March 25 – 31, 2009: The Great Peace Bed-In

On the 40th anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1969 bed-in, thousands will lie down to give peace a chance

girl-and-gunGUEST COLUMN: PIPPA BARTOLOTTI — Have you ever really thought about what you can do for peace?

Many thousands of people are prepared to click an icon and join a peace group.

For instance, on Facebook I am inundated with prayers, mantras, and with blessings, words of love and incantations, but that is not enough for me. I believe that peace has to be worked for.

To that end, I’d like you to pledge to take a day off between March 25th and March 31st and just lie in bed.

The origins of The Great Peace Bed-In

Facebook is a fascinating place for people who are interested in exchanging ideas. I had joined a group called WOW Women Oppose War not because it was a women only group, but because it sounded as though they meant to DO something . . . something positive.

As you may be aware, billions and trillions of dollars are pumped into the war machine. It is one of the world’s biggest pollutants, and it is certainly the world’s biggest killer.  It is also one of the world’s biggest money-spinners.

Financiers rub their hands in glee at the mention of conflict. They will make money right through, from the first bullet to the final rebuilding brick. Nothing makes more money than war.

Peace, however, is not about making money. No one throws money at peace. There is not a Ministry of Peace, or a Department of Peace, or a budget for peace in any country. But everyone with a willing mind can throw their time and energy at peace.

warI was wondering how to find out who in this world would be prepared to give up some time for peace.

It is understandable (although regrettable) that most people hesitate to take part in street demonstrations.

This is partly because of government propaganda prior to an event which shows pictures of police in riot gear, and clashes of demonstrators.

There are the allusions to a fabled crowd of violent agitators who are, we are told, expected to turn up and provoke bloodshed.

All this will lead to people (maybe even you!) being arrested, having a criminal record, maybe even being blacklisted.

Deep in the back of their minds, the ordinary person nurses a real fear.

They remove the need to address their fear by automatically saying ‘no’ to any public event. Yes, we who live in ‘democracies’ are frightened by what may happen to us if we show public support for peace.

We need to not just think about peace. We need to think about war, to look at the images (like the one pictured above of young boys living in Gaza) and not shy away.

With all these thoughts swirling through my mind, I resolved to find a practical way of finding support for peace which involved more than the click of a mouse, and less than a street demonstration.

John and Yoko show the way

john-and-yoko2As I was researching John Lennon for a book I was writing, I noticed that it was almost a full forty years since he and Yoko had held their historic press gatherings at the side of their honeymoon bed in the Amsterdam Hilton, way back in 1969.

I was shocked nothing had changed! But a switch flicked in my mind.

Maybe the people of the world could take just one day off, and simply stay in bed just for one single day in support of peace. Well, I don’t like to mention names, but passive resistance has a habit of getting its way.

I emailed Jean at WOW and she was so enthusiastic, and so encouraging, that The Great Peace Bed-In was born there and then.

At this time we have 1500 people prepared to stand up or rather lie down! for peace. It is not much in the vast scale of things, but it is a start.

In future years it will grow.

As one member said to me , ‘Pippa, wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone in the world stayed in bed that day, we could bring the world to a standstill just by staying in bed.’

There is only one way to find out.

Join the Great Peace Bed-In and pledge a day for peace. You can find us by visiting our Facebook  group.

But you don’t have to be on Facebook to become involved, register at Women Opposing War.

If the March dates are difficult for you there is a second chance to pledge yourself to peace from May 26th until  June 2nd,  2009.  John and Yoko did it twice so can we!

Please help by inviting your friends, colleagues (even your boss!) and family to join us.  We’ve just heard that The Big Sleep hotel chain in the United Kingdom has agreed to host a public Peace Bed-In in three locations!

pippaPippa has run successful businesses ranging from fashion design to electronics. At 55, she decided to stop working for money. She now dedicates her life to promoting understanding and mutual respect between peoples. She is writing her fourth book, and lives in Wales with her family and a Tibetan monk.

