peace a chance
Ono's speech at Oxford University (Oct 2002)
esteemed sisters and brothers: I've come here today across the Atlantic to say
"Give Peace A Chance." It's time for us to come together, and say it
again, and to realize, again, that War Is Over, if you want it.
need letter writing, exchange of thoughts and information. True information gives
us clarity and power, though that is precisely what is held back from us now.
I will give you what I know.
Only a few weeks ago, on October
5th, there was a large Peace Rally in Central Park, and over 10 thousand people
came together to protest the US policy and to say "Not In My Name."
This was the first Peace Rally in N.Y. against the impending war. A surprisingly
large number of people gathered that day for the Rally, despite the intense political
climate in the States at this time. It delights me, and concerns me, at the same
time. It is delightful that so many Americans are thinking Peace. It concerns
me that this may bring another destruction on some remote island, to make a sacrificial
lamb out of innocent people in an effort to urge us to go to war. That was done
in the beginning of the Second World War. There's no reason to think that history
will not repeat itself.
You may know that Al Gore came out
with strong anti-Iraq War statements, and Ted Kennedy immediately expressed his
support. The press, however, tried to discredit their statements as being made
by professional politicians. Nevertheless, the effect of their statements is creating
strong ripples. I hope you will pick up Al Gore's recent interviews and Op-Ed
statement on the internet. He is going beyond the call of duty, possibly jeopardizing
his chances for the next election, if anything.
polls in the States show that although 57 % of the Americans support invasion
of Iraq, if the UN and the Congress do not authorize the action, the number of
Americans who would support the invasion on that basis drops to 37%. This shows
that the United Nations still carries weight in the American Mind, and you, through
writing to the United Nations to support their position, can too. Write to your
Statesmen, write to any institution which exerts power in the decision making
of war or peace. Send letters to the editors of magazines and newspapers. Write
to fashion designers, for instance, and ask them to stamp Peace on his/her advertisements.
Don't fight for Peace, Stand for Peace. Write, voice and appeal. With your appeal,
instill the word Peace in the minds of every being in our society.
week ago, on John Lennon's Birthday, October 9th, I inaugurated A LennonOno
Grant For Peace at the United Nations. The idea of the Grant came to me in
1999 when I did two art shows, One in Jerusalem, and the other in Um El Fachem,
at the same time. The Grant focuses on the issues where healing is needed. The
first recipients were one Israeli artist and one Palestinian artist selected by
curators of each region. The two artists were chosen to celebrate the fact that
they have continued to be inspirational and creative in spite of the intense political
climate we all live in. The artists shook hands in front of UN ambassadors, government
officials, and fellow artists. The Secretary General, Kofi Annan congratulated
me and the artists and said that the prize showed the fact that "peace is
everybody's business not just an issue for governments." The two artists,
Zvi Goldstein and Khalil Rabah, the curators and the organizers of the Grant:
me and my friends in N.Y., went to a Soho restaurant later for drinks and meal,
and hugged and celebrated each other. It was an evening of meeting of the minds,
of friends, so much so, that for a moment I forgot the fact that the friends from
the Middle East will be going back to the warzone the next morning. But once I
thought of it, then I wasn't entirely sure whether they were returning to the
warzone, or leaving us in one. Hey, stay well. Let's all stay well and survive.
Promise to meet again soon. Okay?
You may say my attempt
was naive that it would not even move a mouse, let alone a mountain. Well, this
was my humble attempt to plant a seed. A tree can be cut down. But a seed is not
so easy to destroy. It is a psychotic act to go around digging for seeds, though
the most recent suggestion of "a pre-emptive strike" sounds very much
like one. Let's all of us plant seeds, give water, and Imagine all the people
living life in Peace. Remember, our hearts are one. Even when we are at war with
each other, our hearts are always beating in unison.
World War II, St. Petersburg was surrounded by the German Army and cut off from
the other part of Russia for months. Finally, there was no food. No heat. Just
the sound of the German bombings. But the people of St. Petersburg did not surrender.
They were determine not to give up their city. The radio DJ try to cheer people
up by playing music, talking and cracking jokes. Finally, he became lethargic
as well. Nevertheless, he felt he could still do something to help people survive.
