More about WAR IS OVER!
Back in 1969, hippie culture was becoming less cool and more mainstream, but Yoko Ono and John Lennon didn't care.
It was also a very tumultuous year for musician John Lennon. His band The Beatles (you may have heard of them) was on the verge of breaking up. He allegedly screamed that he wanted to “divorce” the band. It took them until 1970 to officially break up, but John never returned to the band after this incident. A couple of months before, John and Yoko Ono had gotten married in a small 10-minute ceremony, followed by a honeymoon that wasn't anywhere near as low key. The couple staged a “bed-in” to protest the Vietnam war. This basically meant the two laid in bed for two weeks, surrounded by the press. “We decided that if we were going to do anything like get married that we would dedicate it to peace." Isn’t that the most hippie dippie thing you've ever heard?
After John left the Beatles the couple continued their quest for peace. The WAR IS OVER! campaign was launched on December 15th, 1969. Billboards were placed all over the world in 11 big cities. The billboards read “WAR IS OVER! IF YOU WANT IT, Happy Christmas from John & Yoko." Wait no, THAT’s the most hippie dippie thing ever. They also handed out leaflets, posters, and basically used every kind of advertisement they could to gather attention for their campaign. When John was asked how much the billboards cost, he replied “I don’t know – but it is cheaper than someone’s life.” Right on dude.
To officially launch the whole project, John played at the “Peace For Christmas” charity concert together with artists like Keith Moon and Billy Preston. Of course, while they were performing, there was also a giant WAR IS OVER billboard on stage. Two years later, John released THE worst Christmas earworm ever (until Mariah came along in 1994 of course). The song Happy Christmas (War Is Over) was the climax of two years spent on peace activism. The main goal of the War Is Over campaign was to saturate the media and inspire people, young kids in particular. Even though the whole “war is over as long as you want it” thing might sound pretty pretentious, the message is still inspiring. “You are the goal. Nobody on earth can do it for you. Whatever it is you want, you must do it yourself.” John and Yoko tell us not to rely on the government, leaders or teachers, but to think for ourselves. Yeah, that’s still relevant after almost 50 years.
Even though John died all the way back in 1980, Yoko is still going strong. No retirement home for this lady! She keeps spreading the message, even online. The website www.imaginepeace.com/warisover offers WAR IS OVER posters in almost 100 different languages. Let’s hope one day we don't need 'em! But for now, keep going Yoko! We love you!