages that they portray through their music and actions take hold of their listeners, especially young people. Even though U2’s heyday has passed, their sphere of influence remains. By supporting Ukraine in such a personal manner, they continue their message of international peace.