Angelina Jolie could hardly have chosen a more difficult subject for her directorial debut. „In the Land of Blood and Honey“ focuses on violence against women in the recent and bloody war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-95).
(…) Our organization grew out of a grassroots movement that arose in reaction to an omission of Serb victims of the Jasenovac death camp in a Spanish TV program: http://antisrbizam.com/en/rtve-apology/7-prevod/4
Following our first success, we have made it our mission to monitor Anti-Serb hate speech and media bias.
The recent premieres of ”In the Land of Blood and Honey” gave us a long awaited opportunity to analyze it in order to ascertain the truth of allegations of anti-Serb slant.
Using content analysis, we counted the characters appearing in scenes depicting violence and categorized them based on a number of criteria including gender (male, female), role (civilian, soldier), ethical valence (victim, perpetrator), and ethnicity (Muslim, Serb, Croat). We then compared the observed frequencies with available official statistics.
The complete analysis including written and verbal references to violence and additional criteria will follow shortly. However, the preliminary results are sufficiently conclusive:
1. All war criminals are Serbs.
2. None of the civilian victims are Serbs.
3. All civilian victims are Muslims.
(…) There is a significant discrepancy between our findings and the facts.
In reality, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina was a civil war not between two, but three constituent peoples: Muslims (or Bosniaks), Serbs and Croats. All three fought each other, all committed atrocities, including systematic abuse of women, and all fell victim to such atrocities.
Serb women were systematically raped by Muslim and Croat perpetrators in prison camps in Sarajevo, Odžak, Konjic, Kladanj, Dretelj, Bosanski Brod, Visoko, Čelebići, Tarčin, Mostar, and Tuzla, to mention but the most notorious locations.
The regional premiere of ”In the Land of Blood and Honey” was held in the Zetra Centre – one of many Sarajevo camps in which Serb women were detained and raped.
The statistical breakdown of victim numbers and their ethnic background is available only as an estimate. The Sarajevo-based Research and Documentation Center estimated that the Bosnian War resulted in approximately 100,000 victims, 66% of whom were Muslims, 26% Serbs and 8% Croats. The same Center has condemned the claim of 20,000 victims of rape as a “complete exaggeration” and manipulation. In comparison, Jolie asserts that „as many as 50,000 Bosnian women were raped“.
Other reliable research reports a total of 30,700 Serb victims, of which c. 8,500 only in Sarajevo.
Ignoring Serb victims would in itself represent an act of discrimination and disrespect. But Jolie makes this worse by doing nothing to exempt Serb victims from generalized blame, or suggest culpability of the Muslim perpetrators.
According to Jolie, the film was meant to honor the victims of the war. However, it has achieved exactly the opposite – it has discriminated, omitted, vilified and disempowered victims on ethnic grounds.
(…) In the memorable closing scene, the Serb character Daniel repeats: „I’m a war criminal“. He voices a consensus: Serbs are criminals.
This movie clearly shows how deep and dangerous Anti-Serb prejudice is, when it can turn a women’s rights activist into an accomplice in demeaning rape victims.
Fighting this prejudice is a necessary precondition for reconciliation of the Balkan nations, which can be built only on the truth.