Fifty years ago, in 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono used their exceptionally high public profiles to bring awareness to the absurdity of war. They were pacifists believing that violence is never justifiable. They were just married and the World’s press were hot on their tails. It was paparazzi mayhem. They knew this was a moment in time they could truly utilise for good. They decided to simply have a ‘sit-in’ – a peaceful method of protesting where people simple sit in one place to create awareness, media-attention and peacefully disrupt the system. It was non-violent messaging. In the days before social media and instant viral news threads, this was the only way to reach the world on such a prolific scale.
They were in room 702 at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel. This was their harmonious private honeymoon time. Instead, they used their honeymoon as a vehicle for peace. They offered up their traditional honeymoon for the greater good. They offered up their intimacy for publicity. And what a magnificent global sensation it was to protest the Vietnam War on the world stage.
They spent seven days in bed from 25th to 30th March and invited the world to participate. John was a well known peace-keeper. An articulate and opinionated hero for the underdog and against global political unfairness that was pandemic. The World’s press were invited between 9am and 9pm for those seven days. They wore pyjamas, drank tea, talked peacefully about harmony and harmoniously sang songs for peace. John and Yoko saw themselves as ‘angels on Earth’ singing sense into the world’s ear. Friends came and went. Supporters and contemporary artists and musicians all helped get the message out there …
All we are saying is give peace a chance.
One and the Same
After seven days, they flew to Vienna and held a press conference on Bagism – John’s satire on prejudice. He postulated that if a person lived in one uniformed bag they could not be subject to prejudice … a civilised extension of the belief that underneath our clothes, naked, we are all the same. Without apparel, accessories or titles, we are all human. We are all one.
Following the event, when asked if he thought the Bed-In had been successful, John became frustrated. He insisted the failure of the press to take the couple seriously was part of what he and Yoko wanted: “It’s part of our policy not to be taken seriously. Our opposition, whoever they may be, in all manifest forms, don’t know how to handle humour. And we are humorous.” He wanted to try a softer more accepting and loving approach to create change.
Their second planned Bed-In was to take place in America, in New York. But John was banned from the U.S. because of a 1968 cannabis conviction. They decided to head to Montreal on May 26th and stayed at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. They invited friends and fellow peace lovers to record the now infamous, Give Peace a Chance. It was recorded in the hotel room, on the bed, with the happy crescendo of friends’ voices in unity, peace, and love, singing with hints of Indian chanting, to a feel-good chorus of optimism. Naturally, there were mixed reactions from the world press. This was expected and celebrated. Any press was good press … as long as the message for peace was firmly embedded from the wedded-bedded. The non-violent peace campaign was a huge success and is still running today, over fifty years later, and can be seen at https://imaginepeace.com/
It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it. —Eleanor Roosevelt
… If You Want it
In December 1969, John and Yoko continued to directly spread their messages of peace with billboards reading “WAR IS OVER! If You Want It – Happy Christmas From John and Yoko”. The billboards were put up in eleven major world cities. This was followed up by the song, Happy Xmas (war is over – if you want it).
What touches me most about this story is the theme of offering things up. John and Yoko offered their honeymoon, their privacy and their careers to the cause of peace. And that got me thinking … what do I personally offer or give up for world peace? What do I offer in support of my unwavering belief in Unity, Peace, and Love for all beings on this magical, blue planet?
Standing in My Integrity
Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. — John F. Kennedy
This is not about veganism. This is about what are we prepared to selflessly stand behind, peacefully and harmoniously, to support a better world. Every small voice in unison makes a glorious choir, a choral symphony of hope. It’s not what you do, per se, to create a better world, but it’s the fact that you do something or anything at all: great or small, visible or invisible … it’s making a commitment to make the world more beautiful than you found it.
Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. — Saint Francis de Sales
Beloved Uplifters, how do you contribute to world peace? What offerings have you selflessly made or are willing to make to participate in a harmonious world for all? Please share your thoughts and all the ways you add a little active hope and sunshine for eternal peace time.
And perhaps some of you remember this time in history?
May your day be full of peace, even in times of challenge.
We love and appreciate you so very much.