The Blog

The Pillow Case War

This was the dream:

Gaza, the West Bank. Today.

A wedding is being planned between two young lovers, their families excited and exhausted as the great day drew closer; the joining of two lovers, the joining of two families.

But there was the ongoing conflict (for all practical purposes, a war) that seemed endless, smoking fires burning near where the wedding was to take place.

Then the bomb, somewhere, close enough. Accusations. The usual. The bodies. The usual. The pain. And the curfew. No gatherings permitted. No one allowed outside. Always the men deciding. The wedding could not take place.

The exhausted mother of the bride tried to console the crying daughter. Consolation was not possible. Explanations and rationalizations were no longer possible. The mother had run out of a lifetime of accepting what she could not change. She was too tired. Too old. Enough was enough.

But still the mother had to go out to do the laundry, to wash the clothes, the sheets, the towels for the wedding guests. Laundry basket tucked under her large, strong arm, she was stopped by the soldier. They argued. He became angry. The mother became angry. His gun was aimed. Always the gun. She retreated. He had won.

But no. She had had enough. She returned with a bucket of soapy water and sat on her porch step and proceeded to do the laundry as mothers had always done. The exhausted mother of the groom ran up to her as the soldiers came. She also had a basket of laundry under her arm. She had lost two sons to the endless war. She too had had enough. She sat down beside the mother of the bride, and they began to wash their laundry.

The soldiers arrived with their guns and their shouts. But women, mothers, stuck their heads from the dozens of windows and shouted down at the soldiers "Enough! Enough!"

The nervous soldiers backed down, left for orders, for reinforcements against two women doing their laundry on a porch step.

They returned to find dozens of women doing their laundry in the street, dozens more hanging their clean laundry out their windows to dry, or suspending them across the streets like multi-colored flags. The soldiers halted, uncertain what to do. They were ordered to retreat, to let the women have their day.

But that day became another and another and then another, the women, the mothers, the grandmothers, and great-grandmothers doing their laundry in the streets. Joined by others preparing meals for the women, food placed on tables brought into the streets. The beds were pulled out and cots and chairs and the women slept outside as the soldiers watched, helpless. The women laughed and sang and danced as the men watched. The mothers would not go back in. Not again. Not anymore.

Then the news of these Palestinian women reached the Israeli mothers and sisters and wives who had suffered too long, long enough. And they started hanging pillow cases out their windows in support of the women of Gaza and Israel.

Like the mothers of the disappeared in Argentina. Like the mothers of the fallen children in Ireland.

And soon men, sons and brothers and husbands of goodwill joined in.

The newspapers called it "The War Of Pillow Cases."

And the news spread, and soon thousands, then hundreds of thousands, then millions of women hung pillow cases out their windows in support of life, from the Middle East, to China, to Russia, to South America, to Europe, to the United States.

And these women became a political and economic army. They became a movement. And soon they became a nation without borders. And they made their demands.

And soon the battles ended. Soon the walls came down. And the world had changed.

And soon a long-delayed wedding in Gaza was celebrated. And the whole world held a glass of wine in a toast.

That was the dream.