////THE OXFORD UNION ADDRESS: “GAME IS NOT OVER” (2005)

THE OXFORD UNION ADDRESS: “GAME IS NOT OVER” (2005)

Yoko Ono
15th June 2005

We all know that we are at the crossroads of blowing up together, stay alive maimed, or slowly die from cancer or other unpronounceable ailments we don’t have the cure for. We may become the subject of experimentation of scientists as well. That’s another area of control we are being subjected to. Due to many powerful controlling forces, not necessarily coupled with the right judgement, we are now surrounded by polluted water, polluted air and polluted land full of pesticides and nuclear waste.

The vast majority of politicians are bought by corporations the interests of which are to make money, and more money. Corporations are not people. They are just giant machineries working for one end: to make money. People who control the corporations are just slaves to the machinery they work for. Some of them get wise and pull themselves out. They get enormous parachute payments and run. The politicians are slaves of the slaves. They may do some posturing to show us that they are actually working for the people. But they are not. They cannot be. They need big corporate monies to back them up to be in their position to begin with.

In a situation like this, what can we do?

We, the people, are asked now, to be incrediblly, incrediblly wise. And so we are. We are getting very wise very fast. Our survival instinct of the race is waking us up. As soon as we have decided to confront the truth without anger or despair, we started to see the truth. The truth is getting more and more obvious now. The game politicians and corporations play to keep people away from truth are not working anymore. They needed people to take care of their dirty work. People who witnessed pieces of truth of what was going on started to speak out.

I know how it is when you speak out. You feel terribly vulnerable. You look around and see that nobody is with you. In fact, the whole world seems to be laughing at you. That was the experience John, my husband and I had when we spoke out. You should write to whoever had the courage to speak out and express your solidarity. Your letter becomes a protection for them. If tons of letters would go to them, they will not be covered up or disappear. That’s how it works. Letter writing is still a very effective weapon. You should know that.

There are courageous reporters, too. Mad Cow disease was covered up for ten years in United Kingdom. A minister demonstrated on TV to show how it was safe for him and his son to eat cow meat as a strong gesture of assurance to the people. Despite that the truth came out to the public because of one photo of piled up cow carcasses taken by a reporter.

Shed light, and darkness disappears.

Use the most powerful addition to our lives called the Internet. The Internet is a revolution. Because of the internet, our world is becoming a global village as we predicted in the sixties. The internet communication keeps us together and wise. Politicians are now trying to find a way to block or mess up the internet communication. That means they know how important internet is for the people. They can bribe journalist in a few choice positions to make them become convenient mouth pieces, and they do, but they cannot bribe the whole internet.
There are two very important writings on the internet I want to share with you. One was by Michael Fitzgerald called Militarism: A way of life which is in the latest issue of UTNe Reader., also online at the original magazine website THE HUMANIST.

The article speaks of how being a son of a working class navy man, he has realized how millions of Americans depended their livelihoods on the permanent war economy – not limited to people in the military, but people who worked as defense contractors. A person cannot be elected to be the President of the country, unless they are voted by the military and defense contractors.Therefore, If the President does not take the nation to war, he will not be able to stay President. The article refers to the fact that Lyndon Johnson said, privately, he feared impeachment if he pulled out of Vietnam. Well, that’s a hell of a statement.

When I read this article, I felt very depressed, because it was an intelligent article pointing to a logical reality I was blocking from my mind. I sent it to all my politically minded friends, and they all became just as depressed as I was. Some came back saying, “there’s no point in us making a peace effort then. it’s a waste of time.” I felt that way, too, for a second. Am I just an old peacenik, ignoring reality? It seemed that way.

Then I’ve read another article that really gave me a lift. So I want to share it with you.
It was called GIVE PEACE A CHANCE which, naturally, attracted my attention immediately. It was an OpEd article in New York Times by John Tierney May 28th, 2005. It spoke of the fact that we were just facing a time of the end of the war, altogether. The logic was that “even if the war, such as the one in Iraq, was a pragmatic venture to keep oil flowing, not even the most ruthless accountant could justify the expense.” The American military costs in the Persian Gulf were much greater than the value of all the oil it was getting from the region, and now the United States is spending at least four times what the oil’s worth.

That was such a great news! I have been going around for sometime saying that unless Peace Industry became more viable than war industry, we would always have war, since war was invariablly motivated by possible economic gain. But now, what I thought was nearly impossible was actually happening! Peace industry was becoming more viable than war industry! Even an optimist like me, did not think that I would see that in my life time.

War in the old days was hit and run affair. You destroyed a weaker nation than yours, take everything that was valuable, and either colonize the country to further milk it, or just leave. Nowadays, you cannot do that. Because of the advancement of the media, in varying degrees people are aware of what you are doing. The whole world is watching you. So after you spend so much money on the war itself, you cannot take home anything that is not yours. More over, you have to help the country to reconstruct. What kind of deal is that?

On top of it, the whole world accuses you each time you kill a group of civilians and families. It’s different from the days when you could kill hundreds and thousands of civilians and families in one go, like in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and be considered justified.
People are getting wiser because they see. That’s what’s happening. That is what will save us from the impending doomsday. Simply by becoming wiser, and keeping a clear vision. That’s the power all of us people have. Politicians are humans, too. They don’t want to be too unpopular. Besides, they may lose significant amount of votes. So they become quickly intimidated when they feel the wise eyes of people all staring at them. On the other hand, they get strangely energized, when, confused and frightened, people scream at them in anger. That is because they feed on your attention and the strong energy you send them. They could even feel heroic about weathering the storm.

