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The Sarajevo Rose


During the same ten years, the political situation in the Balkans deteriorates. On June 25, 1991, the tenth anniversary of Mary's first words to the Medjugorje children, Croatia declares its independence from the Yugoslavian federation. Within weeks, bombs are falling on the Croatian cities of Vukovar and Dubrovnik. Within months, the carnage spreads to Bosnia-Herzegovina and the term "ethnic cleansing" appears on front pages around the globe. The tide of pilgrims dwindles to a brave few: those willing and able to make their way through the war zones. Though somehow Medjugorje remains an oasis of peace, all around it there is death and destruction.


I had an ordinary life.
    (I read the news on Channel 3.)
I loved my ordinary wife.
    (But I had bigger things in me…)
We ran a small tobacco store.
    (Perhaps a novel or a play.)
And then the tanks rolled in one day.

I should have seen it coming, I suppose,
The season of the Sarajevo Rose.

A city breaks when no one bends.
    (And now the news is all the same…)
I sent my wife to stay with friends.
    (How many dead and who’s to blame.)
I haven’t heard from her for weeks.
    (A demonstration in the square.)
A shell falls screaming through the air.

The smoke has cleared, the broken pavement shows
The scar they call the Sarajevo Rose.

And it’s what will you pay and what will you get
For the sake of a church or minaret?
And what is the worst you will do
For a creed (for a country)
You never really knew?
You aim for these! I aim for those!
Blame it on the Sarajevo Rose!

I learn to hate, I learn to fight.
    (I learn to hate, I learn to fight.)
I find the target in my sight.
    (I find the target in my sight.)
Why it’s that man who read the news.
    (Why it’s the man who ran the store.)
I wonder what he’s fighting for?

What will you pay? What will you get, etc.

A sudden shot
And who’d have thought
How easily the dark blood flows?
    (How easily the spirit goes?)
In this unlucky place where sorrow grows,
The garden of the Sarajevo Rose.