The White House: From Fear To A Handshake
By Peter Pelz & Revd Donald Reeves
The White House tells the story of the possibilities of reconciliation in a universal culture saturated with images of war. It shows how it is possible, against all the odds, to bring together former enemies – survivors of a killing camp, and representatives of those who ordered and perpetrated the atrocities and killing. The White House shows how it is possible to dismantle nationalism.
The book is a narrative. It starts with something ghastly and ends with a handshake.
Up to a thousand mostly Muslim men and boys were murdered and many tortured in the killing camp in the Serb administered iron-ore mine of Omarska between May and August 1992 during the Bosnia War. Ten years after the war the mine was under new ownership. Survivors and relatives of the victims demanded a memorial. The Serb administrators refused. The Soul of Europe was called in to mediate between Muslims and Serbs.
This book tells the story of this process, talking to victims and perpetrators and achieving the first steps towards acknowledgement of crimes committed and agreement to cooperate on a memorial which is still to be built.
The Memoirs of a Very Dangerous Man
By Revd Donald Reeves
Donald Reeves is a cult figure in religious and political circles. The former Rector of St James` Piccadilly, is a man of action and vision who lives out his religious belief through political activity and struggle. He is charismatic with enormous personal charm and persuasiveness.
After a conventional middle-class upbringing, Reeves felt pushed by God to be ordained. Following an apprenticeship at Maidstone, where he was already a controversial figure, Reeves became Chaplain to the notorious Anglican bishop Mervyn Stockwood. He was thus trained in an atmosphere of socialist politics with a tinge of sexual ambiguity. Stockwood is just one of the figures about whom Reeves writes with relish and acuity in this volume of memoirs.
After being radicalized in Chicago in 1968 he carried the revolution to a housing estate in South London. Reeves’ heyday was as Rector of St James`s Church in Piccadilly, a space he filled with extraordinary worship, celebrated pulpit dialogues, a coffee house, street market and through which there was an endless march of gurus, leading international film-makers, writers, theologians and politicians.
Reeves had several brushes with Margaret Thatcher. He has also been an adviser to Rio Tinto on corporate responsibility and worked for Mittal Steel in Bosnia. Today he devotes himself to working for peace in the Balkans, a region he argues which could so easily disintegrate into messy conflict again. Reeves never lets the grass grow under his feet. His energy is inexhaustible (even in his seventies) and this energy pulsates through the pages of this fascinating book.
A Tender Bridge: A Journey To Another Europe
By Peter Pelz & Revd Donald Reeves
On 14 November 2001 a long awaited launch of the book Tender Bridge – a journey to another Europe by Peter Pelz and Donald Reeves was held in London. The book tells of the authors’ journey, first through Serbia, and then to Bosnia, undertaken in an attempt to understand the nature of the divisions between the peoples in Bosnia and make steps towards healing these divisions.
Tender Bridge is also a strong criticism of the apathy of Western Europe towards the events in the Balkans during the nineties.
Peter Pelz and Reverend Donald Reeves do not need much introduction. Their actions speak for themselves. They are the leading figures in the Soul of Europe, the organisation which has initiated a ground breaking project in Banja Luka in Western Bosnia, the ultimate aim of which is to bring reconciliation, regeneration and prosperity to this city. Coventry Consultations, held in September 2001, were a part of this process and achieved a success which, for the Bosnian political climate, falls short of a miracle. The process used in Banja Luka could then serve as a model for other cities and towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The strength, determination, endurance, and particularly the actions of these two visionaries are met with admiration and respect from all sides. Peter Pelz and Donald Reeves are praised by all the leading figures in the Bosnian political life. These include Mr Wolfgang Petritsch, the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Prime ministers of the two entities which make up Bosnia, the Republic of Serpska and the Bosnian Federation, as well as the leaders of the three main religious groups. With their humanity and the sincere desire to help the people in Bosnia, Pelz and Reeves touched the hearts of all those present at the book launch.
Also present at the launch were several figures from the local and national media, culture and the business world. The guest of honour was the patron of the Soul of Europe, British comedian Jack Dee. Addressing the audience of about seventy, Mr Dee expressed his strong support for the projects that the Soul of Europe is undertaking and in particular the project of rebuilding the Ferhadija Mosque in Banja Luka.
The Soul of Europe is taking giant steps towards reconciliation and regeneration in Bosnia. Their work is supported by experts from the International Business Leaders Forum Prince of Wales. In addition to the project in Banja Luka, the Soul of Europe has started a similar initiative in the city if Bihac. The third project is currently being planned in Mostar, and in some other cities and larger towns in Bosnia. These developments are of crucial importance for the future of the country. We therefore urge all those who wish to help the regeneration of Bosnia and its integration into Europe to buy and read this book.