Letter: Medjugorje's work to help refugees

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The Independent Online
Sir: Robert Fisk's article 'Bosnian show of unity masks hatred' (18 December) was inaccurate in its statements regarding the village of Medjugorje. There are refugees there. At present there are 1,500 in the village and in the close vicinity, housed by the local population of about 3,000. It is also not true that there are 12,000 beds in Medjugorje itself. This figure refers to a far larger area - as far as Citluk, Lubjuski and Chapljina - being accommodation available for pilgrims who visit the shrine.

Medjugorje is a place of pilgrimage and prayer, and if all the accommodation is used for the refugees, it will lose its main function, which is to encourage people to pray for peace and reconciliation. The village is receiving aid from all over the world and the people there are helping to organise deliveries to remote towns and villages in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Much of their time is used in this way and they are able to assist countless thousands, which would be impossible if a greater number were housed there. Medjugorje is very close to the front line and the refugees ask to go to safer places, mainly in Europe.

Regarding the part of the article that blames Medjugorje and the Catholic Church for not assisting the refugees, surely the blame lies at the feet of those who allowed this conflict to happen in the first place and have done little to stop the carnage since.

Yours faithfully,

BERNARD ELLIS

Trustee

Medjugorje Appeal

South Godstone, Surrey

21 December

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