BED-INs and Other Protests Needed Now
By Kevin Stoda, Germany
The German radio station, Radio BOB, in Frankfurt is approaching the 40th Anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s famous Bed-Ins in Holland and Canada, i.e. performed during the U.S. and its Allies War in Vietnam IN 1969.
In an attempt to promote more peace and togetherness, Germany’s Radio BOB’s most popular talk-show host-couple will reenact the weeklong bed-ins this March in the Presidential Suite at the Hilton Hotel in Frankfurt.
The original Bed-In was first performed by Yoko and Lennon in Amsterdam’s Hilton in March 1969.
Later, the week-long Bed-In was repeated in Montreal, Canada—i.e. after Lennon had trouble booking in New York City and in the Niagara Falls area. (Part of Lennon and Ono’s trouble with the US authorities was John’ 1968 conviction for possession of a handful drugs in London—this crime, combined with Lennon’s opposition to the U.S. war in Vietnam and his opposition to Nixon escalation policies, made it difficult for Yoko and John to enter the USA in 1969.)
One can see several videos of the Lennon-Ono Peace Bed-In at this link:
Meanwhile in Montreal a local Fine Arts Museum is currently holding an exhibition on the Lennon-Ono Bed-Ins—which were an example of “artistic happenings”. (Happenings left their marks on the art world of the 1960s.)
History recalls that these particular peace activist events are to be recalled this 40th Anniversary: “On March 20, 1969, the couple wed in Gibraltar. The following week, the two master media manipulators used their celebrity for good, hosting a honeymoon “bed-in” for peace in room 902, the presidential suite of the Amsterdam Hilton. The press avidly pursued them, assuming that the famous nudists would make love for their cameras. Instead, the pajama-clad newlyweds spoke out about world peace. It was the honeymoon as performance art, interlaced with a protest against the Vietnam War.”
In May 1969, the second bed-in took place in Canada. The Bed-In for peace has been repeated several places around the world and by different media stars. Green Day’s Billy Joe Armstrong and his wife Adrienne performed a bed-in in 2006.
NOTE: The Bed-In is one of 33 forms of popular protest tactics described on this weblink. That same 1969 year spawned many other forms of creative protests.
Interestingly, this recent global focus on Bed-Ins dovetails this 2009 with the first international visit of George W. Bush to Canada (this week) and the 6th anniversary of the U.S. allies invasion of Iraq.
Meanwhile, lawyers in Canada “are trying to block Bush’s entry into their country. Lawyers Against the War says Bush should be either barred or detained for condoning the use of torture at overseas jails. If Canadian officials won’t deny Bush entry, the lawyers say Bush should be arrested and tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
According to Gail Davidson, “In Calgary, there’s people amassing there to indicate their opposition to the fact that the Canadian government has allowed Mr. Bush into Canada, incredibly to talk about his years in the Oval Office and the important things that he did and so on. And they have—they’re doing a number of things. I understand there’s a shoe collection, for instance, and I understand that by amassing shoes, they’re wanting to send a double message: send a message to the Canadian government that they think it’s time that the law stepped in and also to send a message to everybody that they would like to give Mr. Bush the boot, I guess, from Canada.”
Nonetheless, nothing seems to be being actually undertaken by Canadian officials to the groundswell.
Gail Davidson emphasizes this disappointing Canadian government silence. “Absolutely nothing [is being done]. We [the lawyers in Canada] ’ve received no response whatsoever. However, from the RCMP or the government officials, that doesn’t surprise me. I’m confident we will receive a response, that we’ll receive a response after Mr. Bush has come and gone. And although we haven’t succeeded in educating our political leaders about what Canadian law is and what Canada’s responsibility to international humanitarian law is, we are confident that eventually we will succeed. Now, although we haven’t received a response from the Canadian government or the RCMP, we’ve received responses from all over the world, many, many, many, many responses from the United States, from Canada and from other countries saying yes, basically echoing the words of Martin Scheinin, the UN special rapporteur for human rights and counterterrorism, who said recently, ‘Now that the witch hunt for alleged terrorists is over, it’s time for the law to step in.’”
Nonetheless, Davidson is hopeful that eventually some government on the planet will respond differently to “W. Bush and Co.”
