I had never heard the recording (linked above) until today, although it appears to have been produced in 2008 - and I was fascinated to hear Lennon voicing in simple language to a young person, the strong pacifist views which we have since grown to associate with the singer.
It is ironic to think that the year in which this 14 year-old sneaked in for an interview with John Lennon (1969), was the same year in which the ‘Troubles’ were yet again just beginning in Northern Ireland - a strife which was to re-awaken and massage ancient grievances to the cost of so many. It involved people and places far beyond Ireland, it maimed countless thousands of people and it tragically cost many, many lives.
Because it is so close to us, I’ve used the Ireland sadness as my example.
There is a French saying, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” (the more things change, the more they stay the same). And indeed they do, for strife has been with us since time began and despite the many efforts of the just and the strong, it indicates little chance of a permanent departure.
In my view, there are usually two main causes of strife. They each manifest themselves in many different forms but they may be defined generally as, Greed and intolerant Religion.
In my view there are usually two main victims of strife. They are the Innocent and that which is usually at the root of matters, The Truth.
The former victims suffer regardless; but the latter victim is a pliable element which, despite sometimes factually supportive evidence, often remains significantly dependent on perspective and is subject to manipulation.
Thus sadly, it is one whose definition may not always be universally accepted.
As part of a generation which was brought up during the dying days of colonialism and arbitrary childhood attendance to a specific religion, it was always going to be difficult for me to adjust to more enlightened thinking and to reject (either in whole or in part) the accepted thinking of our forebears. However, I was always marginally rebellious and so fitted in well with the reasoning of those who thought rather than accepted - and particularly, with the actions of those who rejected that which did not make sense to us.
I was thus impressed by the earlier example and results of Mahatma Ghandi’s ‘passive resistance’ approach which advocated dialogue but no violence, during a time when Britain still felt an inalienable right to rule the destiny of millions in their own countries.
I was further impressed by youth heroes of my own time, like Lennon and those others who promoted ‘Make Love not War’. They espoused simple philosophies and their thinking was, like so many such dreams, based upon logic - even if the obvious was clouded in naivety.
Sadly, Ghandi suffered the same end as so many peace-seekers who generate huge followings and he was assassinated - but that in which he believed is still with us.
Peace, the truth and freedom are feared by aggressors, for they sense the threat which each poses to their ambitions. Thus and through their very detestation of them, they inadvertently confirm their veracity - the real truth.
Returning to the ‘Troubles’ in Ireland, we have an overall prevailing peace situation which continues to give hope for final resolution, even if long-term settlement does remain subject to adequate control being maintained through the set example of what may be achieved by tolerance and reconciliation - coupled with strength, in whatever guise.
And what brought this about? Was it guns, bombs and intimidation?
No, it was that which has so often yielded in the past to early aggression.
It was dialogue - for if one doesn’t speak to one’s aggressor, how on earth will the violence ever end and understanding and compromise begin?
When idiot short-sighted successive governments refused to allow even the voices of IRA spokesmen to be heard on aural/visual media for so long, the violence continued and it was not until people actually began to speak direct to each other, that understanding dawned and compromise began to prevail over the bullet.
Now, I’m not saying that dialogue, understanding and compromise are the definitive cures to strife - but without them, I can most definitely confirm that there will never be even the beginning of peace.
John Lennon - you were right. Peace is the target but how to achieve it is the problem.