December 2010, Week 2


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John Lennon - Inspiration to the World - The View From

* Tribute to John Lennon 30 Years after his Assassination
  (Granma Daily - December 9, 2010)
* Dear John, You Were Always Among Us (Speech by Ricardo
  Alarcon Quesada at the December 8, 2000 dedication of the
  statue of John Lennon in Havana)
* Imagine - Words and Music of John Lennon with lyrics


Tribute to John Lennon 30 Years after his Assassination

Granma Daily

December 9, 2010


GRANMA Daily. December 9, 2010. From the roof of the Central
Museum of Decorative Arts, Beatles fan musicians flooded the
dawn of this city with songs of the legendary band on the
30th anniversary of the assassination of John Lennon,
reports AIN.

Mostly fans, the eight performers at the concert raided the
English group's memorable discography with Let It Be and
Don't let me down, to close with Imagine, the theme created
by Lennon that has transcended to become a call for world

The idea of playing from a high point of the city was
inspired by the last live performance of the Beatles,
January 30, 1969 from the roof of the Apple label, in
London, said Wilfredo Rodriguez, one of those involved in
the tribute.

Guillermo Pérez, a specialist of the Provincial Heritage
Centre, told AIN that the first Saturday of each month, at
that institution, there is a meeting or Peña dedicated to
one of the most successful and acclaimed rock bands in the
history of popular music.

The gathering is attended by a public loyal to the musical
legacy of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and
Ringo Starr, in an area where the anthologies and less known
works of the group predominate, he said.

Every December 8th the group from the Peña de los Beatles
pays special tribute to Lennon, who was killed at the hands
of a fanatic in 1980 at the entrance to the Dakota building
in New York.


Dear John, You Were Always Among Us

Speech by Ricardo Alarcon Quesada,
president of the Cuban National Assembly

Translation by Cindy O'Hara


On December 8, 2000 a statue of John Lennon by Cuban
sculptor José  Villa was dedicated in a park in the Vedado
neighborhood of Havana.  The statute was unveiled by
President Fidel Castro Ruz and singer Silvio Rodriguez.

Compañeras y compañeros:

Here, in front of the excellent work of art of  José Villa,
we return to listen to what some said twenty years ago
today: "About this man you can believe anything except that
he is dead. "

Nostalgia does not bring us together.  We are not
inaugurating a monument to the past, nor a site to
commemorate something that disappeared.

This place will always be a testimonial to struggle, a
summoning to humanism. It will also be a permanent homage to
a generation that wanted to transform the world, and to the
rebellious spirit, innovative, of the artist who helped
forge that generation and at the same time is one of its
most authentic symbols.

The sixties were much more than a period in a century that
is ending.  Before anything else, they were a attitude
toward life, that profoundly affected the culture, the
society and politics, and crossed all borders.  Their
renewing impulse rose up, victorious, overwhelming the
decade, but it had been born before that time and has not
stopped even up to today.

To these years we turn our sights with the tenderness of
first love, with the loyalty that guards all combatants for
their earliest and most distant battle.  Some still
denigrate them, with obstinate antagonism, those who know
that to kill history they must first tear out its most
luminous and hopeful moment.

This is how it is, and has always been in favor of or
against "the sixties."

In that time old imperial colonies fell, people previously
ignored arose and their art, their literature, their ideas
started to penetrate the opulent nations.  The Third World
was born and tricontinental solidarity, and some discovered
that there, in the rich north, existed another Third World
that also awakened.

In the United States, a century after the Civil War, black
people fought for the right to be treated as persons and
with them marched many white students.  In Europe the young
people repudiated imperial violence and identified
themselves with the condemned of the earth.  Nobody spoke
yet of globalization but, for everyone, the Earth got
smaller, the whole world became closer.

Then, finally liberated, appeared Cuba, truly discovered in
1959 as an inseparable part, fully pledged to liberty, life
and truth.

Victory seemed immediate.  To obtain it, people strived
without rest.  In mountains and cities, with stones and
fists, with weapons snatched from the oppressors and also
with speeches, poems and songs.  They tried to assault the
sky, to conquer, in a single act, all justice, for the black
and the woman, for the worker and the poor, for the sick,
the ignorant, and the marginalized.  They believed they
could arrive at a horizon of peace between nations and
equality among men.

It was more than anything the rebellion of the youth. Before
their impetus fell dogmas and fetishes, they broke the molds
of pharisee and banality, they turned back the dull
mediocrity of an unjust and false society that reduces man
to merchandise and converts everything into false gold.

Years afterward, and affirming the continuity of the
movement, Lennon described it with these words:   "The
Sixties saw a revolution among the youth . . . a complete
revolution in the mode of thinking.  The young people took
it up first, and the following generation afterwards.  The
Beatles were a part of the revolution.  We were all in that
boat in the sixties.  Our generation -- a boat that went to
discover the New World.  And the Beatles were the lookouts
on that boat.  We were a part of it."

