Last month, on the occasion of John Lennon’s 70th birthday, I went to the Arsht Center in Miami to watch Rain, a musical group on tour in the states playing Beatles songs, still emotionally charging audiences decades after his unnecessary shooting.
At the same time, in Liverpool, a John Lennon peace monument was unveiled at Chavasse Park. It was commissioned by the Global Peace Initiative, which wants to provide peace monuments on each continent.
The legacy of John Lennon is peace and harmony, a great musician whose music has touched millions and millions of lives. You may not have been alive to see him, but you have heard his songs, and seen his legacy alive in cutting edge musicians who brave and buck the status quo. He was unique and independent.
John Lennon posed naked with his wife Yoko Ono on the cover of Rolling Stone. John Lennon smoked dope. John Lennon stood transfixed with his hands up in a peace sign in front of the Statue of Liberty. Declassified FBI documents have demonstrated how the Nixon administration targeted Lennon for vocally opposing the US for our dominant participation in perpetuating the Vietnam War. John Lennon sung of peace in a time of war, and he lived a life cut all too short by a deranged gunman, murdered outside his home in the Dakota building, close to Central Park in New York.
Last week, on his anniversary, we saluted Lennon with a column by our own Pier Guidugli. This week, I salute him with these words in our music issue. ‘Imagine’ is a call to peace in a time of war. There are presently still insane murders in America, riots in Haiti, and slaughter in Afghanistan. There is trafficking of children in India and torture in countries everywhere. We live our lives on a planet where we send men to space stations in the stars and treat eat other as animals at home. It’s a mad world, a sad world. Were only this Christmas a time of peace. Were only we all able to find peace and harmony in this Holiday season.
Ironically, in Fidel Castro’s Cuba years ago, the Beatles and their songs were considered ideologically unfit for their revolution. With the exception of clandestine parties where smuggled tapes aired their music at night, when the lights were out, their magic could not be heard. But even Fidel has had an epiphany about the Beatles. He determined John Lennon was in fact a revolutionary hero, and the picture you see on this page is of a Lennon statue in a Havana park. The world has come full circle, even in Havana, never a haven for members of the gay community. But Fidel Castro recently disclosed to La Jornada, a Mexican newspaper, that he regrets the persecution of gay Cubans under his regime. Times change, and people do with them.
As many artists have, Lennon turned the pain of his childhood into music which conveys important messages that turned our heads, and the way we saw our lives. May we all use this Holiday season to renew our own spirit and turn our own hearts and head towards caring for our community just a little bit more than we have in the past. There is much we can still do. We are only limited by the boundaries of our imagination. And John Lennon’s call was simply to ‘imagine.’
May you in this Holiday season find a new meaning and tempered purpose to enhance your own life and those of the people you care most for. May you find it in the music of John Lennon or Lady Gaga, but may you realize your dreams, visions, and aspirations. May the words we publish in this paper also help you find comfort and meaning, purpose and direction.
For our community, SFGN’s goal is to illuminate our lives in a credible, newsworthy and progressive way. We want to be the newspaper you can respect in the morning, pick up in a corporate board room in the afternoon, and discuss at home with your partner in the evening. For entrepreneurs, SFGN’s goal is for our business to make you business, to enhance your pride and partnership with our industry and enterprise.
As we move towards our 50th issue in this, our very first year, thank you for letting us be a part of your lives. We hope it has been as enriching for you as it has been rewarding for us.