He let a metronome tick live on the radio. People lay down and just listened and
held on to that sound of the metronome ticking through day and night. That's how
St. Petersburg managed not to fall.
During the same war but
in Japan, my brother and I were stranded at a farm in the country we had been
evacuated to. We were starving. One day, I saw my brother looking extremely tired
and sad. It pained me to see him like that. Usually, he was an active, jolly little
boy who laughed at the drop of a hat. But now, he looked as helpless and confused
as the rest of us. Suddenly, a good idea came to me. I explained to my brother
that we were going to think of a dream menu. "Think of the dinner you want
to eat." He started slowly. "I want ice cream." "But that's
a dessert. We should start with soup, of course." We created an elaborate
meal in the air. My brother's face started to light up. Finally, he gave me the
sweet chuckle I loved so much.
John was a war child and so
was I. He was born during the bombing of Liverpool. While I was in a bomb shelter
in Tokyo. In a war, which is another name for organized killing, civilians are
the ones who suffer the most. Don't be misled by euphemistic expressions such
as "the attack was made with surgical precision." In the wars of the
twentieth century approximately 62 million civilians have perished, while nearly
43 million military personnel were killed. Soldiers came second on the death list.
But then one must remember the soldiers families. How they cope with the change
in their lives as a result of the loss, emotionally, physically, and financially.
must reclaim what we are. Once we were told that we were created in the image
of God. But now, we discovered that we can clone ourselves, in OUR image, by the
millions, from one cell in our hair. With that kind of power, we can do almost
anything. The war profiteers are strong because we allow them to confuse us and
cause suspicion of each other. Divide and conquer. There policy of deception,
manipulation and intimidation is working. Find peace in your heart and it will
spread over the world. The effect of it is strong and immediate. Keep your quiet
center, and stand for peace, instead of fighting for peace. We can do it.
visualize the boat all of us are on. If this sinks like the titanic, or if we
would get to the shore safely all depends on what we will do. Are we to fight
the people who stand for war? Fight them and the boat will sink. Our sanity and
peace is what is needed to keep the boat afloat.
1981, the coroner's office gave me back John's belongings in a plain brown paper
bag. Aside of being a man of peace, John was "The King of the World"...John,
who had everything any man could ever want...came back to me in a brown paper
bag in the end. I want you to know that. AND we were not alone. The number of
people who have died by gunshot alone since John's death is ten times larger than
the total number of American soldiers lost in the Vietnam War. We are indeed living
in a warzone called the world. I want all of us to realize that, and so, hopefully,
the healing process can begin. John would have wanted to say this to you, too.
the end, I'd like to read my Rainbow Revelation
you for your anger for it is a sign of rising energy.
Direct not to your family,
waste not on your enemy.
Transform the energy to versatility and it will bring
Bless you for your sorrow for it is a sign
Share not with your family, direct not to yourself.
the energy to sympathy and it will bring you love.
you for your greed for it is a sign of great capacity.
Direct not to your
family. Direct not to the world. Transform the energy to giving. Give as much
as you wish to take, and you will receive satisfaction
you for your jealousy for it is a sign of empathy.
Direct not to your family,
direct not to your friends.
Transform the energy to admiration and what you
admire will become part of your life.
Bless you for
your fear. For it is a sign of wisdom. Do not hold yourself in fear. Tranform
the energy to flexibility and you will be free from what you fear.
you for your poverty for it is a sign of great possibility do not hold poverty
in your mind. Every drop of your generosity will come back in 10 fold.
as though you were a king, and you will receive a king's due.
you for your search of direction for it is a sign of aspiration.
the energy to receptivity and the direction will come to you
you for the times you see evil.
Evil is energy mishandled and it feeds on
Feed not and it will self-destruct. Shed light and it will cease
Bless you for the times you feel no love.
Open your heart to life anyway, and in time you will find love in you.
you, bless you, bless you.
Bless you for what you are. Remember you are loved.
Remember I love you.
I wish us all a beautiful future.
Let us come together, create and enjoy.