Famous Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie recently directed a movie called In the Land of Blood and Honey in which Serbs are depicted as raping Muslim women prisoners during the Bosnian War. As the movie doesn’t show the conduct of Bosnian soldiers, among the Serbian public it has been characterized as one-sided and anti-Serbian. We now talk to Milenko Sreckovic from Pokret za slobodu (Freedom Fight Movement), a movement that wrestles with consequences of the neoliberal project in Serbia and organizes a horizontal movement of workers and peasants.
Do you also consider this movie to be anti-Serbian?
Angelina Jolie’s movie In the Land of Blood and Honey, together with accompanying statements of the director herself, supports military interventionism against the countries whose regimes aren’t favored by the USA. Her movie is not meant to be against Serbia and the Serbian people, but it is directed against Syria, Iran, and other countries on the USA’s enemy list. Serbs are used in the movie as a well-known symbol for bad guys, originating in the prime of Bosnian war propaganda, but the director’s intention is that the soldiers of the Serbian army should in fact be seen as soldiers of the Syrian or Iranian army — because they are the new enemies against whom there should interventions. They are the ones who are symbolized by the rapists, the bad guys, in her movie.
In her interview with the Balkan branch of Al Jazeera, Angelina Jolie declared that we should reconsider the use of vetoes against “humanitarian interventions” in the Security Council, that the world should intervene in order to stop violence in Syria; and she condemned Russia and China for casting vetoes on the UN Security Council resolution condemning the regime in Damascus. However, Russia and China cast vetoes because their support for the previous intervention for protection of civilians in Libya was misused to take down an inconvenient political faction. It is obvious that the intervention in Libya has only made things worse than before and that the number of civilian victims has increased.
Would an intervention in Bosnia have prevented the war?
In truth, there were interventions in Bosnia and they merely contributed to stirring up existing conflicts. For example, crimes of the Serb Republic army in Srebrenica were a result of the international community’s intervention. In 1993 Srebrenica was declared, by the United Nations Security Council, a safe area inside the Serbian territory. The town, however, wasn’t demilitarized and members of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s army still kept their weapons there. For the following two years they went on killing local Serbian civilians in villages around Srebrenica, using the safe area as a refuge. The UN couldn’t prevent airplanes from bringing weapons because the airspace above Bosnia was under US control. Thorvald Stoltenberg, a UN peace negotiator in Bosnia, personally witnessed the arms smuggling which, in his own words, was conducted by American and Iranian airplanes. Serbs wanted to avenge their compatriots. Since Srebrenica was completely surrounded by Serbian territory, they easily broke into the town, used buses to transport women and children to Muslim territory, and then executed a large number of men who were old enough to participate in armed attacks.
So it seems that Angelina Jolie doesn’t know that the USA did in fact intervene in Bosnia — by providing weapons for mujahedeen and members of al-Qaeda, who have committed atrocities more monstrous than anything she could imagine in her Hollywood mind. Since the mujahedeen taped those murders in order to promote their fight, though, she could find their footages in many places, for example in recent movies of Norwegian director Ola Flyum Sarajevo Ricochet and Srebrenica — A Town Betrayed, made in collaboration with Sarajevo journalist Mirsad Fazlic, a former member of the Bosnian army:
While Russia and China are insisting on negotiations between the Syrian regime and its opposition, the USA is delivering weapons in order to prevent a possible peaceful solution and preparing the ground for military intervention. At the same time, Angelina Jolie is telling us that military intervention in Syria is necessary lest what happened in Bosnia will happen all over again. And what exactly happened in Bosnia, in her black-and-white opinion? Well, there were some bad guys — Serbs — and they were all raping everyone they could: that’s all she knows. The international community should have intervened to stop those bad guys — Serbs — from raping everyone, as they do in her movie. In accordance with Angelina’s wishes, the USA has announced that it will intervene in Syria independently of the UN Security Council. Al-Qaeda and the USA will once more become allies — as they were during the Bosnian war, which is what Angelina’s movie doesn’t mention at all. This movie prepares the public opinion for what follows: and what follows could bring about a Third World War. In the Land of Blood and Honey is just Angelina’s humble contribution to increasing the chances for that outcome.
Djurdja Nikacevic is a journalist from Serbia. She can be reached at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.