Ash Wednesday: Singing the Song of Our Enemy
The terrible war in Bosnia and Herzegovina ended in December 1995.
The fighting between Serbs and Croats had set itself up along ethnic and religious lines and so deepened the divisions between the warring factions that it seemed impossible to imagine them going forward in any type of peace, much less healing and reconciliation.
A Franciscan priest began a revolutionary project in early 1996.
He recruited singers from across the country, people who were gifted in music, not necessarily professionals, but just people who were known in their towns and communities for their voices.
He brought them all together, Muslims and Christians, Serbs and Croats, some literally fresh off the battlefield, and asked them to begin singing together.
But not just any songs.
He asked them to sing the most traditional and well-known and deeply rooted religious songs of the Bosnian people, both Christian songs and Muslim songs.
He asked them to sing the songs of their enemies. Continue reading