“I read the news today, oh boy . . .” (A Day In the Life, Lennon and McCartney)
The news this week is heartbreaking, incomprehensible, and ugly. Why is the human race so quick to choose fear and anger over love and tolerance?
Amid all of the rainbow pride flags being flown in solidarity and pasted across Facebook homepages, I wanted to offer up this traveler’s “peace flag”–a photo of the Lennon Wall (sometimes called the Peace Wall) in Prague.
The wall began after John Lennon’s death in 1980. His picture appeared on the wall, with anti-communist slogans (remember, this was during the communist regime). The wall was painted over, but the paintings of Lennon, along with graffiti about Lennon and Beatles lyrics, kept reappearing. It was an act of defiance against the corrupt and oppressive government.
During the 80’s, student protesters who called their movement “Lennonism” (ironic and clever!) often clashed with police in the area. Whenever the wall was repainted, the graffiti just came back.
The communist regime is long gone, but the wall still stands and continues to draw crowds and artists. It has been painted over many times, by whitewash and by years of artists leaving their messages, and it’s even been reconstructed as it crumbled. Unlike the Berlin Wall, which crumbled with the demise of communism, this wall stood for peace and watched communism fall in the (non-violent) 1989 “Velvet Revolution” in the former Czechoslovakia.
This week it stands and speaks to all of us with its rainbow of colors and its haunting refrains of “Give Peace a Chance.”
*The Lennon Wall is nearby the Charles Bridge and the French Embassy.