This is a recording of a performance by Sinead O’Connor at the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Tribute concert at Madison Square Garden in 1992.
Less than two weeks earlier, Ms. O’Connor had appeared on Saturday Night Live and performed an a capella version of Bob Marley’s “War”. At the end of the song she held up a photograph of Pope John Paul II and tore it into pieces as a way of protesting against the perpetuation and cover up of child abuse within the Roman Catholic church. She was met with utter silence.
Ms. O’Connor’s reception at Madison Square Garden was mixed. There were certainly cheers, but the booing nearly overwhelmed them.
Whatever you may think of her actions on Saturday Night Live, there can be no question that this is the very image of grace under pressure, of conviction, of a passion for speaking out against abuse (of which she was also a victim).
This is courage, and this one is for Zoe.