In 1991, the International Red Cross was about to launch a campaign, “The World Campaign For Protection Of Victims of War”. I got an idea. Why not use John Lennon’s “Imagine” and pairing it with stunning Red Cross related footage, from the past and present? I showed a rough cut to George Reid, Head of Public Affairs for IFRC in Geneva. The response was overwhelming, but there was a slight problem. The rights to the music and the recording. The solution turned out to be very close. One of the employees in Geneva, Marit van Strien, had her son in the same school as John and Yoko’s son, Sean. Marit said, if I get a VHS-cassette I will contact Yoko. Said and done, Yoko got a copy. A few days later she came back. “I like the video so much that I give you the rights for free, worldwide. Now EMI, who owned the rights to the recording, had no choice but to release it without compensation claims. The musicians Klaus Voorman and Alan White also gave their consent.
I made a full version 3´10´´, and a 30 and 60 second version for broadcast. The video was spread all over the world. In one country, Sudan, it was banned, because of the text line “There´s no religion …” In another country, Togo, it was run daily before the evening’s news. The result, uprising and demands for human rights. The government was forced to resign. When I filmed in Togo a year later, I was invited to meet the head of the national broadcaster. I was introduced with the words “This is the man behind the video that started it”.