Peace activist Yoko Ono in Vienna
Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 1964.
Performed on September 15, 2003 at Theatre Le Ranelagh, Paris, France.
Photo: Ken McKay, © Yoko Ono
100 years ago, Bertha von Suttner published the essay entitled “The barbarisation of the air“, a year after the first bomb thrown from an Italian military aircraft in Libya. Soon it will be 75 years ago that the ancient Basque town of Gernika was destroyed from the air (26 April 1937).
Vienna – Kokoschka Prize 2012
On Thursday 1 March, at 7 pm, Yoko Ono will receive in the Vienna Gartenbaukino the Oskar Kokoschka Prize. The laudatio for Yoko Ono will be held by Vienna’s world-class artist Valie Export.
The award of the Kokoschka Prize, the jury:
the overall artistic work and the dedicated socio-political positioning of Yoko Ono
was the statement by the committee chairman Gerald Bast.
Yoko Ono was born on 18 February 1933 in Tokyo. 100 years of “barbarisation of the air” and the fight against it links the peace activists Ono and Suttner.
On 7 July 1937, „after the Japanese army had forcibly gained access to the Chinese garrison town of Wanping southwest of Beijing,“ the conflict escalated with China. After the attack of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Forces on 8 December 1941 on the naval base at Pearl Harbour the U.S. entered the war and the conflict became World War II. The first US-air strike on Tokyo took place in April 1942. Yoko lived there and was nine years old.
The „firebombing 1945“ was staged as part of the U.S. air attacks on Japan in retaliation for Pearl Harbour. 330 incendiary bombs U.S. (B-29s) were dropped in an attack on Tokyo. About 50% of Tokyo was destroyed at the end of World War II.
• The „firebombing“ of Tokyo on the night of 9 March, 1945 was the deadliest air raid of World War II.
• There were more civilian deaths than after the attacks on Dresden, Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
• The „firebombing“ created a planned firestorm. It immediately caused more than 100,000 deaths.
• A quarter of the city burned.
• Overnight, Tokyo had a million homeless.
Yoko Ono was 12 years old when Tokyo was destroyed. These bombings as well as the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 influenced her life and her work as an artist.
Yoko Ono in 2002 created the „Lennon Ono Peace Award“ and the Peace Tower in Iceland (the most peaceful country in the world – see the story on the Global Peace-Index 2011). She herself has set several performances for peace to work.
For example in Vienna
• The performance at the Hotel Sacher in spring 1969. Ono was then for the first time in Vienna. She stayed with John Lennon at the Hotel Sacher, ate in bed Sacher Torte „Chocolate Cake“. The performance was mentioned in the song „The Ballad of John and Yoko“, immortalized by the Beatles. John Lennon and Yoko Ono argued before the world media for „Peace.“ More than three decades after Lennon’s death (1980), the respected artist, filmmaker, songwriter and peace activist returns to Vienna.
Other peace activities of Yoko Ono
• In 1995 she recorded together with Paul McCartney on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. It was followed by several tours and the composition of two musicals: Hiroshima and New York rock.
• On 9 October 2002 Yoko Ono created the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace, a peace prize.
• In 2004, Ono made a new version of “Give Peace a Chance” with different lyrics from the original text.
• On 10 February 2006, she appeared at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in Turin and conveyed a message of peace to the world public. A few days later she gave a birthday concert (with Sean Lennon, among other things) in Paris on 18 February 2006 at the Théâtre du Châtelet was sold out, like many previous appearances in numerous European cities.
• In 2005, she engaged for the human rights organization Amnesty International
• Her official Homepage: www.imaginepeace.com