Protests, like anything else, run the gamut from warranted to illogical. The majority of them fall somewhere in between. They stem from concerned parents or downtrodden demographics that think something about to happen is liable to cause more heartache, anguish or bias. A good example of a warranted protest would be the Civil War when Lincoln responded to the South's attack on Fort Sumter. You can't just take it; so, the North unleashed hell in a move people almost universally recognize as proper. A good example of something in the middle might be GLAAD's issues with The Dilemma using the word “gay” to describe electric cars. People use the word gay to describe things they don't like. It's really pretty stupid, but they do. The movie mimicked that speech pattern, GLAAD thought it would further homophobia and most of us saw their point but felt freedom of speech trumps moral outrage. An example of a completely illogical protest will now follow.
According to The Vancouver Sun, Bosnian women's groups are protesting Angelina Jolie's new movie because, well, the goals here are not entirely clear. The new film is set in Europe during Bosnia's ethnic war. A Bosnian prisoner falls for her Serbian guard, and an unlikely love affair ensues. Controversy has been brewing since a local paper falsely reported that the story was about a woman falling in love with her rapist. No such scene exists, and Jolie forward the script to local women's groups as proof. Unfortunately, the victims of sexual violence during the war are still up in arms, and they've sent a letter to the United Nations claiming Jolie has lost credibility as an ambassador and that they are “deeply concerned” about the film.
But why? I'll let the group speak for themselves: “As far as we are concerned, a love story could not have existed in a camp. Such an interpretation is causing us mental suffering.” So, apparently, they're upset with the general premise here, regardless of whether there's rape or not.
I'm not here to belittle or undermine the suffering these women went through. Estimates place the number of women raped during the war at around 20,000. God only knows how many more were dehumanized, murdered or tortured in camps. It's really a horrifying story, but for one group to claim their experiences speak for all the women is simply ridiculous. How many movies have been made about the Holocaust? God only knows, but just the ones I've seen contain everything from murder to betrayal to love. I seriously doubt Angelina Jolie is making a romantic comedy here. There's no way this movie won't address the unspeakable horrors people went through. Why can't that be looked at through the lens of one woman falling in love with one man?
But their issues with Angelina Jolie don't stop there. The group has lambasted the movie star for refusing to meet with them. Unfortunately, like the rape allegation, that's not true either. Jolie offered to sit down with them in Hungary, and they refused because “the crimes were committed… in Bosnia.”
If you really cared about getting the honest story out there, why not agree to meet the filmmaker wherever? It's not like she picked Hungary at random. The movie is shooting there. She invited them on set, but that's not good enough because of well, something.
I get that going through a harrowing experience like that leaves a scar that can never fully heal. I won't pretend to understand the pain these women probably still deal with on a daily basis, but for the love of God, there are better things to worry about than slandering Angelina Jolie because she's trying to tell your story, a story she already invited you to share with her personally.