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    The Bosnian Government vs Angelina Jolie

    by earwicga
    15th October, 2010 at 11:19 am    

    News agencies are reporting that Angelina Jolie has been been banned from filming in Bosnia-Hercegovina.  Rumours about Jolie’s latest film project, first  printed in Variety, have been reported in Bosnia-Hercegovina and have inflamed women’s groups.  The government has quickly taken the opportunity to use rape victims to express their outrage.

    Now, I haven’t read the script of Jolie’s film, and neither has anybody else outside the project so all I can do when looking at this story is consider the backgrounds of both parties.

    Jolie has supported human rights all around the world.  She is  a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR and has visited refugee camps in many countries, including Bosnia-Hercegovina and talked to thousands of victims.  Jolie has used her position to highlight injustice, and her money to help.  Obviously she could have now decided to make an incredibly insensitive film about victims of rape.  The producers say not - “The stories about the film which have recently been circulated are incorrect.”

    The government of Bosnia Hercegovina don’t even know how many victims of rape are in their country.  The victims of rape or the children who were conceived from rape have never been supported in any meaningful way.  In 2002 rape victims were offered monentary compensation.  The victims of rape camps were offered half the amount of the victims of war camps.  Because they had been ignored for so many years there were ‘problems’:

    “In a traditional society with a huge stigma attached to rape it is unusual for women to report it, and at a later stage it is difficult to establish it medically,” says Slobodan Nagradic, Deputy Minister for Human Rights and Refugees. “So now women are coming forward and we have no way of knowing if they have really been raped or not. There are no living eyewitnesses and 10 to 12 years later it is difficult to establish the authenticity of these women’s claims. Many are very poor and may just be doing it for the money.”

    There are ‘living eyewitnesses’ - the women and men themselves.  The victims who live in poverty as a result of being cast out or as a result of their injuries, both physical and psychological.  A very tiny proportion of rape victims receive this compensation.

    Marijana Senjak, a psychologist working for the NGO Medica in Zenica, which assists women who have been abused, says ‘ A lot of politicians have taken advantage of the women’s plight and used the issues of war rape for their own ends. The state has done nothing to organise a unified response to women’s needs.

    “It has used war rape as a political tool and a means to get money, nothing else.’

    The government of Bosnia-Hercegovina are grasping at straws trying to defend rape victims.  If this film is insensitive to rape victims then Jolie will be judged on that - we have to wait and see.  We already have the evidence of how Bosnian rape victims have been ‘living’ for the last 15 years.

    H/T: Women’s Views On News

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    Filed in: Current affairs

    12 Comments below   |   Add your own

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. sunny hundal

      Blogged: : The Bosnian Government vs Angela Jolie http://bit.ly/9jSXhk

    2. Gareth Winchester

      RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : The Bosnian Government vs Angela Jolie http://bit.ly/9jSXhk

    3. House Of Twits

      RT @sunny_hundal Blogged: : The Bosnian Government vs Angela Jolie http://bit.ly/9jSXhk

    4. Press Not Sorry

      RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : The Bosnian Government vs Angela Jolie http://bit.ly/9jSXhk

    5. Denise Taylor

      Pickled Politics » The Bosnian Government vs Angela Jolie: “It has used war rape as a political tool and a means t… http://bit.ly/9xew5J

    1. An Old Friend — on 15th October, 2010 at 4:46 pm  

      Not sure what Jolie wants her film to accomplish. Is her stardom supposed to get her everything? On another note and on another continent (one where two of her children were born, Zaharah and Shiloh) there has been a long rape campaign against, BLACK* women girls, boys and even babies.

      *I put black in caps so people wouldnt stop reading afterwards.

    2. joe90 — on 15th October, 2010 at 10:08 pm  

      If the bosnian government have neglected the plight of women who have been victims of rape that can be debated.

      But the central point is officials in the bosnian government assume the film in question portrays the victims in a bad light. I would have thought it was right to put a halt to production and ask for a copy of the script to clarify matters.

    3. isa — on 15th October, 2010 at 11:32 pm  

      Apparently the outrage (shared by many women’s groups) is that the Bosnian woman raped falls in “love” with her Serbian rapists. Maybe not the best moral message to send.


      “Bosnia’s culture minister Gavrilo Grahovac took the decision after it was claimed the movie’s plot is about a Muslim rape victim who falls in love with her Serbian attacker.

      The rumour provoked outrage from the Women Victims of War Association, a body that represents the victims of the mass rapes perpetrated during the Bosnian War.

      After describing the idea as ‘insulting’ and ‘impossible’, the group put pressure on the government to ban the film.”

    4. earwicga — on 16th October, 2010 at 10:43 am  

      Joe 90, from the Yahoo article linked to in the post:

      The culture minister said that while he could not stop the film from being shot somewhere else, revoking the filming license was a way to “express our disapproval for the shooting of a movie which does not tell the truth and hurts a large number of victims“.

      A stunning piece of hyprocrisy. The Bosnian government have never given a shit about rape victims.

      isa - so you’ve read the script? As I’ve written in the post, it is possible that Jolie is making a film which offends, but has denied the storyline of the film is the one that you describe.

    5. MaidMarian — on 16th October, 2010 at 12:16 pm  

      earwicga - In the Balkans, this is an issue that is beyond radioactive. Try Susan L Woodward’s ‘Balkan Tragedy,’ for an account of how rape became a weapon of the war, in particular the Foca camp. Amnesty International (in the days before it jumped the shark) also wrote on Foca.

      The very existence of this is, to this day, the subject of the most stringent denials in Serbia and Greece and the rest of the Glorious Orthodox Brotherhood.

      Even being seen to touch on the subject is to invite the strongest of responses. I’m not for a minute saying it is right, but the Bosnian government does not have anything like as free a hand in this as you would like to believe. Not least because of its Serb minorities.

    6. damon — on 16th October, 2010 at 12:41 pm  

      Given the sectarian mess that is Bosnian politics and having so many MPs and different political bodies - it looks like someone is playing politics here.
      My guess is that the synopsis of the film was deliberately misrepresented by someone with an ulterior motive.
      The same thing happened with Monica Ali’s film Brick Lane I think.

    7. earwicga — on 16th October, 2010 at 12:42 pm  

      damon - I agree with you. *going to lay down in a darkened room now*

      I’m also wondering whether EU funding reviews are ongoing.

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