Tumultuous was the passage from that memorable concert in
1963 when Lennon asked the people who occupied the most
expensive theater seats to, instead of applauding,  just
rattle their jewels, to six Novembers later when he returned
the Order of the British Empire in protest of the aggression
in Vietnam and the colonialist intervention in Africa.  The
refusal to perform before an exclusively white public in
Florida, in 1966; the refusal to perform in the South Africa
of apartheid; the denunciation of racism in the United
States when he arrived there to participate in concerts that
had been boycotted by the Ku Klux Klan; the calls for peace
in the Middle East; the support for young people who
deserted the Yankee aggressor army and the constant support
to the Vietnamese resistance and the struggle of the Irish
people; the incessant search for new forms of expression,
without ever abandoning the roots and authentic language of
the people; the repudiation of the bourgeois system, its
codes and merchandizing mechanisms; the creation of a
corporation to combat them and defend artistic liberty, an
entity to which was attributed, even, a certain communist

The personal contribution of John Lennon stood out
singularly and endured beyond the dissolution of the group.
His songs form the most complete inventory of the collective
struggle of the young people for peace, revolution, popular
power, the emancipation of the working class and of women,
the rights of indigenous peoples and racial equality as well
as the liberation of Angela Davis and John Sinclair and
other political prisoners, the denunciation of the massacre
at Attica and the situation in North American prisons, in an
interminable list.  Beyond the music, in interviews and
public statements, he openly expressed his identification
with the socialist ideal.

Lennon was the object of intense and obstinate persecution
by the Yankee authorities.  The FBI, the CIA and the
Immigration Service, instigated directly by Richard Nixon,
the trickiest tenant the White House has ever had, spied on
him and harassed him and strived to expel him from the
United States. In spite of what their laws say and the
countless measures carried out during a quarter of a
century, these agencies still

maintain in secret the documents proving the tenacious
harassment they unleashed against him. The little that they
have revealed shows that in just one year, between 1971 and
1972, the secret informants of their spies accumulated 300
pages and a file that weighs 26 pounds.  With no other
weapons than his talent and the solidarity of lots of North
Americans, he was forced to confront for several years the
powerful Empire led by the most sordid and arrogant
political machine.   This chapter will remain in history as
an example of moral force and the force of ideas, and from
it Lennon emerged as a paradigm of the entirely free and
creative intellectual, precisely engaged with his time.

Dear John.

It was more that a few who said, twenty years ago, that the
8th of December was the end of an era.   Many feared it
among the millions who offered you ten minutes of silence
and the multitude that on the 14th congregated in Central
Park in New York to express a pain that time does not

It was Yoko who then advised: "the message should not end."
And little Sean, knew how to express the greater truth: He
imagined you bigger, after death, "because now you are

You were always among us.  Now, in addition, we offer you
this bench where you can rest and this park to receive your
compañeros and friends.

Your message could not disappear because love had, and still
has, many battles to fight.  Because you had the privilege
to hear it in millions of voices that became yours and
continued raising it up like a hymn.

Wasn't it a yellow submarine that surfaced that afternoon in
1966 in the port of New York and marched at the front of
thousands of young people who condemned the war? How many
hundreds of thousands demanded that peace be given a chance,
and were in solidarity with the people of Vietnam, there in
Washington, in front of the monument, that unforgettable
November 15th in 1969?  On that day, didn't your art reach
its highest realization?  How many times did it not multiply
from Berkeley to New England and from one continent to
another, that generation that believed that love could
prevail over war?  John, I am sure that you remember the
martyrs of Kent State University who wanted to follow you,
to also be working class heroes.  It is known that it was
your verses that were their only shield in front of the
bullets of Nixon.

There were more, many more, that met to celebrate the
twentieth anniversary of Imagine, in 1991, when others said
that the story had already ended.  Some believe that you
appeared in a window of the Dakota.  All of us, you too,
were happy.  We saw, astonished, the faces of old comrades,
confounded to be among countless young people who had not
even been born when you, over there in Liverpool, intoned
ballads of love with proletarian words and we here defied
the monster.

Our boat will continue sailing.  Nothing will stop it.  It
is driven  by "a wind that never dies."   They will call us
dreamers but our ranks will grow.  We will defend the
vanquished dream and struggle to make real all dreams.
Neither storms nor pirates will hold us back.  We will sail
on until we reach the new world that we will know how to

We will meet again, tonight, at the concert.  We will go on
together, always.

Text (c) 2000 Ricardo Alarcon
Photos (c) 2000 Ken Epstein


Imagine - words and music by John Lennon

A Tribute from Havana to John Lennon and the Sixties

	Imagine there's no Heaven
	It's easy if you try
	No hell below us
	Above us only sky
	Imagine all the people
	Living for today

	Imagine there's no countries
	It isn't hard to do
	Nothing to kill or die for
	And no religion too
	Imagine all the people
	Living life in peace

	You may say that I'm a dreamer
	But I'm not the only one
	I hope someday you'll join us
	And the world will be as one

	Imagine no possessions
	I wonder if you can
	No need for greed or hunger
	A brotherhood of man
	Imagine all the people
	Sharing all the world

	You may say that I'm a dreamer
	But I'm not the only one
	I hope someday you'll join us
	And the world will live as one 




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