Saturday, December 15, 2012

Yoko Ono gets Germany's Peace Prize and finally is publicly released from the lie that she broke up the Beatles

photograph of Yoko Ono is from here
There's been a fair amount of news of late about conceptual, musical, performance, and visual artist, Yoko Ono. As you may well know, she's also an environmental, human rights, and peace activist. Recognition and appreciation of a range of her work is happening, as it has on and off over the decades. Yes, much of it, especially her work in avant-garde movements during the 1950s and 1960s, was eclipsed and overshadowed for a time due to her relationship with Beatle John Lennon. And then came the association of her name with the break-up of the Beatles.

The inaccurate association has always been a deeply misogynist and racist one, primarily put forth by white men who love to hate on women and blame them for whatever hurt and pain happens in men's lives. (The assumption that any woman and man sharing power in an egalitarian, non-patriarchal relationship means she must be controlling and dominating him are flat-out misogynistic.)

As all four Beatles have said over the years, the lads from Liverpool were breaking up for a while, starting as early as 1966, due to many factors including growing apart after being so close since their teen years (with John, Paul, and George) and early twenties (with Ringo). But there were also differing levels of interest in drugs and spirituality, financial and business problems particularly since the death of manager Brian Epstein, and assorted musical and legal battles. But Paul McCartney finally came forth recently with this statement in interview with David Frost. (See *here* for more.)
"She certainly didn't break the group up, the group was breaking up," he says, which may do something to dispel decades of hostility directed at Lennon's widow by diehard fans since the group disbanded officially in 1970.
He goes further and says that without Ono opening up the avant garde for Lennon, songs such as Imagine would never have been written: "I don't think he would have done that without Yoko, so I don't think you can blame her for anything. When Yoko came along, part of her attraction was her avant garde side, her view of things, so she showed him another way to be, which was very attractive to him. So it was time for John to leave, he was definitely going to leave [one way or another]."
So now that that's out of the way, let's get back to focusing on Yoko Ono's work.

She and her son, musician Sean Ono Lennon, are speaking out against "fracking" or the process of forcefully injecting toxic chemicals into the earth's rocky crust to fracture it and release oil. It poisons earth and water and also has caused earthquakes in areas that never had them before. Big Oil wants to pretend it's all nice and safe and good for us (them). For more on that, see *here*.

The most recent news is this. It is of note for many reasons. One of them being that the most recent Nobel Peace Prize went to the EU, which does many things but promoting peace isn't among them. For more on how the prize going to the EU disrespects the will and work of Nobel himself, see *here*.

Someone who does promote peace and has done so for over forty years, is Yoko Ono.

Congratulations to you, Ms. Ono, for getting and deserving this latest award.

(You may click on the title below to link back.)

Yoko Ono picks up human rights prize in Berlin

Yoko Ono on Friday accepted a German human rights prize for peace activism with her late husband, Beatle John Lennon, as well as her more recent work championing equality for women and gays [and lesbians].

Ono, who will turn 80 in February, picked up the Rainer Hildebrandt Medal at Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie Museum next to the former Cold War border crossing.

Wearing a black top hat and trouser suit, she gave a two-fingered peace sign as she thanked the jury.
"I'm very honoured to get this award and I will consider this award as an encouragement to do more work in humanitarian causes," she said.

Hildebrandt, who died in 2004, founded the museum to document daring attempts by East Germans living under communism to escape over the Berlin Wall and in protest against the regime's shoot-to-kill policies.

His widow Alexandra handed Ono the prize, which was selected by a jury she said included German President Joachim Gauck, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and former German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher.

"Since the early days of her career, and in addition to her music and conceptual art, Yoko Ono has always drawn attention for her political statements and her fight for peace and human rights," the jury said.

"She is a great proponent of gender equality, and is committed to world peace and the recognition of same-sex partnerships."

Previous winners include jailed Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky and assassinated Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

The Tokyo-born artist -- raised in both Japan and the United States in a well-off family of bankers -- became a global icon when she married the rocker from Liverpool.

Since her Montreal honeymoon with Lennon, during which the couple called for peace from their marital bed, Ono has used her celebrity to raise awareness for causes.

In 2002, she launched the "LennonOno" grant for peace in Iceland, given every two years.

In honour of Ono's 80th birthday, the Schirn Kunsthalle in the western German city of Frankfurt will present a retrospective of her work from February.