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Blogging from the 2010 Nigeria Delegation: Friar Ivo Arrives in Abuja

Five of our Peacemakers in Action gather in Nigeria this week to call on the country to hold fair, peaceful and respectful elections and to urge religious leaders to avert conflict in their country. They’ll be sending us dispatches. Here’s the first, from Bosnian Peacemaker Friar Ivo Markovic:

“Saturday afternoon, 4 Dec 2010, I arrived to Abuja, from -2 C° in Sarajevo and -8 in Frankfurt to some +30 in Abuja. The warm air blew my face and gave me a new breath. Coming in airport I was gently touched and I have set my eyes on friendly face of Rev. James Wuye. At the time I found myself fully in Africa, Nigeria, in the mission sent of Tanenbaum Center in New York to bring there the models of reconciliation from postwar Bosnia. Soon in a hotel I met dear friend Imam Ashafa and in our conversation we found ourselves in the theme we are occupied with: to convert the perverse misuse of religions for violence to their natural peace potential.

For Sunday my wish was to celebrate liturgy participating in any African Christian church. Rev. James found his Catholic friend who took me in a suburb to celebrate Harvest Day. Ideal. All rich impressive downtowns of contemporary cities are similar, but in the suburbs I find a power of life and the recognizable spirit of a nation. The liturgy was vivid, joyful, dancing, bursting into singing, applause, smile, but also in tears of joy, shocking for one reticent, cool European. I sneered at myself seeing me dancing in the gothic liturgical clothes culturally imposed to these peoples. I became fully fond of Africans. I felt sinful because of my civilization which brought dangerous ideologies to these innocent peoples. I wish be something different.
Today evening I expect to meet an impressive group of people chosen from Tanenbaum Center because of their deeds committed in the situations of war, violence, suffering, so as to stop the spiral of violence and to convert it in direction of healing and reconciliation up to the peace. Azi brings experiences from Pakistan, Yehezkel from Israel and Palestina, Imam Ashafa and Pastor James are legendary friends from middle of Nigerian conflict, me from a similar Christian-Muslim conflict in Bosnia.”
– Friar Ivo Markovic