“War is over…if you want it.” — John Lennon. Today the world celebrates International Day of UN Peacekeepers (May 29), paying tribute to all those who dedicated their lives to establish peace in their country and abroad. In keeping with the event, we’re remembering one pop legend and peacekeeper who spent his life spreading the message of peace and gained immortality through his thoughts and actions, leaving a deep impact on people even decades later.
Born on October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England, John Lennon was a musician and singer-songwriter most famously known as the co-founder of The Beatles. What made him different from the other pop stars of his time, was his political activism which led him to be known as a political artist. His first band as a teenager was the Quarrymen, which became the Silver Beatles and later evolved to the Beatles in 1960. After the Beatles disbanded in 1970, Lennon went on to producing solo albums like John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, with some popular songs like Give Peace a Chance, Working Class Hero and perhaps his greatest hit, Imagine. But this was not the ultimate goal for the peacemaker. He was more than just a famed name in the music industry.
The Peace Movement
The events of the Vietnam War had struck Lennon deeply. In 1971, he moved to Manhattan and got involved in a bunch of controversies revolving around his political and peace activism.
After marrying Yoko Ono in 1969, he worked with her to spread the anti-war movement or the peace movement against the Vietnam War. He played a crucial role in persuading people to join him for his cause. Lennon and Yoko Ono hosted bed-ins, a very peaceful yet powerful kind of protest where a person stays inside a room for certain number of days to protest against something. Being a celebrity back in the 70s, media coverage for Lennon’s protest was a given. He held bed-ins in Montreal and Amsterdam. Give Peace a Chance was written and recorded in Montreal during one such protest.
A very impactful proof of the success of the peace movement was witnessed on the second Vietnam Moratorium Day when over half a million people gathered in to sing Give Peace a Chance together. As surprising as it was for Lennon to see his efforts bearing fruit, he was also quite happy with the response from the people towards the peace movement.
Believe In Peace
It is very fascinating to know that people back then also wanted similar things in their society as we do today, a major one being ‘peace’. The world faces a humanity crisis at present and a peace movement could save the world from threats of oppression and war.
In 2014, UNICEF led a global campaign wherein the song Imagine was sung by various famous artists in a video; there was also a version with people from various ethnicities and another one with children. The video offered millions of people a chance to record their own version of the song through an app in the iPhones and iPads, and also place themselves in the video alongside A-listers as one. Watch the video here.
Such is the impact of John Lennon’s legacy, still alive inside the people who really want the world to be a peaceful and a happy place to live in. The music legend taught us more than just a few song lyrics. He taught us to be human again.
Image Credit: Liveformusic.com