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H. Muratovic: The Task of Reconciliation in the Balkans

Address to the Universal Peace Federation’s World Summit on Peace
Seoul, Korea, May 29 – June 2, 2009

I have been involved in conflict resolution for more than 17 years. First of all I got in this problem of conflict resolution in the very beginning of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina which was the most tragic war after the Second World War in Europe. I started in the government immediately in the beginning of the war and took a position of a Minister for Relations with the United Nations and other international organizations that were involved in the Balkans War.

Looking back, it was a shameful approach toward peace. The world called it peace-keeping, but in my view the situation kept the conflict going instead of making peace. Those who came to our country said they were not a peacemaking mission but a peacekeeping mission, but there was no peace so we considered them partly to blame for the whole tragedy of the region, not only Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The second thing which would be practical is to form interreligious councils everywhere. We formed an interreligious council in Bosnia-Herzegovina which is led by heads of four religions, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Muslims, and Jews. So they regularly meet. They also talk about political problems in the state. Some attack them they saying “You religious leaders must not be in politics,” but we are all part of the politics. We need religious insights.

The third thing we can implement from what we have been hearing here is to conduct peace education. We can promote new ideas and the whole philosophy of the peace movement as guest speakers or getting involved at schools.

There is some United Nations day commemorative something every day. I think we should propose a United Nations Day for “One Family Under God,” which is Father Moon’s philosophy. There should be one day in the world for promoting One family under God, in which in all school students can listen about the philosophy of this peace movement. We can educate to promote that outlook every day.

I support all the philosophy of this movement and believe it should be part of education everywhere. We need to invest more effort into the prevention of the conflict than in efforts to reconcile conflict after the fact. Reconciliation is a very difficult task. When the actual fighting stops, we are not at the end of it. There is a long period of reconciliation still ahead.

I come from a region of the world where although the fighting may have stopped, the conflict has not been truly finished because there is no reconciliation yet. We have open borders and thus the opportunity is available for people to reconcile and reestablish good relations. I’m sure that a festival which would gather people from the whole region would help promote a culture of peace.

For videos of this and other presentations at the summit, click here.