If this spoke to you, here are five similar articles.

7 Responses to “March 25 – 31, 2009: The Great Peace Bed-In”

  1. Hi Pippa-

    I don’t mean to throw a wet blanket on the bed-in idea (how uncomfortable would that be?!?) but… In the grand scheme of things, this is still simply another symbolic gesture for people to demonstrate how much they long for peaceful society. It’ll make participants feel good for a little while, may get some press coverage if it’s big enough, but will do very little to make peace a sustainable influence in the world.

    You did hit the nail on the head – “…peace needs to be worked for.” Staying in bed for a day my sound like “work” for some (not for me, BTW), but it’s not the same as either getting out there and making the world a better place – teaching conflict resolution skills to inner city youth, for example – or lobbying elected officials to create the Ministries and Departments of Peace that would ensure nonviolent approaches to solving problems gets the funding and recongition it deserves.

    In the U.S., there is an on-going national campaign led by The Peace Alliance ( that is working pass legislation to create a U.S. Department of Peace. The legislation exists – H.R. 808 – and has 66 co-sponsors, but the campaign has a long way to go to make this a reality. We need people who care to step up and become citizen lobbyists and work with Congress to get this done.

    There are similar efforts going on in Canada, the U.K., and several other countries (see In fact there already exists a Ministry of Peace and Reconciliation in Nepal ( and the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace in the Solomon Islands.

    So, change is happening. We just need people to get off the sofa and out of bed and into their Representative’s office.

    Columbia, MD

  2. This is an excellent way to celebrate peace. I intend to go to bed for the day for peace.

    Many blessings, Yvonne

  3. In response to Ted Nunn’s comment above all I can say is that there is no right or wrong way to go about working for peace.

    What he is doing has validity and what Pippa’a group is doing has validity. We don’t need to judge each other, just be happy that so many creative people all over the world are actually thinking and working towards peace.

  4. HA! I do that often enough! Glad it’s catching on :-D

  5. My many thanks to all who have read this article and who have made kind and astute coments.

    In response to Ted

    Thank you Ted. You are so right. There are amazing people out there committed to teaching and lobbying and promoting Peace in an active way. These people are the best of us. But they are few.

    Where are the others? It seems to me that there are others, but because the traditional ways we have deleloped in order to show our support for peace – such as publicly marching and loudly protesting – do not find favour with the more reticent person. Yet why should the quieter ones among us not have their ‘voice’?

    A day in bed for Peace is not a day wasted. A day dedicated to thinking about Peace, writing about Peace; a day devoted to consideration of Peace and why it constantly slips through our fingers is one of the better ways to spend a day. Those prepared to take a day from their precious holiday are showing great dedication. The fact that they are not shouting their feelings from the rooftops should in no way diminish their efforts.

    Let us remember that we have created a society which applauds those who shout and scream and air everything they think and do through the media. Not everyone buys into this.

    The Peace Bed-In is for the thoughtful ones, the reticent ones, those who would decline to impose their views on others. I believe in these people. And they are many.

    Who knows, perhaps even one person taking part in the Bed-In will find the strength to do more?

    I hope one day to share a day of Peace with you.

  6. Pippa,

    I haven’t found a more elegant formula for peace than the comment by Pope Paul VI: “If you want Peace, work for Justice.”

    If serious people truly understood the universal principles of social and economic justice as social virtues and held a positive vision of a world that conformed to those principles, we would begin to work together for changing the unjust social, political and economic order that is at the root of wars, violent revolutions and mass powerlessness. For those interested in how a growing number of global citizens define these terms and are working together for Peace through Justice, please visit the Glossary and other books and writings at As Pogo said, “We have met the enemy. It is us.” God did not create the social order. People did. And none of us can do it alone. And therefore every person has a personal responsibility to work together in an organized way with a common vision, strategy and plan for a more just social order based on the inherent dignity and fundamental human rights to which every human person is entitled. Then we and future generations will have Peace.

    In economic and social justice for all,