Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bertha von Suttner

Known as "Peace Bertha", she inspired Dr. Alfred Nobel to include "Peace" among his famed prizes. She was also the first female winner of the Nobel Peace Prize - in 1905.



Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) - June 17, 1912

Baroness Bertha von Suttner, a charming and talented member of the Viennese aristocracy, is expected here shortly to attend the conclave of women club members that is to be held in San Francisco. The baroness will spend several days at the Hacienda Del Ulzo de Verona as the guest of Mrs. Hearst.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) - June 28, 1912


One of the interesting features of the day was a lecture at the Century club before many hundred women, by the Baroness Bertha von Suttner, famed as the European "Apostle of Peace". Descended from a princely house that included field marshals and four generals in the army of Austria-Hungary, his noblewoman yesterday preached disarmament as the only practical method of abolishing what she termed "systematic massacre"

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) - July 2, 1912


BERKELEY, July 2 - Baroness Bertha von Suttner, noted advocate of world peace, will speak at Hearst Hall tomorrow evening on her favorite subject, instead of in the afternoon as previously announced. She was a visitor to Berkeley this afternoon with the delegates of the women's club convention. She is to be entertained here this evening by Mrs. John S. Swift at the latter's home on Benvenue avenue. At her address tomorrow evening she will be introduced by Dean D. H. Rieber of the University of California summer session.

Oakland, California (Oakland, California) - December 14, 1912


NEW YORK, Dec. 14 - The Baroness Bertha von Suttner of Vienna was the guest of honor at a luncheon given yesterday afternoon in Sherry's, Fifth avenue and Forty-fourth street, by Mrs. Elmer Black, chairman of the American Peace and Arbitration League. Mrs. John A. Dix, wife of the governor, who was expected to extend a welcome to the baroness on behalf of the women of New York state, was unable to attend. Letters containing expressions of gratitude for work done by Mrs. W. H. Taft, Mrs. William Sulzer, Mrs. Russell Sage, Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, Mrs. James Borden Harriman, Mrs. James Bryce, wife of the British Ambassador, and Mrs. John Hays Hammond.

The Washington Post (Washington, DC) - June 15, 1913

Baroness Bertha Von Suttner, known as "Peace Bertha" is the recipient of worldwide congratulations on attaining her seventieth birthday.

The Washington Post (Washington, DC) - June 22, 1914

Baroness Bertha Von Suttner Had Won Nobel Prize
Member of the Carnegie Foundation Advisory Council Had Devoted Most of Her Life to Her Campaign Against War - Editor of International Magazine - Field Marshal's Daughter.

Vienna, June 21 - Baroness Bertha von Suttner, the Austrian writer who had devoted most of her life to the cause of peace, and to whom was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1905, died today. Baroness von Suttner had been ill three weeks. She was undergoing a cure for obesity, which her constitution proved unable to bear. She left instructions that her body by cremated at Gotha, without religious ceremony, speeches, or flowers, her ashes to be deposited in a columbarium there.

Fiance Killer in Battle

Born in 1843, the daughter of Field Marshall Count Franz von Kinsky, the baroness became noted as the editor of Die Waffenn Nieder (Lay Down Your Arms), the magazine of the international peace bureau in Berne, which was named after a novel written by her in 1889, designed to spread the idea of peace throughout Germany and Austria.

When the girl Baroness von Suttner was betrothed to Prince Adolf Wittgenstein, but he was killed in battle. In 1876 she was married to Baron Gundecar von Suttner, who died in 1902. In 1912 Baroness Suttner spent six months in the United States, where she delivered a series of lectures to promote the cause of peace

Member of Carnegie Council

The baroness was at one time secretary to Dr. Alfred B. Nobel, who established the Nobel foundation, and as a champion of the "Brotherhood of Nations" is said to have been the inspiration that prompted him to offer his peace prize. She was a member of the advisory council of the Carnegie Peace Foundation.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Yoko Ono (born 1933)

Yoko Ono was born in Tokyo, Japan on February 18 1933. Her father was Eisuke Ono, a banker and a descendant of a 9th century Japanese Emperor through his maternal grandfather, Atsushi Saisho. Her mother was Isoko Yasuda Ono, daughter of Zenjiro Yasuda. Mr. Yasuda, founder of the famous Yasuda banking family, was born in Toyama on November 25, 1838 to a poor samuri. He moved to Edo as a young man and learned money exchange. After the Meiji Restoration, he continues his work with Meiji government and benefited from the delay in the exchange of money which eventually led to his ability to open the Yasuda bank. He was assassinated September 28, 1921.

