The war in Sarajevo was a time of pure atrocity. Thousands of people died, and the city of Sarajevo, once a beautiful cosmopolitan city, was reduced to rubble. If you are interested in the details, there is a very informative and well-written Wikipedia page on the siege. We’re here today to talk about the videos for the song “Miss Sarajevo”, but I thought that it was worth the time to mention the terrible battle and remind everyone that such a thing cannot be allowed to happen again. Some of you might be wondering why I would include an article on a Passengers song in my ongoing attempt to document every U2 promotional video. Well, the truth is that I consider at least some of the songs on the Passengers album to be so closely related to the sounds and ideas that make up U2’s music that I feel that I would be remiss if I did not talk about them and any related videos. “Miss Sarajevo” is one of those songs, and U2 has given support to the idea that they consider the song part of their canon by including “Miss Sarajevo” on their best of 1990-2000 album, in addition to performing the song on a regular basis on some of their recent tours. That’s good enough for me, so here we are.
There were two videos made in support of the song “Miss Sarajevo.” The first of these videos documents the day that Bono, Brian Eno, and The Edge joined Pavarotti in Modena for one of the latter’s Pavarotti and Friends events. The live footage of the boys performing the song is mingled with footage from Bill Carter’s amazing documentary of the same event that the song describes. That movie is also titled “Miss Sarajevo,” and it is well worth checking out if you have not seen it. The second video in support of the song is made up solely of footage from Carter’s documentary. As a U2 fan, I have to say that I prefer the first video, which incorporates footage of some of my favorite rock stars (Bono and Edge), but as a human being, I am more moved by the other video. The video from Modena is, by design, more entertaining and less affecting, but, considering the subject of the video, both are important stories that deserved to be told. I guess that this goes back to the old debate about whether or not rock and roll should be consigned to pure entertainment, or if it is OK to mix politics, for instance, or humanitarian concerns with one’s fun. U2 has often been criticized for mixing what I believe are important topics with their music and performances. I think that for me, U2 created the template of what is permissible, and so I have no problem with rock and roll reaching for a higher purpose. I think that that is one of the reasons I love U2…their sense of responsibility and their willingness to help those less fortunate than themselves.
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