Monday, February 20, 2012

Rachel Weisz Can Blow My Whistle

Heroes do not enjoy staring evil in the face, but when they must, they do not flinch. Kathy Bolkovac was a Nebraska cop. Relocating to Bosnia as a United Nations security agent, she hoped to do some good. Not all fellow agents shared her moral intention. Many were aware that teenage girls were being kidnapped, enslaved and raped throughout the region. Some put up a feeble bureaucratic resistance. Most did nothing. Some used their diplomatic immunity to become the boldest perpetrators of the crime.

In the film The Whistleblower, Rachel Weisz portrays Bolkovac with her usual beauty and fiery integrity. The movie is gripping. The glimpse it offers of slimy creatures that hide under rocks-seldom-turned and in places-seldom-visited is enlightening. Yet, there's a big problem. When she finally confronts the beast, she is relatively powerless. She doesn't even bring "a knife to a gunfight." Rather, dashing into a mafioso brothel to rescue horribly-degraded victims, she repeatedly shoves their brutish oppressor then yells at him to go away. Of course, this accomplishes less than nothing. Even when she melodramatically smuggles damning evidence out of the country, we learn that little is done and no one is punished.

This is a significant film. The impotence of well-intentioned Kathy Bolkovac is actually a microcosm of the general impotence of the United Nations itself. We can learn something here. While opening the door to criticizing the often-revered U.N., the filmmakers consider these events to be an unfortunate aberration. They are not. Only Sacred Ground Magazine has the guts to report the whole story.

That the United Nations sometimes acts in ways that are bureaucratic, incompetent and even corrupt is a sad fact. However, the real bubble-burster is that the U.N. is not an organization to support human rights even in theory. Look clearly at the situation. The U.N. has a general assembly where everyone who calls themselves a country gets a vote. That means there's some sweet Indian person representing the more-or-less democratic government of India and more-or-less 17% of humanity who gets one vote. Sitting around him and probably yanking his prayer beads are 10 to 20 other people who are buddies or brothers of dictators that managed to subdue a population with torture and intimidation. These guys representing 10 to 20 creeps get 10 to 20 votes. Now, you may hate math as much as I do, but you can see the flaw in the equation.

Fortunately, the United Nations has a higher court. This is the security counsel, which is a good-old-boys club of the countries who dominated the world by different means (colonialism, communism, heartfelt love, whatever) at the time of the U.N. founding. Some of the most influential governments in this group believe people who support human rights are an obstacle to governing. They believe these pests should be jailed, tortured, or simply detained overnight to be fed radioactive food then released. Waterboarding is an elective aquatic sport in the prisons of these countries.  

Thus, those who think the United Nations is a human rights organization are confused. Those who hope it will protect human rights have more romantic faith than those who put their trust in God, themselves, or true love. In fact, those who find the Virgin of Guadalupe's face in a tortilla are hard-core rationalists compared to those who trust in the United Nations. If the world needs an international body that stands for human rights, someone better start one. I don't say this to discourage. Life is beautiful but brief. We all need something meaningful to believe in, not false hopes. So, go forth with open eyes and open heart and find that something somewhere else besides the United Nations.

1 comment:

  1. I'll have to check out the movie. I've always liked her work.