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Closing Olympic ceremony: Seems rather daft to have a song asking us to “Imagine there are no countries” when 200+countries are all waving their flags.
I wrote this about John Lennon’s imagine a couple of years ago:
“The music of the Beatles and the work of Lennon as a solo-artist were a back drop to my youth. The songs Give Peace a Chance and Imagine were anthems in my search for a more peaceful and tolerant world.
Yet in recent years I have grown increasingly uncomfortable with the lyrics of Imagine. I still love the song. The melody itself evokes positive memories and emotions within me, however I can’t accept many of the lyrics any more.
Essentially it’s a peace anthem, encouraging us all to get along. The problem for me however, is that to get along we have to abandon any identity which might annoy the person next to us. Lennon wanted us to do away with countries, bin religion, give away our possessions. Only then could we all be friends.
But I love my country, my religion is not for binning, and whilst I try to lead a simple life I have possessions and I am not going to give them up and become a hermit.
I think that this is probably the same for most of us.
So, if Lennon’s Imaginary way to get along is to give up every personal identity there will be problems.
There will always be something to fight for unless we change the fundamental way we look at the world. We’d have to imagine a world where there’s no football (I know that’s pretty hard to do); no different accents to make us stand out, and no fashion too. Surely there has to be a better way for us all to co-exist than by creating a bland homogenous mass of humanity devoid of difference.
I rather favour the Qur’anic approach where God says to us, “I created you into nations and races so that you may know one another not so that you may hate one another.”
The world is such that we are all different. We come from different countries. We like different food. We speak many different languages. We try and connect with God in different ways. Yet we are all human beings and we all want to be treated with respect, dignity and kindness.
I’m imagining a world where we’re all different but we respect each other’s differences, where there is a lot to fight over but we choose to work through our difficulties, where there is human frailty, but we find the strength in our mutual humanity to strive to live together.
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.”