Countries, too, nowadays, must do things right so they don’t get criticized by the whole world. The world is watching. I wish the international court in Hague is more independent and strong. But even without Hague, when the light is shed on what is done, it is not easy to continue being unjust. The financial result of the Iraq War hopefully will discourage others from trying to solve future situations by war and violence. We are starting to understand that war does not pay, it only creates costly destruction to us all.

In the United States, some people are still thinking that this war in Iraq, like the first and the second world war, could eventually bring a lot of money to the United States – at least to its corporations. Well, all I can say is that it will be mighty difficult for one to put its hand in the pot when the whole world is looking at you. And this is not just about the United States. Every country is hoping to put their hands in the pot of oil. But this game will be over, too, when we find other sources of energy. Many brains are now trying to figure that one out.

True, our planet is in a pretty bad shape now because of human misjudgements. But the healing process is taking place now, starting with the awareness of the futility of war and violence. We can quicken the process of “healing” as well.
First, we have to recognize the incredible power of our minds. The other day, I was doing a fast walk in Central Park with a trainer. He kept saying “You’re thinking about something.” I’ve realized that whenever I was thinking, I was slowing down. Well, if my body can slow down because I’m thinking about something, how much effect does my mind have on my body? It’s a scary thought.

Our mind is a very strong instrument. One day, early this year, I went to a restaurant. When i finished eating, the woman who was at the next table just said quietly – “I was there at the bed-in in Montreal.” I looked at her, and she looked so young, I automatically said, “you must have been a baby then.” She told me how she and her friends as teen-agers heard that John and I were doing the bed-in in Montreal, and decided to drive up to see us. I actually remembered that there were a few high school students who came and wanted to see us. John and I told our assistant to let them in. They came and sat with us for a long time…probably they were there when we did the Give Peace A Chance. i didn’t ask her about that. Anyway, the woman told me that the experience of being at the bed-in changed her life. It was such a big thing for her, she didn’t even tell that story to her husband until they were together for a few years. The husband was smiling and nodding as she told this story to me.

The friend who was with me told me later, that he thought, also, she looked remarkably young. “But you know,” he said, “all my friends died of this illness and that, and I am still here and people tell me that I look remarkably young. Do you think it has something to do with the fact that people like that girl and I have been part of “the experience- you know, the magic of it.” “It’s possible.” I said. “Give Peace A Chance,” since then, has been sung all over the world. The fact that it was made then in that bedroom, may have exerted some special power.” My friend, by the way, was not there at the bed-in. But Give Peace A Chance and Imagine were like his mantra of life.
Believe in giving peace a chance. Believe in the power of imaging world peace.

When John passed away so suddenly, I was feeling very bad. Not only that, but I discovered that there were people who specialized in taking advantage of widows. Nobody thinks they will be a widow, and when you are, you are so shellshocked you don’t feel like speaking out about something like that. So these are things that are not spoken of so much in our world.

I was getting hit left and right. It was getting so heavy, I was worried that it would effect my health. So to release myself from the weight of it, I kept blessing the names that came to my mind, every night before I went to sleep. I would say bless jack, bless bill, bless peter like that. Whatever name that came up. Sometimes I would get a shock, and say to myself “I’m not going to bless that one, am I?!” But I kept going. I realized something very interesting. The name that came up more often than not were the names of people who were particularly not nice to me. The names of the worst enemies, so to speak. So I ended up blessing those people. Strange things started to happen. The enemies were still attacking me. But some of them were getting more interested in something else. Some of them started to have some difficulty in their own lives that made them focus their energies on those things more than on me. One group of people started to fight amongst themselves. One of them, in fact, came to me complaining about his gang of friends how unfair they were to him about his take and confessed to me what they were up to! I may have been just lucky, and the change of the situation may not have had to do with my nightly blessings. But, at least, it released me from the resentment and fear I held within me. I started to feel lighter. It helped me to move on and be active in health.

We must believe in the magic of our beings and what our minds can do. Our world is a reflection of our magical beings and our minds. Together, we are creating what we all want – heaven on earth – which is, actually, here already.

With stem cell research on its way, we know that very soon we will all have healthy bodies unless we block it with our stubborn minds.

We have to become even wiser, and we will. For an example: There is a saying that a glass is half empty or half full, depending on how you look at it. Well, we all know that one. But we cannot just say, okay so half full is how we should look at things. No. We have to go even further in our observation and realize that the glass is actually 100 percent full: 50 percent with water and 50 percent with air. Our minds have to become more sensitive than what it was in the past centuries and realize things in a deeper way – and they will. We will be aware of invisible threats and blessings: silent help and attacks we have not been aware of . Think of everything that comes to you as a blessing and everybody that comes to you as an angel. Then figure out why they are. By doing that, you will not miss the positive opportunity which is being presented to you.

So I say it again, let’s believe in the magic of our beings. We are still in our embryonic period. One day, very soon, we will see ourselves living peacefully and having fun without sickness or violence. One day, we will see ourselves travel to other planets as well. It will probably be as casual as going across the Atlantic.

Though, for myself, I think I’d rather stay at home! I love this planet and the culture and the civilization we built here in so many centuries. I would never be bored with my life on earth. There are so many more good times we can have. Let’s look forward to it, and not destroy our future, by holding on to our fear and confusion. That’s old hat now.

Power to us people. Let’s stay well and have lots of fun. Let’s keep dancing together. I love you!

yoko ono, NYC, June 12th ’05

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2008-10-24T13:36:58+00:00 June 15th, 2005|Written work|