Thursday, May 19, 2016


Let me say right off the bat that for a peacenik anti-war bleeding heart liberal kind of guy like myself, terrorist groups like ISIS can sometimes make it seem difficult to reconcile pacifistic, hippyish political sensibilities. Oy vey! Maybe some of you out there can relate to what I'm talking about. Beginning at about the tender age of five I felt strongly that war made no sense and should be avoided at all costs. At age seven I actually wrote a letter to President Nixon telling him that I felt the war in Vietnam was wrong. I even included a hand-drawn picture of tombstones! No Kidding. Ask my mom! Kind of intense for a seven year old twerp, I know! She still gets a kick out of it today! She was very proud I might add. When I was a kid the Vietnam war was raging in Southeast Asia and finally officially ending when I was in junior high school in 1975. That war not only scared the bejesus out of me but it also shaped my anti-war views.

These days the political landscape and U.S. foreign policy issues can seem so complicated. Lets take terrorism for example. ISIS is one scary group. One issue I have grappled with personally as a peacenik type is this: How does the United States as well as the world deal with the threat of groups like ISIS without using military intervention? I do realize that the rise of ISIS can be blamed in many ways on miss guided U.S. foreign policy such as the invasion of Iraq and the dismantling of their army. Still, it is tricky.

A couple years ago for the first time in my life I began thinking that, well, maybe U.S. military force along with a coalition is the only way to deal with a threat as big as ISIS. At the same time this attitude goes directly against my long held pacifistic view that war is NEVER the answer. I mean I refused to register for the draft back in 1981,  and also organized two anti draft registration rallies at Grand Valley State in the early eighties. That's hardcore! Still, this issue of war on terrorism had me in recent years conflicted. I have never wavered in my belief that invading or bombing another country is wrong but terrorism is such a different ball game.

But wait a darn minute! Alas, I have to go back and stick with my old long held anti-war and peacenik views. No matter how challenging it can be with ISIS and terrorism out there I feel more comfortable with myself when I stay true to my life long view that war is wrong and only leads to more hatred and war. Its a vicious cycle that will continue until we humans realize that indeed war is never the answer, it just leads to more war.

This brings me to John Lennon. In 1973 John Lennon released an album called Mind Games. Its a beautiful record. Upon buying the album as a kid in the recent aftermath of the war in Vietnam in 1975, I'll never forget reaching into the album and pulling out the record sleeve. In that sleeve that was tucked into every Mind Games album in the seventies was the announcement and written declaration of a new conceptual nation that Lennon conceived and wanted to advertise to the world. That nation was called NUTOPIUA. Here is the declaration of Nutopia by John Lennon, 1973.

We announce the birth of a conceptual country, NUTOPIA.

Citizenship of the country can be obtained by declaration of your awareness of NUTOPIA.

NUTOPIA has no land, no boundaries, no passports, only people.

NUTOPIA has no laws other than cosmic.

All people of NUTOPIA are ambassadors of the country.

As two ambassadors of NUTOPIA, we ask for diplomatic immunity and recognition in the United Nations of our country and its people.

John and Yoko Ono Lennon.

I happened to come across this record sleeve declaration a few days ago while I was re-organizing my old record album collection. I realize how dated this declaration sounds to many people. But I'll tell you what, in light of all the crap going on today, from Donald Trumps hate fueled bigoted and divisive speeches, to the hatred spewed forth from ISIS, and all the rest of the hate mongering going on in the country today, coming across this beautiful visionary declaration in my old Lennon album was pretty damn refreshing. In fact, I found it sadly poignant in light of all of the negativity and divisive rhetoric in the country today.

Often times things that seem out-dated are more relevant than ever. Such is the case with John Lennon's visionary declaration of a new country without borders called NUTOPIA. In this crazy world of ours how can anyone disagree.

From now on when someone asks me my views on the war on ISIS and or terrorism I will make a peace sign with my hand, or is it fingers? Oh, whatever. I'll wave the peace sign up in the air, and say higher!

Jeff Brown
Editor in Chief/Publisher
Purple Walrus Press

Mind Games album inner sleeve containing  declaration of Nutopia. Copyright Purple Walrus Press

John Lennon Mind Games album. Copyright Purple Walrus Press

1 comment:

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