The Day Will Come
Brown A DEFENSE OF MEDJUGORJE and
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Is More Dangerous To Stay At Home'
United Nations still owes a good explanation for its meaningless military
showdown in Medjugorje. And the US State Department owes an even better one for
including The Blessed Virgin Mary’s chosen village on a list of potentially
dangerous towns. The questions remain what purpose tanks are serving in a
village of love, hope and peace. And if the State Department seriously expects
the people of Medjugorje to start harassing pilgrims who have provided its
livelihood for almost 20 years.
Jakob Marschner in Bosnia-Hercegovina
WERE INTERRUPTED, and hearts of pilgrims started beating faster when the UN
tanks came rolling into Medjugorje that Tuesday afternoon before Easter. Heavily
armed, with uncovered guns and followed by camions and military jeeps the
soldiers displayed an aggressive behavior that made the official title
“peace-keeping forces” stand out in a light of some absurdity.
showdown continued on Wednesday when the same military vehicles showed UN’s
landlord status once again. It went on during Easter when helicopters found it
opportune to fly over the shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary so often that
pilgrims and parishioners were left with the suspicion that the operations might
serve something else than a strict and pure peace-keeping purpose. Especially so
since the flights so often coincided with the celebration of the Mass and the
prayer of the Rosary in church. Another odd operation took place one early
morning when helicopters flying at tree-top level took pictures of pilgrims
while they listened to visionary Vicka Ivanković speaking.
MONDAY, for some reason, was chosen for the next event that unnecessarily
alarmed a lot of Medjugorje’s friends abroad. This day was the one when the
media carried a warning from the US State Department, advising American citizens
to avoid traveling to a number of named Hercegovinan towns, Medjugorje being one
on this list.
explanations told of “disturbances” going on in western Hercegovina, and
while there is some truth to this, it is equally true that Medjugorje has been
as quiet and peaceful as ever. The parades of tanks and helicopters were the
only notable disturbances, and it remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma why
Medjugorje was singled out alongside Široki Brijeg, Ljubuški, and others. And
why a town like Čitluk was not on the list when the fact remains that
disturbances actually took place there.
LEFT OUT from official explanations was the reason why some cars were admittedly
burned and overturned during these few days of minor drama. This was a heated
reaction to what the local population, not without some common sense and peasant
logic, had come to view as international bank-robbery: The surprising operation
of the same UN forces who on April 6th had shut down Hercegovačka Banka. The soldiers, wearing masks and armed with
machine guns, looked no different than any other common bank robbers. In Mostar
UN forces blew open the doors to enter the bank in the middle of the night. In
Medjugorje the soldiers met with a gathering of people asking questions of what
was going on in their bank. Other towns had other situations.
bank operation was called for because of accusations of an unclear ownership
structure as well as accusations of money laundering. Whether or not these
accusations are true, closing the bank altogether was still a drastic measure to
take – especially so from the viewpoint of the average worker and farmer who
might now have to wait for weeks or even months before seeing his money again.
And the local economy was not too good in the first place.
to what actually happened, and who felt threatened by whom that day in the bank
in Medjugorje explanations from UN and the local population do not have very
much in common, but the point of focus should remain that no matter what
happened it just cannot justify a military showdown of the mentioned proportions
going on for four days, five days, and even ten more days.
OF HEART and mind is what is needed from UN as well as from the US State
Department. Partly it has already come, for the days of tank and helicopter
parading came to an end after Easter. The military presence is now as discrete
as before. So far so good, but pilgrims and parishioners still have not got an
act of contrition, an apology or just an explanation from UN authorities. And
now it is unlikely to come: When Spirit
Daily called Sarajevo, a spokesman said that UN has no comment to the note
of protest that was sent by Medjugorje’s parish priest.
to the warning from US State Department the American authorities seem
surprisingly ignorant of indisputable historical facts: When the Virgin Mary
started appearing the villagers reconciled almost immediately. Age-old hatred
and strife was forgiven, “a school of love” was established, and thanks to a
protection that can only be viewed as divine Medjugorje later went undamaged
through three long years of civil war. People here know nothing but peace, and
though they disagree with certain UN policies they also know better than taking
that disagreement to the faces of people who have nothing to do with the actions
they oppose. In particular State Department failed to consider the unlikeliness,
not to say impossibility, of the people of Medjugorje suddenly starting to
harass pious pilgrims who have provided their livelihood for more than 15 years.
Who on earth will ever saw to pieces the very branch they sit on in the tree?
TWENTY YEARS after The Blessed Virgin Mary started writing her fairy-tale of
love, conversion and peace, these events seem to show that the men in the
mansions and domes of the world are still quite far from having grasped what
Medjugorje really is. While it cannot be expected that the landlords of the
world should acknowledge the truth that the average grandmother shepherd,
unceasingly praying the Rosary while watching out for her flock in the fields,
does more for peace than the UN and the US State Department will ever come to
do, even when taken together, it still should be fair to ask for some honesty
and justice. The first of these virtues was violated with the statement that
Medjugorje is no longer safe. The second suffered under days of UN mistreatment.
the average American pilgrim, luckily, the situation is a quite simple one:
There is no need whatsoever to cancel a planned Medjugorje pilgrimage. The
war-time quotation of visionary Vicka Ivanković is as true today as it was
in the Nineties: “It is not dangerous to go to Medjugorje,” she said
whenever she had the opportunity to do so. And equally true is the addition to
this statement, a punch line coined by a humorous local soul. Now, grasp it or
not in the mansions and domes:
is more dangerous to stay at home.”
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