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Honorary Friend Sir Paul

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The Story.
The Poem.
The Donation.
The Record.

Paul McCartney's Poem for TFF



 Jan Oberg's story
of how he met Sir Paul


Liverpool - where else to meet Paul McCartney?

Paul's old class mate and TFF Associate, Jonathan Power introduced me to Paul McCartney in Liverpool at an informal reception. It was held at what used to be their school, now the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and we were there to celebrate that Jonathan had written Amnesty International's 40th Anniversary book. This happy event for "righting wrongs and writing songs" gave me an opportunity to meet Paul and tell him about TFF and get straight to the matter: would he consider making a donation in support of our work for peace?

While I was probably the only one with such a wish that day, I was certainly not the only one who wanted to shake hands and talk with him. In the last minutes before Paul was to leave, Jonathan brought us together and we got about three minutes leaning on a paino in a corner. I introduced myself and TFF, telegram style, our work in the Balkans, Georgia, Burundi, alternative defence, strong support for the values of the UN and... got a lot said to this man who listened very attentively, also with his eyes, and simultaneously made you feel comfortable. Here I was talking with perhaps the most important music maker of our times, a celebrity - and he appears so pleasant, joking, boyish and so easy to deal with.


We both visited Gandhi

Well, to round up my - well-prepared, haiku-like - introduction I emphasised that we wanted to contribute to a world in which we deal with our conflicts with ever less violence and that our main inspiration was Gandhi.

"Gandhi," Paul cut in, "that's great! You know, we have just been to India and I was so moved when I sat in his house in Bombay, and..." It was my turn to interrupt him as I had just been on my 9-week travel In Gandhi's Footsteps and thus wanted to know when Paul had been there. It clicked, we talked more, and I gave him a couple of TFF publications and said, kind of apologetically, that he did not have to read them..."But I will," he said firmly.


The Beatles in Hamburg 1961

"Oh one more thing, Paul. You see, my dear wife and co-founder Christina has an old Beatles record. She doesn't know that I took it with me and she would be so happy if..." and I pulled it out. He said he had never seen it before and asked his assistant who had also not seen it. Signed there and then, "To Christina. Love Paul McCartney." For the discophiles, it is "The Beatles in Hamburg. Recorded in Hamburg 1961. Featuing Tony Sheridan & Guests." (tip stereo).



A money and poetry donation - by coincidence related to September 11

A couple of months later, Paul sent a cheque. He asked that we did not make the sum public. But I think I can say it was big enough to help us through some very difficult months - the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had withdrawn its organisational support for the foundation the year before - and it has been spent and in exactly the ways Paul suggests in his poem above.

We were moved even more by the poem Paul had written specifically for TFF. Somehow our meeting must have been on his mind and he liked what he read. It's the most poetic way of saying why we need donations, and Paul had understood that on the spot. He wanted to help us, to contributed to peace and nonviolence in a special, very personal, way. That was really touching.

And there is more to it. He dictated this poem over his mobile phone from New York to his London office the day before he was supposed to fly home - on the 11th of September 2001.

Sir Paul accepted to become an Honorary Friend of TFF in 2002 and we made it public at the event of his concerts in Copenhagen and Stockholm in early May 2003.

Many many thanks, Paul. Thank you, Jonathan, for bringing us together. Yes, and thank you, Mohandas, for having inspired all three of us...


Be inspired by Paul McCartney and make a donation to TFF


 Översättning av Pauls dikt till svenska vid Christina Spännar


Käre Jan
En Dikt för Fred
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Din dator
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Laga en kopp kaffe
Få Dig ombord på ett flygplan
Köpa bensin till en bil
Som tar dig varhelst
Du måste
För att sprida ordet

Jag hoppas den bidrar till alla dessa ting
Och mer därtill

Varma hälsningar
Paul (McCartney)




© TFF & the authors 2003  


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The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research
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