A few weeks before Yoko was born, her father was transferred to an office in San Francisco, California. The family stayed behind and didn't join him until 1935. This was the first time Yoko came to the United States and the first time she met her father. She would later recall seeing films of her and her father walking on the streets of San Franciso - a young man that didn't seem very happy to meet his daughter, and a little girl dancing like Shirley Temple, happy to see America. She would also recall seeing the beauty of the Golden Gate bridge during this time. In 1937 the family was back in Tokyo and Yoko was enrolled at the Gakushuin, the Imperial school which only accepted members of the Imperial family and some children of very wealthy Japanese. The family moved back to New York City briefly in 1940 when her father was transfered to a Manhattan office. They moved back in 1941, just as the war began, her father was transferred to Hanoi and the family relocated again to Tokyo. Yoko stayed in Tokyo through the great fire-bombing of March 9, 1945 - the family was undercover in Azabu. Though much of Azabu was destroyed in the bombings, the family was safe and went to a Karuizawa mountain resort, where the younger members of the Imperial family were also sent. Her mother had to barter their belongings for food.

Zenjiro Yasuda (1838-1921)

After the war, Yoko was re-enrolled into the Gakushuin, which, being located next to the Imperial palace, had not been destroyed. She graduated in 1951 and was accepted into the philosophy program at Gakushuin University, the first woman ever to be accepted into that department. After two semesters she left the school to be with her family, who had relocated to Scarsdale, New York. She enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College and began to find friendships in artists, poets and other Bohemians.

She first married Toshi Ichiyanagi, an avant-garde composer, in 1956. But the marriage did go well and they were long separated when they divorced in 1962. She remarried to artists Anthony Cox. The marriage was tumultuous one. They married November 20, 1962 and it was annulled on March 1. Then the couple remarried on June 6 and seemed to be happy the second time around. Their dauhgter, Kyoko Chan Cox, was born August 8, 1963. After Yoko met John Lennon at an art showing, the marriage began to fall apart and the couple divorced in 1969. In 1971, after Anthony joined a new religious organization, he took Kyoko and vanished. In 1998 Kyoko, now an adult, reconnected with her mother.

In 1964 she performed her "Cut Piece" for the first time at the Sogetsu Art Center in Tokyo, Japan. She would also perform the piece in London and at the Carnegie Recital Hall on March 21, 1965. In the piece, Yoko wears a dress of several layers and the audience is asked to go cut off a piece of her dress one at a time until there was nothing left. The difference in the audience was noticed - in Japan they were hesitant and peaceful while in London they were roudy to the point that security had to protect her from being harmed. The piece was a commentary on the need for social unity and love. The audience had to perform this together with Yoko, and should have done so respectfully.

"Cut Piece" - Carnegie Recital Hall - March 21, 1965

Yoko met John Lennon at one of her art showing in London on November 9, 1966. They were later married March 20, 1969 in Gibraltar, though they had been living together long before that. It was probably shortly after their marriage that they began their "Peace Campaign" which lasted through the Christmas of 1969. They cut all their hair and donated it for peace money and put up billboards in 11 major cities around the world (and a full page New York Times Add) asking for peace.

Their son, Sean, was born on October 9, 1975. John left music to take care of his son which he did until shortly before his murder in December 1980. He was shot on a street in New York, Yoko was with him.

Ono performed at the opening ceremony for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, wearing white, like many of the others who performed during the ceremony, to symbolize the snow that makes the Winter Olympics possible. She read a free verse poem from a prepared script calling for peace in the world. The poem was an intro to a performance of the song "Imagine", Lennon's anthem to world peace.

On October 9, 2007 dedicated the new memorial called the Imagine Peace Tower located 1km outside the Skarfabakki harbor in Rekjavik, Iceland. Every year from October 9 to December 8 it projects a vertical beam of light high into the sky.

