#war is over
by Dorothea Engel
Make love not war. War is over! First, lay back. Take your time. Close your eyes. Listen to the song. ->
In this time and context people get curious and doubtful when they hear the phrase ‘war is over’. What does it exactly mean? Which kind of war is specifically meant? You can think about these words in a political, social and personal way. From a social perspective the ‘war is over’-thought first became significant in the 1960’s with the Hippie movement. The Vietnam War was in the headlines and on Television, faced with the reality of war. Many people couldn’t handle the horror anymore. Too much fighting, violence and death occurred between 1946 until 1975. A group of people wanted to live their life in freedom, peace and happiness. Some bodies are representing this kind of development very well.
John Lennon (member of the Beatles) and his wife Yoko Ono were representative of this social movement. They decided together to live in a peaceful way whilst spreading the message of harmony. In 1974 they wrote the song ‘war is over, if you want’. A Christmas song which leaned on the movement of the 60’s and their own interests and became popular all over the world:
Yoko Ono even opened an Art gallery with the same topic ‘war is over, if you want’ in 2013 in Sydney, Australia. She never lost her passion in this philosophy and is trying to spread it with art. Have a look here: ->
Nevertheless it is hard to take ‘war is over’ as a serious statement in the 21st century. Often it is said in an ironically way that has nothing to do with the ongoing issues. Because it is an ever-present condition of the 21st century life. A fact that we alerted to when you open the daily new in whatever form. The announcements present ‘war’ in its various forms. In almost every category of the media are discussions and reports occur about conflicts on a global and also at a local level. For instance you could have read an article in a German magazine in the last month in the international section about the Civil War in Syria or the Oil War between Russia, US and the OPEC States in the economic part of the magazine. The unit about gossip is overloaded with divorces, relationship wars and friendship fights that are escalating. Even the (printed) media is publishing a lot of ‘war-scenes’ in different contexts from all over the world.
Today’s society appears to be fraught with violence, bad arguments and conflict in nearly every situation. You can say that there is an overload of bad messages but because we are hearing of them every day you get used to the distress and become desensitized so that it no longer confronts you in a personal way.
Also new kinds of war have developed that are particular to the 21st century like the technical or digital wars. Who has the latest technical device? It is not ‘cool’ to have just a mobile phone. What you need is a smartphone with internet access and a variety of social networks like Facebook, Twitter or Whatsapp that connects you with your friends as well as with the rest of the world. The so called digital natives are more or less forced to have such devices that keeps in contact and up-to-date. It is actually a lot of pressure and can cause social suffering made through such a simple device. We should also concern the impact of technology within the politics and international relations. Maybe you remember the spying-actions of the NSA or the development of drones that are becoming more and more important in terms of politic affairs.
Anyway the lifestyle of love and peace of the 60’s was playing a relevant part through the years until today, the 21st century!
One appearance is the fashion brand ‘W.I.O.’ short for ‘war is over’ that is mostly represented by the new kind of social group within western societies called hipsters. The first idea was to reuse military clothes and give them ‘another reason to be worn’. Not in the war but in daily life. From 2012 on the slogan ‘W.I.O’ was printed on camouflage shirts, bags and tops and got more and more popular. Today it’s an integrated brand with a lot of followers. The brand isn’t a random name. It tries to tell a story to the costumers with a reflected message that has to be spread to as many people as possible. ‘War is over’ in regard of the designers has to be a goal for this and centuries!
The new lifestyle ‘war is over’ isn’t just illustrated through fashion. Clearing up about war it is the first step of confronting the keyword. Choosing a way of living like the so called alternative way is another move towards acknowledging the current situations and try to live in a different way.
‘War is over’ isn’t an easy phrase and needs to be unpacked with reference to its social and historical development. But close your eyes and try to imagine how it would be without war.
It’s your choice to judge about ‘war is over’. How much have things changed for the better? Is this a more peaceful world and which war is finally over? Think about it, take some notes, talk about it and enjoy the 21th century.
1. The official website of the fashion brand W.I.O. gives you a good insight of what they’re doing and their collection.
2. What a wonderful world. When I heard the video I thought about the perfection of the world. That also means ‘war is over’.
3. This article is a good example that people get satisfied with words but in reality war is still going on.
4. Here you can see the current wars in a global context and also get some information about them.