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Bosnian Rape Victims Protest Angelina Jolie Movie

Nov 30, 2010 – 8:33 AM
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Lauren Frayer

Lauren Frayer Contributor

(Nov. 30) -- Bosnian rape victims from the 1990s want Angelina Jolie stripped of her title as a "goodwill ambassador" for the United Nations because of rumors that a new film she's directing tells the story of a Muslim woman who falls in love with her Serbian rapist.

A group called Women Victims of War, which represents victims of sexual violence in the Balkans, sent a letter Monday to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a U.N. refugee agency Jolie has traveled with on aid missions to Kosovo, Pakistan, Darfur and several other hot spots. The association said its members were "deeply concerned" about Jolie's new film, her directorial debut.
Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie is shown on the set of a movie she's directing about a Bosnian Muslim detainee and her former boyfriend, a Serbian prison guard. A group that represents victims of sexual violence in the Balkans says it's "deeply concerned" about the film.

The film, whose title has not yet been released, follows a fictional love story between a Bosnian Muslim detainee and her former boyfriend, a Serbian prison guard, trapped on opposite sides of the 1992-95 Bosnian war. Jolie's producers have denied rumors that the plot line includes rape, but some victims' groups are still upset that the film might glamorize a painful episode in Balkan history.

"Angelina Jolie's ignorant attitude towards victims says enough about the scenario and gives us the right to continue having doubts about it," WVW's letter to the U.N. said, according to Agence France-Presse.

"Angelina made a big mistake. We feel that she did not act like a real UNHCR ambassador, and we believe that she has no more credibility to remain the ambassador," the letter said.

This isn't the first time the group has voiced concerns about Jolie's film. After rumors about its plot surfaced last month, WVW tried to pressure local officials in Bosnia, where many of the scenes were scheduled to be filmed, to revoke Jolie's filming permits. But the Hollywood star's producers sent a copy of their script to Bosnia's culture minister, who said he felt comfortable with its contents and reinstated Jolie's permits.

However, Jolie decided to cut her shooting schedule in Bosnia from 10 days to three and moved some operations to Hungary instead, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She said at the time that she wanted to meet with Bosnian rape victims to clear up any misunderstanding.

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Jolie invited the women to travel to Hungary to watch some scenes being filmed. But Bakira Hasecic, head of WVW, declined the invitation and insisted that Jolie travel to Bosnia instead to meet the rape victims in their home country, The Associated Press reported. Such a meeting has not yet happened.

"Crimes were committed here, in Bosnia, and we want to meet her here," Hasecic told AFP. "We wanted to talk woman to woman. She should have asked after the victims, come [to Bosnia] before the shooting to hear our voice."

The 1992-95 war between Bosnia's Croats, Muslims and Serbs claimed some 100,000 lives. Government officials estimate that at least 20,000 mostly Muslim women were raped during the conflict.
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