Imagine all the people, living life in peace. John Winston Ono Lennon October 9, 1940-December 8, 1980
A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality. Yoko Ono Lennon
On October 9th, on what would have been John Lennon's 67th birthday, his widow, Yoko Ono is dedicating a peace tower in Reykjavik, Iceland in the memory of her husband. There will also be almost a half a million peace wishes buried in capsules around the tower which is a blue tower of light extending up to the sky above us.
I received the link to the Imagine Peace website while I was on a layover in the airport in Las Vegas, Nv. Still reeling from the reports of hundreds, if not thousands of Burmese monks and other humans being slaughtered for protesting against their oppressive government, it was hard for me to watch all the people sitting hypnotized at the slot machines, pulling the handles or pushing the buttons as if the world is not going to hell in George's hand basket. The dichotomy of business as usual in America compared with genocides in Darfur and Iraq while I am still and always will be mourning my son makes me dizzy sometimes.
So, I made myself close my eyes for a few minutes between planes and tried to shut out the bells and whistles of the slots and "imagined" peace. What would a world at peace look like? What would a world at peace be like to live in? I have a great imagination but I knew this exercise would be challenging.
John Lennon called his song Imagine an "anti-religious, anti-nationalism, anti-conventional, anti-capitalist" sort of a "Communist manifesto." It is for sure a utopian vision of a perfect society that unfortunately can not be achieved by imagining, and probably not at all---but how close can we get to this world and how much sacrifice will a world at peace take from each and everyone of us?
First of all, imagine a world with no religion. A world where sick and evil people could not manipulate the masses into believing that the set of myths and beliefs that they profess are more important or powerful than the other's set of myths or beliefs. Israelis could not (with the help of Christian extremists) tell Palestinians that it is okay to occupy them or kill them so that the Jews could claim their "Promised Land." Land promised to whom by whom? Muslims could not proclaim "jihad" against infidels. There would have been no Nazi holocaust against Jews; no Crusades; no holocaust against our own native population; no black slavery justified by the Christian scriptures; no George Bush saying that his Christian God is like a mob-boss ordering him to "hit" the world. Imagine that!
Secondly, imagine no countries. No jingoistic worship of banners made of mere cloth (not spun gold) or arrogant nationalism that gives leaders the right to kill other human beings just because they do not happen to live within the same false borders that were artificially drawn many years ago by empires that have long ago fallen. In this homeland-istic fervor it is especially correct to kill those other people if they are not the same religion as the religion of your state (and don't kid yourself that the US does not have a state sanctioned religion). Imagine no armies that in reality kill and get killed for the imperialistic neo-liberalism that has crept around our globe like a flesh eating bacteria since the Reagan years. Imagine that.
Imagine no possessions: This is the crux of our problem. Going back to my brothers and sisters at the slot machines in Vegas, pulling almost catatonically on the lever of the One Armed Bandit, for what? To win the "jackpot" of course! How nice is it of the State of Nevada to allow gambling machines in their airports, so we can perchance live the American dream of buying higher stacks of stuff! On a day that George vetoed the health of over six-million children here in America, 16,000 children around the world died of starvation. In a week that we saw murder on a horrendous scale in Burma, more Iraqis were killed or forced from their homes by violence: to wander in the desert, or probably off to Syria where their daughters may be forced into prostitution to help support the family which should be able to live in peace and relative prosperity in their own country. Imagine that.
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It was hard for me to imagine or envision peace when I am terrified because BushCo is contemplating even more slaughter in the Middle East in Iran and when Congress, Inc is busy supporting a murderous status quo that hurts humans within all borders, even our own.
Peace will only happen when every member of humanity is guaranteed prosperity, health and security which will not happen when we here in the US can't even get off our asses to protest a war that is four and a half years and hundreds of thousands of bodies old, now.
We can imagine peace all we want but until each and everyone of us is willing to sacrifice some of our prosperity (because we have already had our security robbed from us by the rotten Republicans and complicit corporate Democrats) true peace---not just the absence of war---will be as elusive as a morsel of truth or modicum of courage coming out of Washington, DC.
Voluntary sacrifice is truly a revolutionary concept here in the United States of America.
So you say you want a revolution? Imagine that.
Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is a co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of two books: Not One More Mother's Child and Dear President Bush.