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Peace crumbles on the way to Sarajevo.

SPLIT, Croatia -- About 40 Americans -- Protestants, Catholics, Jews and nonbelievers -- joined 800 or so others from 15 countries in laying their lives on the line for peace in one of the most bestial wars of our time. A presence for peace in besieged Sarajevo was their goal.

It was a venture fraught with fond hopes and a grand vision. They left Ancona, Italy, by ferry Aug. 1, with pace (peace) flags flapping and songs and cheers from the dock swelling their sails. Ten days later, they were back in Split, on the Croatian coast, the war having blasted their Sarajevo dreams to bits, their hopes a rubble around them. Yet, many say the vision of a global presence for peace in areas of conflict had survived and would grow from the messy compost the Mir Sada (Peace Now) convoy had become.

Ironically, crossing to Croatia on an Adriatic smooth as milk under a full moon was the last moment of peace the peace pilgrims experienced. The rest was a degenerating diet of discussion and dispute, anger, disillusionment, danger and distrust. Their overloaded buses broke down. Two of their cars were stolen at gunpoint, some of the women were molested. They were hot and dirty. They spent three days camping near Prozor, in central Bosnia and Herzegovina, with no running water, no toilet facilities, no refuge from the Balkan sun, sometimes amid the roar of artillery rounds and the crackle of small-arms fire.

And all the while they were arguing whether or not to push on into the maw of a war even long-time mercenaries say is the most vicious they have seen.

But for many of the peace people that was not enough. As one American put it, "I am not going to go home with my greatest sacrifice being a sunburn on my neck and arms."

Wars rage on rumors, each one a devil in disguise, and this war is no exception. One moment they were barreling off to Sarajevo. The next they were retreating to Split. Then Radio Monte Carlo was reporting they had been pinned in a crossfire and were being held hostage by the Croats.

There was no stability, no peace. From moment to moment, often far into the night, every option of procedure and process, tactic, strategy and logistics was debated to the bone in small-, large- and medium-sized groups. It was an exercise in direct democracy that convinced many participants of the value of a representative system, no matter how corrupt.

Where did this great, crawling monster come from, with its 80 or so cars, trucks and buses snaking across the Bosnian landscape? Oddly enough, it was as much a creation of war as the bombed-out Muslim houses in Prozor or the refugee children romping hotel lobbies in Split -- a reality reared through a leap of faith, a desperate need to do something, to give peace its chance.

A few days earlier, late July in the old Italian city of Padova, simmering in the lowland sun, it had all seemed much clearer.

Blessed are the peacemakers

Beati i Costruttori de Pace (Blessed Are the Peacemakers) the Italian organization is called. It is headquartered behind the 16th-century wall of Padova's historical district, on a cobbled street closed to vehicular traffic. There is no sign on the red door of the apartment building, only the name of Fr. Albino Bizzotto, the group's founder, above the doorbell.

Upstairs, the rambling apartment has the air of revolution before bureaucracy sets in. There are political posters and paintings on the walls, books and papers all around, backpacks and bedrolls, telephones and a fax machine, a perpetual hurly-burly. It calls up Prague in 1989, students' apartments in Paris and Boston in the 1960s.

Most of the volunteers are young. Maria Lama, 28, shows a visitor around. She is from Aviano, the small town north of Venice where the United States would launch its air strikes against the Serbs around Sarajevo.

But there are older people as well. Donatelle Perfetti is a university professor from Perugia in the Umbrian region of central Italy. Her asthma will keep her from going to Sarajevo, but she has come to Padova to do what she can, even though it is not as "personally gratifying."

We sit drinking cold tea at a kitchen table. Bizzotto joins us. There he sits wearing his blue-striped polo shirt and simple wooden cross, his thinning brown hair and mild blue eyes somehow belying the urgency of his vision.

Last December, he managed to get 500 peace activists into Sarajevo for a few days. That venture convinced him that a larger effort might be possible. But the first inspiration came to him a year ago this month, on the anniversary of Hiroshima. People have to reject war as a means of solving international problems, he said. Not only pacifists but all people must use to this challenge. If that happens, the people will gradually take back the power from their political and military leaders.

This notion of a global presence for peace has been taking root in the international peace movement in the wake of the Cold War. Witness for Peace in Nicaragua was an early example. There were other attempts in Israel and in Iraq during the Gulf War. But Bizzotto was attempting the largest effort yet.

