IRSHAD SALIM — Neither wars (under different pretexts) nor peace through the UN or bilateral, trilateral, quadrilateral agreements have succeeded to bring us all together over the decades, and COVID-19 pandemic did it in less than number of weeks it takes for an oil tanker to cross the Strait of Malacca from the Strait of Hormuz. The virus has gone viral just as videoclips go viral on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok, etc., etc.
Imagine we’ll be back with overspending, road trips, camping, malls, concerts, movies, sporting events, etc. — and not to mention “war on terror”. Instead, we have now “bio”, “conspiracy theories”, “Chinese flu”, “social distancing”, “depopulation”, “bat”, “global governance” “5G” and few more getting embedded in our predictive memory.
Decades back John Lennon’s song “Imagine” rings a nostalgic bell. His songs were adopted as anthems by the anti-war movement and the larger counterculture — which started with his 1967’s “All You Need Is Love” song.
It was an antithesis to institutional narratives of the time.
He became controversial through his political and peace activism, and moved to New York City in 1971. His criticism of the Vietnam War resulted in a three-year attempt by the Nixon administration to deport him.
In 1975, Lennon disengaged from the music business to raise his infant son with wife Yoko Ono. He was shot and killed in the archway of his Manhattan apartment building by a Beatles fan in December 1980. He was 40.
The British singer, songwriter and peace activist back in 1971 (during the Vietnam War) “imagined one world” — and almost a decade later he walked away into sunset but left sunshines of hope, peace, one world for “imagination”. He was a dreamer.
When Lennon sang that song, billionaire Bill Gates was only 15 +/- (born in 1955). Trump is 6 years younger than Lennon (born in 1946). Xi was born in 1953, and two years older than Gates.
Lennon might or might not have survived the pandemic that hit New York weeks back. He would have been 80 now. His ashes were scattered in Central Park, in sight of his and his wife Ono’s New York apartment.
11,544 people (of all nationalities) have died in New York due to the virus, latest count shows. Today, the world is just one, as Lennon had imagined but for surreal reasons. Everybody all over the world living the same dream together, as he had dreamed. Imagine, not in peace but out of fear. That he hadn’t imagine. He imagined “no countries”. The virus galloped “sovereignty” and “territorial integrity”.