Now, a Calgary newspaper reports of the protests being organized there., “According to Toby Pollet, a former peacekeeper who served in Croatia and Yugoslavia, ‘Bush should be facing war crimes charges under the Canadian Criminal Code’.”
For example, a lot of the protestors in Canada plan to throw shoes rather than do a bed-in.
Incidentally, the Canadian Prime Minister has already announce that Canada will pull-out of Afghanistan—another War from George W. Bush—by 2012 or earlier.
Meanwhile, the International Red Cross has produced a recent report that links the Bush administration to torture around the globe.
Finally, this same March marks the sixth anniversary of the Israeli bull-dozing murder of Rachel Corry.
Rachel Corry, died reporting on and protecting Palestinians under attack unfairly by Israeli authorities is certainly an example of someone who paid the ultimate price for bringing hope, respect and calls of reform to society.
ACTIVE PROTEST NEEDED NOW
With Corry’s example of great personal sacrifice on hand, we readers and consumers of news need to get out and connect the poverty of the persecuted around the globe with the situation we in wealthy nations from Germany to the United Sates.
After his most recent visit to Israel and Palestine, Rachel’s father, Craig Corry has made it clear; “You know, the people here [in Palestine today] are just folks. And you’ve got to understand people as people. And that’s the sort of first thing. And this one person here says, ‘We’re certainly not animals to be kept in a zoo, and somebody throws food over the wall to us every time.’ But trying to bring the humanity of the issue to people, I think, is an important message.”
Craig continues, “The first thing people here need is hope, probably. Anybody, to survive, you need hope. And the second thing is respect, respect for their humanity. And I have vast respect for these people. And then we have to get to work, of course, on some humanitarian aid and rebuilding aid, but again, that has to come in a political context which gives them a hope for a real future. You look at the children here that we’ve seen throughout this day and the previous days and, of course, on other trips, and they’re beautiful. They’re just beautiful, smiling. Somehow they manage still to smile. How can you be shaking for twenty-five minutes and then—children are resilient in a lot ways and run around smiling later, but they deserve a future, just like our kids have. And we won’t have the kind of future that we want unless these children have that, a chance at that future. You know, they need to be able to get that way.”
Finally, Rachel’s father notes, “So I think that’s part of it: trying to tie what is a real connection that we see between people of Palestine and our own existence in the United States. We’re wedded together, whether we like it or not. And so, we need to figure out how to make that, I guess, a happy marriage. And it can be. The people here will somehow have the capacity to, first of all, make a distinction between Americans coming here and our foreign policy, which for them is atrocious. This—you know, United States largely paid to build some of these factories here, to build—for instance, you look at the electrical plant that was destroyed or partially destroyed a few years ago, and the United States built it, the United States insured it, and the United States bombed it. And with this—it’s largely true for the whole Strip, that through US aid money and some other of things—a lot of this was built with US money. It was certainly bombed with US ammunition. The United States paid and actually transported the fuel for this somewhat during the summer. While we were paying $4 a gallon for gas, we were also shipping gas to Israel for use here. And now we’re talking about rebuilding it again with US dollars. You know, enough is enough. I absolutely think we need to rebuild the Gaza Strip, but it has to be rebuilt with the standards of—political standards that need to go around that, so that it’s not going to be bombed apart again.”
Both Craig and Rachel’s mother, Cindy Corry, think that they and all Americans “need to insist on accountability for what has happened here. I know that there have been calls for investigation into specific incidents. I don’t know exactly the form that that’s going to take. I was really happy to hear before we left the United States that Senator Leahy, I believe, had called for investigation of one incident where two young men were killed when they were traveling with their father. We visited the father, heard his story. It was during—they were out traveling during the time when there was a three-hour kind of ceasefire each day, when people could go out into their neighborhoods and so forth.”
In short, Americans and peacemakers around the globe need to organize more than ever before (even after Obama’s election) to get justice and peace in the second decade of this century, i.e. organize at a level not experienced before in history.
So, start the Bed-Ins!!!
Start the peace marches!!!
File for arrest warrants, like bush who threw out constitutions and good neighbor policies.
GET WHAT WE NEED NOW—and don’t settle for less!!!!
Don’t pay taxes!
Don’t promote bank bailouts until the world gets more oriented to obtaining PEACE NOW!!!!