He ended up collaborating with the French humanitarian relief organization Equi Libre, an experienced nongovernmental organization with both money and clout. Relations between the two groups were edgy from the start. Equi Libre insisted on its name for the project, "Mir Sada," over Bizzotto's "We Share One Peace." Bizzotto gave way. Equi Libre, after all, had the sophisticated communications equipment and logistical expertise, including mechanics for the old Italian buses Bizzotto had contracted.

But that also left Equi Libre holding much of the authority. The worm was deep in the Mir Sada apple long before the convoy shipped out of Ancona.

Yet, there was hardly a hint of that in Padova in late July. Bizzotto was buoyant. In response to criticism that he was asking people to risk their lives, he said no one was looking to risk his or her life (which turned out not to be true). The situation in Bosnia is especially difficult, he said, but "we are going there to work for life, not for death."

A vacation it wasn't

The original plan was to have a peace presence in Sarajevo for three months, June into September, but the war kept chewing up the schedule. By the end of July Mir Sada was hoping for at least the first two weeks in August.

Equi Libre boasted it could marshal 10,000 volunteers. In the event, they came up with a couple of hundred and the Italians far outnumbered them. August, after all, is the French vacation month and Bosnia was no place for a holiday.

The train from Padova to Ancona skirts miles and miles of beaches, most of them thick with vacationers on July 31. For a reporter with one foot already in the Bosnian twilight zone, it was a small shock to realize that for most people life was going on as usual.

Mir Sada officials had been cavalier about finding the meeting place in Ancona. "Just go to the port," they said, "there are signs everywhere." As it turned out, there were no signs at the port and no sign of anyone except a crush of German and French tourists sweating in the 95-degree heat and waiting for ferries to Greece. The vast metal building where Mir Sada was assembling was nearly a mile from the main port. Almost everyone had trouble finding it, a mild portent of confusions to come.

The Americans had already staked out their territory on the concrete floor. They were a motley bunch. Consider, for example, Kathy Kelly, 40, a Chicago school teacher who served time for peace protests in Missouri, marched for peace in Israel, Iraq and Sarajevo last December, a born leader, adamant and irrepressible.

Or Scott Schaeffer-Duffy and Christopher Doucot, both Catholic Workers from New England, both with young families at home.

Or Tom Malthaner, 49, from Rochester, N.Y., and Peter Cary, 57, a retired Marine chaplain and Vietnam veteran from Hereford, Ariz.

Or Fr. Peter Dougherty and Mary Thomas, part of a Michigan group that set out to raise $4,000 to meet expenses and ended up with $15,000, all donated.

Or Willa Elam, 50, from Rockledge, Fla., round and buxom with an easy laugh and maternal air, the only black in the convoy (except for an American expatriate living in France, who heard about Mir Sada in a bar and tagged along). Willa Elam turned out, as one American put it, to be "one hell of a woman."

"I'm a party girl," she said. "These wars get in the way of my fun so I'm going to stop them." Like water in a lock, Elam could lift the spirits of anyone around her.

Spirits needed lifting as the days unfolded. But that Sunday evening in Ancona it was cookies and cream. One driver worried because her bus had bowed under the weight of water and backpacks stuffed with food, but no one else seemed to pay it much mind. Kathy Kelly, a rail of a woman with a big voice, began singing "Blowin' in the Wind," as volunteers staggered up the gangplank under their loads. They were people of peace, but Italy was sending them off as if they were going to war.

And they were.

But not just yet. Many of them were tossing back a few at the ferry bar, James Barham among them. A shambling, bookish man from Lancaster, Pa., Barham had been married to a Serb, lived in Belgrade for four years. He had been espousing liberal causes since the Vietnam era, he said, but this was the first time he had actually done anything. Reading George-Orwell's Homage to Catalonia had shamed him into giving Mir Sada a try, although he was not a pacifist and not religiously inclined.

Many did not have cabins. The deck was so crowded with sleeping bodies there was barely room to walk. At dawn, off the craggy Croatian coast, three Buddhist monks, two men and a woman, chanted and beat their prayer drums into the rising sun. Every day of the pilgrimage they did the same, sometimes with artillery shells ripping the sky.

By midmorning the peace brigade had made camp in a wooded park not far from the Split soccer stadium. At the Hotel Split, a pricey communist creation where the telephones, TVs and elevators work only occasionally, a French NGO worker, Cedric Galbe, just back from Sarajevo, said the fighting was intense along the road. "The Croatian army is glad to see you coming," he said. "They will take your food and your cars. If you go without an escort, there will be only bloodshed."

