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Radio Interview on New START, and It Was Thirty Years Ago Today – Remembering John Lennon

–Kevin Martin, Executive Director

While far from a certainty, there is reason for cautious optimism that the U.S. Senate will vote on New START ratification next week. This modest but important treaty would cut deployed, strategic nuclear warheads in the U.S. and Russia by about 30%, to 1,550 each. I was interviewed today on the Worldview program with host Jerome McDonnell on Chicago Public Radio WBEZ-FM. The first segment is on North Korea, and the snippets I heard sounded pretty good. My segment begins 23:30 into the program.

And now for something completely different:

I still remember where I was when I heard John Lennon had been shot (I was a freshman in college, doing laundry on a Monday night, and when I heard the news, it was too terrible to believe at first). His light has not dimmed one bit over three decades and I suspect it never will. Few people ever spread the message of peace and love as effectively as he. I have so many favorite Beatles and Lennon songs and albums I could write a long piece on that but I’ll mention just a few touchstones.

If you haven’t seen it, one of his best live performances was captured for the terrific movie The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, a raucus live concert in London in 1968 filmed for the BBC (but released only a few years ago) featuring the Stones, The Who, Mariann Faithfull, Taj Mahal, Jethro Tull and the Dirty Mac, Lennon’s pick up band with Eric Clapton on guitar, Keith Richards on bass, and Mitch Mitchell (of the Jimi Hendrix Experience) on drums backing John on guitar and vocals. Smokin’ is the only word to describe their performance.

Two lyrics of Lennon’s I think about all the time:

From Instant Karma, “Why in the world are we here? Surely not to live in pain and fear.” How liberating this simple phrase is, if we take seriously the challenge to eliminate or transcend the trap of pain and fear in the world, as we must.

And of course, “All We Are Saying, Is Give Peace a Chance.”

It’s about time we did, yes?

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