"The Storm" Lingers

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Bosnian War.JPGThis interesting movie could have been much better; nevertheless, it is worth seeing. Its plot centers on the war crime trial of a Bosnian Serb general who allegedly committed acts of ethnic cleansing against the Bosnian Muslims during the civil war in Bosnia (part of the old Yugoslav Tito-run Balkan state which was settled during the Clinton presidency).

General Goran Duric (Drazen Kuhn) appears at the outset of the film, three years before the trial that the film focuses on, in hiding in Spain with his wife and children. He is soon captured and sent to the Hague for trial before an International War Crimes Court which is delayed for three years. His prosecutor, Hannah Maynard (Kerry Fox), is dedicated to seeing justice served. Her major witness is a young Muslim man, Alen Hajdarevic (Kresimir Mikic), whose credibility is destroyed on the witness stand when he is shown to be lying about his placement of the defendant at the scene of the alleged war crime.

Hannah must find a new witness in a week, and so she flies to Bosnia. She interviews Alen's sister, Mira Arendt (Anamaria Marinca), who was raped with other Muslim women in a hotel prison the general kept for a gang-rape operation. Mira, though initially reluctant, becomes the new witness.

In the meantime, the politics of the Balkans have changed. The powers that be do not want to enlarge the charges against the general, because Bosnia is now seeking membership in the European Union. The less controversy the better.

The acting is excellent, but the story could have used more action as well as flashbacks to the scenes of ethnic cleansing. While watching the film, I thought back to the Serbian massacre of the 6,000 young Muslim men at Srebrenica when the UN troops failed to protect the Muslims, who had been told they would be protected by the UN forces. This is not a docudrama involving real people, but the fiction is reminiscent of real war crimes and crimes against humanity committed throughout the world.  In this case it is Bosnia, but similar atrocities occurred in Rwanda, Burundi and elsewhere. Keeping the depravity that humans are capable of in our consciousness--remember the Holocaust in Germany--is sufficient reason to see this movie.  (In German, English, Bosnian and Serbian, with English subtitles.)

HS said: "Seeing this film was a valuable experience.I learned about the trials in the Hague, and the political influences to which they are subject.  You don't know exactly how much of the movie is true and how much is made up.  But you get the feeling that it mostly happened closely enough to the way it was depicted.

The examples of cruelty and brutality toward the innocent shows what can happen, in Europe as well as Africa, when people are led into hostilities.  The technology improves, with new weapons and cell phones, but the combination of power and evil remains the same.  Sadly, evil and nuclear weapons are coming closer together."

Photo Credit: Flickr User armigeress

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Ed Koch was mayor of NYC from 1978 to 1989. He's credited with restoring fiscal stability to the city and creating affordable housing. He's also a film buff. More

Mayor Koch saved New York City from bankruptcy and restored the pride of New Yorkers during his three terms as mayor from 1978-1989. He restored fiscal stability by placing the city on a GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices) balanced budget. He created a housing program that provided more than 150,000 units of affordable housing and created New York City's first merit judicial selection system. Prior to being mayor, Mr. Koch served for nine years as a congressman and two years as a member of the New York City Council. He attended City College of New York from 1941 to 1943. He was drafted into the Army his last year of college and served with the 104th Infantry Division. He received two battle stars and was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant in 1946. He received his LL.B. degree from the New York University School of Law in 1948 and began to practice law immediately thereafter. He is currently a partner in the law firm of Bryan Cave LLP and hosts a call-in radio program on Bloomberg AM 1130 (WBBR). Mr. Koch appears weekly on NY1 television and is the author of ten autobiographical books.
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