Yoko returned to Liverpool for the 2008 Liverpool Biennial, where she unveiled "Sky Ladders" in the ruins of Church of St Luke, Liverpool - which was largely destroyed during World War II and now stands roofless as a memorial to those killed in the Liverpool Blitz.

In May 2009 Yoko designed a T-shirt for the second 'Fashion against AIDS'campaign/collection of HIV/AIDS awareness NGO Designers against AIDS and H&M, with the statement 'Imagine Peace' depicted in 21 different languages.

On March 31, 2009, Yoko Ono went to the inauguration of the exhibition: "Imagine: The Peace Ballad of John & Yoko" to mark the 40th anniversary of Lennon-Ono bed-in at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Canada from May 26 to June 2, 1969.


Documents and articles:

M. S. Chichibu Maru from Yokohama, Japan to San Francisco, Cal.
June 13-26, 1935

Ono, Isoko - age 24, housewife, can read and write Japanese, born in Tokyo
Ono, Yoko - age 2, born in Tokyo

M.S. Chichibu Maru, built in 1930

M. S. Tatuta Maru from Yokohama, Japan to San Francisco, Cal.
December 28, 1939 to January 11, 1940

Ono, Isoko - age 29, born in Tokyo
Ono, Yoko - age 6, female, born in Tokyo, can read and write Japanese.
Ono, Keisuke - age 3, male, born in Tokyo

M. S. Africa Maru from Yokohama, Japan to New York City, NY
(stopped in San Francisco, California August 27, 1952)
August 14 to September 17, 1952

Ono, Yoko (Miss) - age 23, female, single, Visa #22747

Bridgeport Post (Bridgeport, Connecticut) - March 20, 1969


Jack Lennon, Sculptress Take
Vows in Gibraltar; Will
Reside in Paris

LONDON (AP) - Beatle John Lennon and Yoko Ono, a Japanese sculptress, were married today in a civil ceremony in Gilbraltar, the Beatles' office announced. It was the second marriage for both and the second for the Beatles in eight days. Paul McCartney married an American divorcee, Linda Eastman, in London March 12.

Lennon and Yoko Ono went to Paris Monday and flew to Gibraltar Wednesday night. A representative of Apple, the Beatles' company, said she believed the only two witnesses at the wedding were Peter Brown, personal assistant to the Beatles, and Thomas Nutier, a Savile Row tailor. She said she believed Lennon and his bride would return to Paris and stay there for a while. Lennon, 28, and Miss Ono, 34, have been living together for months. He said some time ago they would marry as soon as they were free to do so. She was still the wife of American film maker Tony Cox when she was named as co-respondent in a divorce action by Lennon's British wife, Cynthia, last year.

Lennon and Miss Ono announced last October that they were expecting a child in February. It was a difficult pregnancy and she entered a London hospital on Nov. 4. Four days later Lennon's wife was granted a divorce, and on Nov. 21 Miss Ono lost the baby. The first Mrs. Lennon was granted custody of their 5-year-odl son Julian. She also received alimony which she described as "generous". Miss Ono first attracted notoriety in Britain as a film producer, when she made a movie shwoing 365 bare human bottoms and nothing else. She and Lennon also caused a stir recently with a record cover showing the two of them in a front nude view on one side and a rear nude view on the other.

Independent (Long Beach, California) - October 17, 1969


Yoko Ono, 34-year-old wife of Beatle John Lennon, has lost the baby she was expecting in two months, a Beatle spokesman said Thursday night in London. It was her second miscarriage. She lost her first baby by Lennon last November, three months before it was due.

Bucks County Courier Times (Levittown, Pennsylvania) - December 3, 1969

SHOPPING IN ATHENS - Beatle John Lennon strolls with wife, Yoko Ono, and Greek host Alexis Mardas inn Athens shopping district recently. The Lennons announced plans to stage a bed-in in support of world peace movement during their visit with Mardas.

Bucks County Courier Times (Levittown, Pennsylvania) - December 15, 1969

Beatle John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, have purchased billboard spcae in 11 major cities of the world to display their Christmas message for peace: "War is over if you want it. Happy Christmas from John and Yoko." The message, which will also appear on smaller signs in suburban areas, will be advertised in London, New York, Los Angeles, Montreal, Toronto, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Amserdam, Athens and Tokyo.

