Is peace just an absence of war?
That question begs another question: What is war?
Is war a "hot" conflict with bombs raining down on civilians? Is it covert action with undercover agents fomenting unrest and electoral rebellion? Is it crippling sanctions that target unarmed and un-protected civilians who become desperate for medicine when their child is dying of dysentery or hungry for food to fend off starvation?
Is war maintaining a large standing army and an over-bloated Ministry of War even in peacetime? Is war destroying our precarious environment for the sake of a comparative few to the detriment of the many? Is war recklessly using natural resources when there is a limited supply and many people are killed or enslaved so others can have diamond engagement rings or cheap crap at Wal-Mart?
I believe there is always an undeclared war on poor people all over the world and the establishment's goal is to use any means violent, covert, or criminal to make the poor, poorer; the rich, richer; and to eliminate an educated, healthy, and vibrant middle class that is a threat to the fascist-elite way of life but essential for true freedom and democracy.
So then what is a meaningful definition of peace? Peace is an existential state where individuals are not only free from bombs raining down on their heads and an absence of planes flying into buildings, but where every person enjoys the basic human rights of security, prosperity, a good and free education, plentiful food, accessible healthcare, clean water and a clean planet free from catastrophic global climate change and overwhelming pollution.
John Lennon, who was so wrongly taken away from us 27 years ago today, is an icon for peace who strived and struggled for a true peace with his talent and with his resources. His songs, and refrains particularly: Power to the People, Imagine, and War is Over, and Give Peace a Chance are anthems for our modern peace movement. Imagine (on which I have written before) is a manifesto to a Utopian world where true peace is the paradigm and constant war as a foreign policy tool is abolished.
It is a tragedy in our world that we oftentimes marginalize or kill our peacemakers. I often dream of where our world would be today if people like Gandhi, John Lennon, MLK, Jr., or Bobby Kennedy (a later in life convert to peace) would not have been assassinated, or what would happen if we, their survivors, had made more meaning out of their violent, meaningless and senseless deaths. Would we be closer to state of utopia (or Nutopia) that John Lennon dreamed of?
John's widow, Yoko Ono Lennon, has been very tireless in striving for world peace and in continuing her husband's legacy. I know that my work for peace began when I wanted to make meaning out of my son's senseless and violent death at the hands of the war pigs.
We cannot let their deaths be in vain!
It was in the season of peace that John Lennon was killed, when instead of a frenzy of shopping and an orgy of eating, we should all be reflecting on elevating the situation of our less fortunate brothers and sisters to bring peace to our part of the world that will have a ripple effect that spreads worldwide.
At the request of Yoko, let's make today a day of reflecting on true peace. Take a few moments at 11:15 EST and remember John and what he gave the world and what his legacy should be.
Imagine peace, then go out and make peace.
Please visit Imagine Peace sometime today for inspiring videos and down loadable artwork.