The day, Aug. 2, was rife with such horror stories. Already some volunteers were saying the project should be abandoned in Split because the danger was too severe. It was becoming quickly clear that the Equi Libre contingent was more conservative than the Italians. The U.S. delegation pushed to move ahead.

That evening, a U.N. representative, British Maj. Simon Wolsky, warned: "You could be making things worse. We will have to shoot and kill people to protect you."

Bizzotto looked tired and depressed. "Everyone who has a feeling for life and loves life, they don't want to die," he said. "But that love of life can lead you to take chances you would never have felt possible." The French disagreed. They wanted to wait another 24 hours.

So the next day, Aug. 3, was given over to more meetings, both general assemblies and smaller units of 10 or more people called affinity groups. Because the Croatians had reneged on a promise of more buses, probably for political reasons, there was talk of walking to Sarajevo and using the buses as relay shuttles.

Only the most ardent believed, however, that many pilgrims would make it more than 100 miles over the mountains. The average age of the American group was about 45, significantly older than the Europeans.

The road to Sarajevo

By late morning Aug. 3, the plan to walk had been abandoned. Some people had sacrificed their bus seats to others. As one American woman put it, "There are those with a commitment to going that is purer than mine. Mine has too many strings."

Nevertheless, the caravan that set out for the Bosnian border was nearly a mile long -- buses, festooned with Mir Sada stickers and flags. There were about 20 journalists, most of them Italian.

Military checkpoints were frequent, the going slow. This was dry, rocky, plateau country, apparently fit for little more than grazing goats and sheep and a few herds of milk cows. Late in the day, the convoy ended up on a mountain road so new it was not on the map, clearly another creation of the war. It was an agony of rocks and dirt, twists, heaves and holes, with grades that at times seemed almost to pitch straight up through the evergreens.

Croatian army, U.N. and other relief convoys plied the road day and night. That any of the decrepit Italian buses made it had to be counted as a minor act of God. This was guerrilla warfare terrain beyond imagining, turning tanks to dinosaurs and leaving little wonder why so many nations were reluctant to commit ground troops here.

Night came down as the convoy descended into the basin near Prozor. From the rear, you could see the lights of the lead vehicles snaking far below. Villagers stood by the road to watch. There were standstills of 10 or 20 minutes. It was hot. People got out of their vehicles during the delays and swilled mineral water by the liter.

Finally, toward midnight, the convoy came to rest in a cow pasture by a reservoir near the village of Rumboci. There were no trees. Cow patties and thistles abounded on the overgrazed land. But bedrolls were spread and tents went up. The French and Italians broke out wine and bread and real glasses and hot food, while most of the Americans ate peanuts and raisins and molding bread.

Except for Willa Elam. Her 80-pound pack bulged with tins of the finest fish and meat. "I'm an only child," she said. "Even when I go to jail for peace actions I have my stuff about me. I'm spoiled."

It was a splendid dawn. Cocks crowed. A church bell rang. The three Buddhists were praying by the lake. Then three artillery rounds split the sky -- a horrendous noise, alien, ripping, as if someone were tearing the guts out of heaven. Some campers bounded from bed. Others burrowed deeper. But the cocks went on crowing. The church bell rang. The cows grazed and the Buddhists drummed their dreams into the dawn.

Even so, it was enough to convince most of the peace pilgrims that they were in a war. With sleep still crusting their eyes, Schaeffer-Duffy and Barham plunged into an argument about pacifist principles. Barham said he would go back to Split that moment if he thought his presence was obstructing a U.S. air strike on the Serbs surrounding Sarajevo. Schaeffer-Duffy countered that many activists were there precisely to prevent such a strike. With half a step back, Barham especially, the studious humanitarian, would have no doubt seen the Kafkaesque comedy of such a debate at dawn in a war zone. The BBC World Service was reporting that the Serbs had cut the last highway into Sarajevo from the west, closing their circle around the city, and that there was heavy fighting about 20 miles no north of the peace camp.

There were two portable toilets at either end of the camp, one for men and the other for women. Some used them, simply sat there in full view of everyone, serenely contemplating the mountains. Most squatted where they could, littering the perimeter with mounds of excrement flying white flags of toilet paper.

The day turned hellish as the sun climbed and the heat crunched down. A Croatian helicopter landed near the camp and evacuated some wounded soldiers. All day, people met, argued, plotted in groups big and small. Tempers shortened with the noon shadows. The Americans, Greeks and many Italians were pushing to press on. Equi Libre demurred.

Kathy Kelly was elected chair of the midday general assembly. Many criticized her for exploiting her role to press the American agenda for immediate departure for Sarajevo. Some saw the Americans as arrogant and abrasive, while other looked to them for backbone. Distrust dominated every group as the entire Mir Sada leadership, French and Italians alike, came into question. Kelly commented that she had been on the Mir Sada international committee but now they did not even tell her where they were holding the meetings.

One rumor was that the Croatian army had offered to escort the convoy to Muslim territory, firing a fierce debate in the American camp. Michael Morrill argued that "if we accept an armed escort, they've won." (The Americans and others had balked at a U.N. escort for the same reason.) Morrill, from Harrisburg, Pa., had a reasonable and articulate air, but he was adamant throughout for sticking with the gospel's call for sacrifice. Others were calling for compromise.

Three women from the village above the lake walked down to the camp and talked with Sr. Helen Plivelic, an American in her 60s, who speaks Serbo-Croatian (only in these parts you had best simply call the language Croatian). They stood the in the sun, the village women in their babushkas and Plivelic under her straw hat with its artificial yellow flowers, and the women told her the convoy was a danger to them. "If even one of you is killed, many Croats will die (in reprisal)," they said.

But late that afternoon a truck loaded with fresh water came down from the village so the campers could fill their containers. Meetings went on into the night. Many feared Mir Sada would retreat to Split. Some said that if that happened they would employ nonviolent tactics and refuse to leave.

People milled about, arguing, snapping. The camp seemed to be collapsing into chaos, as if it were a dirty, degenerating sprawl of refugees trapped in some backwater of war. Some saw that as a profoundly sad image of what was happening to the peace movement. Others counted it a blessing simply to have the sun go down. Sometimes peace is a solitary swim in night, water.

Roads divide

A general assembly was called at 7:30 the next morning. Bizzotto had arrived from Split overnight, along with Equi Libre official Alain Michel. Together they had driven the tortuous night road through the mountains, but they seemed to have ended up even farther apart.

Still, Bizzotto's presence seemed to lift the hearts of many of the Italians. He had stayed in Split to wait for a second wave of pilgrims crossing from Ancona. Running on even less sleep than most of the campers, he looked fresh, closely shaved, in his blue polo shirt and gray slacks.

He said the Italian foreign ministry told him yesterday that the route to Sarajevo was far too dangerous and if the convoy went on the government would disassociate itself from it entirely.

"This war has never respected anyone and people may use us," be said. "Someone even at this moment may be considering us as hostages. ... But to stop now would be to give way to the laws of war."

He asked anyone "with even the slightest doubt or reservation" to go back and join the others in Split. Ten years ago, he would not have had the strength to go on, he said. At that moment, a shell ripped across the sky.

Then Michel spoke. "I find this situation almost unreal," he said. The war is going to intensify over the next five days. "Going further takes on the logic of the martyr," Michel said. So Equi Libre was withdrawing and Michel said he would not salute those who chose to go on. "The need to continue is pretentious and futile," he said.

Bizzotto responded that the group had never taken on a Holocaust mentality and would not proceed recklessly.

All morning, the small groups debated what to do. Many were worried about the unity of the project. But in the end so many people wanted to push on to Sarajevo that there would not be enough buses left to take them. More than 100 additional people would have to opt for Split. Older and handicapped people began to be pressured aside, which struck some as unfair.

Thomas Saffold, one of at least half a dozen participants from Michigan, said he would volunteer for Split for the benefit of the group. "Too many people are thinking as individuals" he said. "I signed on with the group."

It was another blistering day. Many people had tied cords around their plastic water bottles so they could wear them around their waist or over their shoulder. Mir Sada had warned against swimming naked for fear of offending the local people.

Several Americans and a Swedish journalist made a noon foray to Prozor for food and water. Many of the shops and houses had been damaged or destroyed. Some were already being rebuilt. There were no Muslims left. Soldiers were everywhere. Fruit and some other foods were scarce. The only store with any bread left refused to sell it to the foreigners.

Equi Libre Pulled out for Split about midafternoon, taking most of the communications and other logistical equipment with it in a convoy of several hundred people. The rest had decided to wait for the convoy from the second wave of volunteers due to arrive from Split that evening, then proceed together on to Sarajevo.

The atmosphere changed after Equi Libre left, as if they had towed the tension of the last days with them. A man stood alone in a field 300 yards from the camp, playing a violin. People broke out guitars and there was group singing all around.

Local kids were roaming the camp in droves, begging sweets and stealing what they could, becoming peskier every day. By the time the last convoy left, they were trying to slash tires.

It was Friday, Aug. 6, the anniversary of Hiroshima, which had been part of Bizzotto's inspiration for the peace project. He celebrated a Mass at 6 that evening. The violin player was there, some guitars and a makeshift Italian choir that had apparently been practicing all afternoon. Some village women had baked bread for the Mass.

Thunder and artillery fire punctuated the liturgy. During the consecration, lightning crashed across the hills behind Bizzotto and the convoy from Split began to arrive. Some people took these as signs from God.

But signs from God can be read many ways, depending upon where you are standing when the lightning strikes. Soldiers stole the last car in the convoy at gunpoint, only 200 yards from the camp, taking the occupants' documents and all their other belongings.

Meanwhile, the camp surged out to greet the newcomers, singing and shouting, mobbing each car as it came in and rocking it until the wheels nearly left the ground. (The next morning, Bizzotto admonished them for their behavior. "You behave like people who live in peace, not people living in war," he said, again implying how inappropriate such behavior was when people in the village were mourning their war dead.)

That night a general assembly was called. There was urgent news. A Mir Sada party had scouted the road to Gornji Vakuf, where there was heavy fighting. They were machine-gunned on the highway and escaped only by driving at top speed. The lumbering convoy buses would be sitting ducks, they said. Once again Mir-Sada was urging a return to Split.

Cries of "Liars!" and "Manipulators!" raged out as the camp again plunged toward chaos.

While an American reporter was at the meeting, Willa Elam and the Swedish journalist, Goran Bockman, were sitting in the American's rental car on the edge of camp, Bockman in back and Elam in the right front. Two soldiers, probably Ustasha irregulars, appeared out of the dark, cocked their Kalashnikovs and said they wanted the car. One spoke German as did the Swede, who offered them some Pepsi instead. They were not impressed. Both Bockman and Elam were roughed up as the soldiers searched for the car keys.

Luckily, the American reporter had the keys in his pocket. He came back, saw what was happening and went for help. Before he returned, the soldiers had gone off in frustration. Another car was stolen soon after.

Soldiers roamed the camp for most of the night. Men were urged to sleep in a circle around the women. At least two women had been molested earlier.

"Could anybody have told me what I was getting myself into?" Elam asked. She had been on peace marches in New England and sabotaged redwood logging on the Pacific Coast, but never anything like this. And she had sold her car and quit her job to get here. Her conviction was that if women simply stopped making love to men, especially soldiers, wars would cease. Shades of ancient Greece!

Sarajevo, mon amour

By early the next morning, Mir Sada had done another flip-flop. Last night's decision to return to Split had been made in the heat of the moment, they said. It was still possible to explore ways of going to Sarajevo. An appeal for the international community to guarantee the group's basic human rights would be given to the U.N. Mir Sada was recommending another day of prayer and reflection to regain the basic unity of the project.

Hardly anyone seemed to want that. Go to Sarajevo or go to Split, but go somewhere. Today. That was the mood. It was clear to everyone, that the convoy had worn out its welcome in Prozor.

Anger and division snarled another morning of meetings and debate. The camp was on the edge of anarchy. "We may be witnessing the disintegration of the peace movement," Catholic Worker Schaeffer-Duffy said.

He was so depressed that be went and put on the clown outfit, complete with makeup, that he had brought to entertain the children of Sarajevo. Shortly after noon, he shouldered his pack and, still in his clown costume, started walking to Sarajevo. With him were at least five other Americans, including Kathy Kelly, Christopher Doucot and Michael Morrill, along with a Greek couple and a Dutch priest sporting a wild gray beard.

They did not get far. A soldier with an interpreter told them there was a curfew at 9 and they would be shot, the women raped. They said they would keep walking and find a family to stay with. The soldier drove off.

A woman with a baby talked with them. She was a Catholic refugee living with Muslim refugees. Doucot said the baby looked a lot like his and be thought God was telling him he should be taking another look at the situation.

Then the soldier came back. Bizzotto was with him. The soldier said they should go with Bizzotto or they would be arrested and probably expelled from the country. Finally, they agreed. This soldier broke out a bottle of plum brandy and offered drinks all around.

Meanwhile, a compromise. (unsatisfactory to nearly everyone) had been thrashed out at the camp. The convoy would go to the U.N. camp on the mountain road to Split. There they would present their international appeal. In the morning they would decide which direction to go.

Many people saw this as a subterfuge to get everyone headed back toward Split. Some refused to go. Among them was a 23-year-old Norwegian woman, Heidi Hovind. She asked Elam to stay with her so she would not be the only woman. Elam agreed ("I couldn't leave that little girl here alone"), then proceeded to try to talk her out of it ("for my own sake," as Elam put it).

"Peace people are so cowardly and so easily manipulated," Hovind said. But in the end she tearfully agreed to go with the convoy.

It took three hours for the convoy to heave itself 30 kilometers up the mountain to the U.N. camp. Sometimes people had to get out and push the buses. By the time they reached the British Royal Engineers U.N. camp -- a cluster of buildings and construction equipment in an area bulldozed out of the evergreens -- it was impossible to find anyone happy with much of anything.

The convoy parked along the forest road, barely leaving room for the steady traffic of relief and Croatian army convoys to pass. Some of the Croatian soldiers were drunk and a few fired wildly into the forest. By this time, most of the peace people hardly flinched.

Early the next morning, there was another meeting in front of the gates to the U.N. compound. The night before, Mir Sada officials had spoken with the Croatian commander in Tomislagrad at the foot of the mountain. The commander shared many of Mir Sada's values, they said, and they respected his opinion as more or less objective. It is the fiercest moment of the war, the commander said. He was surprised the convoy had even made it to Prozor, because the area was infested with bandits.

So the decision was that Mir Sada would return to Split. "It is the most unpopular decision I've ever had to make in my life," Bizzotto said. "I am very sad." But he said Mir Sada would disassociate itself from anyone who tried to go on to Sarajevo.

Again the cries of lies and manipulation rang out. A few men almost came to blows. Another French humanitarian group decided to leave for Sarajevo immediately. A few others joined them, including the Norwegian van with Heidi Hovind.

In many ways the Mir Sada project had been demolished. People of all nationalities saw two fundamental mistakes. One had to do with process. Groups in the United States, for example, screened volunteers rigorously. Most of those who ended up going knew pretty well what they might be getting into and were willing to make the sacrifice. Many Europeans joined simply because they saw a Mir Sada poster on a wall in some city.

The second mistake was to collaborate with a humanitarian relief group, because two different philosophies ended up clashing. Equi Libre wanted to deliver relief in the most reasonably efficient way possible, with a minimum of risk to everyone. And they had done tremendous good in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

But the nonviolent activists wanted to establish a presence for peace and were, in large part, prepared to accept the risk. The first approach was humanitarian, sectarian, while the second was largely (although not entirely) religious.

There were no bad guys here. Equi Libre had done and would no doubt go on doing good work. And, in the end, few could fault Bizzotto for his vision or for his sincerity. "I only hope," he said that morning in front of the U.N. camp, "that one day we can start looking each other in the eye again and work on another project."

Many thought that would be possible. Corinellia Sullivan, an American from Boston, said the project had been a training process and the movement would grow. "I never owned a backpack before," she said, "but I will keep one ready now."

Fr. Peter Dougherty said his Michigan Faith and Resistance Peace Team was already planning how to be a presence in future war zones, whether in Los Angeles, Bosnia or Detroit. "This has been a building block," he said. "It is like an army that came together for its first battle and lost it."

Willa Elam was standing by the American reporter's car as the small breakaway convoy left for Sarajevo that Sunday morning. One of the larger French trucks happened to stop nearby. On impulse, Elam asked them if she could go. They said yes. Someone threw her 80-pound pack onto the truck and she was gone.


Later that week, the convoy, about 500 people this time, traveled to Mostar, a longtime war-blasted city southeast of Split. There was heavy firing all around, but the convoy was pelted by rain and stinging bail, instead of bullets. Some Americans refused to leave when ordered and once again many others resented them for putting the whole group at risk.

Chris Doucot said he went into a church in Mostar and saw a single bullet bole through the head of the baby Jesus in a stained-glass window behind the altar. Everything else was intact.

A U.N. report, unconfirmed, said that three Italians from the breakaway group had been taken hostage. U.N. reports are considered notoriously unreliable here.

Another report, equally unconfirmed, said that part of the breakaway group had finally made it to Sarajevo. Among them were Heidi Hovind and Willa Elam.
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Title Annotation:Peace Now pacifist convoy
Author:McCarthy, Tim
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Date:Aug 27, 1993
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