Independent (Long Beach, California) - December 23, 1969


John Lennon announced a Christmas Day "Peace Fast" with American median Dick Gregory Monday, and indicated there may be something to the rumors the Beatles are headed for a split-up. Lennon was asked about the rumors at a press conference in Montreal "Well, we'll see how it works out in July," he replied. "We're going to see then about doing another album together." Lennon, in Canada with his wife, Yoko Ono, promoting their peace campaign, said he talked with Gregory by phone Sunday and they had tentative plans to stage a fast for peace together on Christmas Day but had not yet picked a place for it.

Independent (Long Beach, California) - February 4, 1970


A spokesman for Beatle John Lennon said Tuesday he and his wife, Yoko Ono, will hand over a plastic bag of their shorn long hair today to British Black Power leader Michael X to be auctioned for peace. In exchange Michael X, born Michael de Freitas in the West Indies 38 years ago, will give Lennon and Yoko a pair of boxing shorts said to have belonged to former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. Lennon and Miss Ono plan to auction the shorts for peace as well. They had their hair cut on a recent trip to Denmark.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mahatma Ghandi (1869-1948)

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born October 2, 1869 in Porbandar, Kathjawar Agency, British India. His father was Karamchand Gandhi, diwan (Prime Minister) of Porbandar. He married Kasturbai Makhanji in May 1883, when he was 13. Together they had four children - Harilal, Manilal, Ramdas and Devdas. He attended school in India and received a good general education and graduated from Samaldas College in Bhavnagar.

On September 4, 1888 he traveled to London were he would seem a former education to study English law at University College London. While away, he adhered to his promise (to his mother) to stay away from meat, alcohol and promiscuity. In fact, he joined the Vegetarian Society, was elected to its executive committee and started a new chapter in Bayswater. He also became acquainted with several members of the Theosophical Society and found an interest in Hindu and Christian scriptures. He was called to the bar on June 10, 1891 and left for India on June 12th. He tried to start a practice in Mumbai but was unable to get it started. In 1893 he was offered a post at the Colony of Natal, South Africa with Dada Abdulla & Co. It was during this trip that Ghandi witnessed, first hand, the prejudices and injustices against Indians in South Africa. He was thrown off a train in Pietermaritzburg after refusing to move to 3rd class, while holding a valid 1st class ticket. He was beaten by a stagecoach driver when he refused to travel on a foot board to make room for a European passenger.

He founded the Natal Indian Congress in 1894 which helped to mold the Indian community in South Africa into a homogeneous political force. On September 11, 1906 Ghandi adopted his method of "satyagraha" for the first time - a devotion to the truth and non-violent protest. This was due to the Transvaal government adopted a new Act compelling all Indians to register and hold papers. Gandhi asked the Indian population to defy the new law and suffer the punishments for doing so, rather than resist through violent means.

Gandhi returned to India in 1915 and began to speak at the Indian National Congress. But it wasn't until 1918 that Gandhi began to really make a difference. He learned that the people in Champaran were being supressed by the militia of their landlords while being given little compensation for their clops, leaving them in poverty and starvation. Gandhi took an account of the travesties taking place in each village and began to build the confidence of the village leaders. He was arrested on charges of creating unrest and ordered to leave the province, which he refused. Hundreds of thousands of people protests and rallied outside the jail, police station and courts and demanded his release, which the court reluctantly agreed.

Over the next decades he would live among the people. He would ride 3rd class or walk, would never allow anyone to serve him as a slave and lived in a simple house. He fought, peacefully, for home rule in India and succeeded in that quest. On two different occasions he fasted until the people of India stopped fighting, which lead to peace in his country.

On January 30, 1948, while having his nightly public walk on the grounds of the Birla Bhavan in New Delhi, Ghandi was shot and killed by Nathuram Godse. Godse was a Hindu radical with links to the extremist Mahasabha, who blammed Ghandi for weakening India by insisting on a payment to Pakistan. Godse and his co-conspirater, Narayan Apte, were tried, convicted and eventually executed on November 19, 1949.