John Lennon's Music to Help Darfur

The human rights group Amnesty International has teamed up with John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, to raise awareness and money for the victims of the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan.  Ono was recently on hand at Amnesty's headquarters in London to launch the release of a special double CD set of Lennon's post-Beatles songs,  "Make Some Noise - Instant Karma." Ono donated the rights to the music to Amnesty and the album features some of the world's top artists.  For VOA, Mandy Clark reports from London.

"To present Yoko with a platinum disk for sales of 'Instant Karma - Make Some Noise' the Amnesty campaign to save Darfur" was the introduction at the presentation ceremony.

A show of thanks to the woman who made the campaign possible and a celebration of the success of the original album. It came out in June.  Ono said her decision to donate the rights to the music is what Lennon would have wanted. "I will accept this on behalf of myself and John Lennon who really, had an incredible feeling for the world and he wanted to see the world become better for all of us."

The album already has raised more than a million dollars, and it is expected to raise millions more after the special edition box set goes on sale October 9th. It includes all of the original double CD tracks, plus previously unreleased material.

More than 50 artists are involved in the project, including the Black Eyed Peas, U2, REM and Avril Lavigne. The goal -- to highlight the humanitarian crisis in Sudan's western region of Darfur.

The conflict in Darfur began in 2003 and involves rebel groups, government troops and government-backed Arab militias known as Janjaweed.  The rebels accuse Khartoum of ignoring the impoverished south and west of the country.

The United Nations estimates the fighting has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced more than two million others.The U.N. says that by now more than four million people rely on humanitarian aid.

Amnesty International says it wants the U.N. to take greater action to protect civilians and to ensure that aid is delivered safely.

Irene Khan is the secretary general of Amnesty International. She says she believes the 'Instant Karma' album can be used as an instrument to peace. "I hope that through projects like 'Instant Karma and Make Some Noise' we will generate hope, because this is all about bringing hope to people. They will fight for the future, they will stand up. I have seen activists in Sudan, in the midst of all that, still standing up. They have courage. We have to give them hope that we will stand with them and that is what Yoko, your gift to Amnesty did -- it gave hope to many people around the world."

Singer Peter Gabriel also was in London to support the campaign.  He says he still believes the message that one person can make a difference is important.

"It is an old message but it still works for me. I think Amnesty has been built on this child-like premise that writing a letter might make a difference and clearly many people have been rescued from jail and torture on that very idealistic, basic belief. So, these things can work."

The special album is being released on October 9th, on what would have been John Lennon's 67th birthday. He died in 1980 after a gunman shot him outside his New York apartment building.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs