|Dear Nenad, |
It was both a personal and professional pleasure to see you in San Francisco
last month. As we discussed, the profound experience of walking through the
mined vineyards of "Ground Zero in Vukovar" and "Ground Zero in New York"
during the same month of September 2001 is an image etched in my mind
forever. The conclusion in my heart is that terrorism knows no borders, and
the phantom enemy of a landmine represents the most primitive form of terror
to innocent Croatian farmers and families who yearn for the dignity to
cultivate their fields. Each landmine removed is a victory against a
cowardly act of silent terrorism. Death lurks in the fertile soils of
Croatia, and we must engage the world to assist us in removing these deadly
seeds of destruction that sow seeds of hatred for future generations.
As we turn the page to a new year, Roots of Peace is delighted to report
that we are currently demining the Bibijne Vineyard located near the coastal
city of Zadar. According to the International Trust Fund (ITF), the CROMAC
contract was signed on December 7, 2001 through funds raised by
Croatian-born Miljenko Grgich at the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the
Paris Tasting hosted at Domaine Chandon in the Napa Valley. We are also
proud to announce that our initial donation of $30,000 was matched by the US
Government to support our efforts totally $77,000 in demining funds for the
Bibijne Vineyards...now that's a special "global toast to peace" for the new
year--from MINES TO VINES!
Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, joined Dr. Dijana Plestina
and my son, Brooks, in September 2001 as we toured these mine affected
vineyards while meeting with the local farmers, whose sole desire was to
cultivate these bountiful vineyards. We shared the fruits of the first
harvest season of the new millennium with these Croatian vintners, and
remain deeply proud that we are now able to return mines to vines in the
village of Bibijne. We donated these RoP funds in honor of UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan on United Nations Day--October 24, 2001--and
are delighted to see these funds leveraged by the US Government, ITF, and
CROMAC in such a prompt, effective manner to accelerate demining.
As we discussed, I would like to plan a traditional "Blessing of the Grapes"
ceremony during the Spring planting season, when Croatian-born vintner
Miljenko Grgich will be traveling back to his homeland in early June 2002.
I would like to propose that we have an ecumenical blessing with leaders of
the Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim Church at a special Roots of Peace event
entitled "Ground Hero" honoring all the public-private partnerships that
contributed to our efforts to plant the roots of peace. Such an event would
inspire global citizens to replicate this model in mine affected regions
throughout the world--whether the grapes are fermented or not! Your gift of
music could be incorporated into this worldwide celebration, and of course,
the voices of local children singing cultural songs would add to the
humanitarian efforts of this special day...deeply inspiring future
generations in the spirit of hope!
Please let me know your thoughts, as we weave this global trellis of peace
With Kindest Regards,
distributed by CROWN - www.croatianworld.net - CroWorldNet@aol.com
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