WOMEN WAR & PEACE | PBS

Why Should Men Care?

June 16, 2011


Matt Damon, narrator of Women, War & Peace Episode 1: “I Came To Testify” on why the themes of this series matter to men, too.

Comments

  1. Carol says:

    Wow. Did Matt well up at 27 sec? This is very powerful stuff!

  2. rose says:

    Hooray for this effort!
    ……” when you drag that darkness and shine a bright light on it….it just withers”. so many great quotes. Thank you, I look forward to viewing this and will spread the word.

  3. Katie says:

    Thank-you Matt and PBS for creating a television series about something that’s actually important and will hopefully help people understand the real consequences of violence, gender inequality and hatred and prejudice of ethnic minorities. We need more shows like this….keep it up!!

  4. Jean Perritt says:

    July 18, 2011
    I have just watched episode four of Abraham and Mary Lincoln (A house Divided) on American Experience. Last week, July 12, was episode one; what the heck happened to episodes 2 and 3?? I so thoroughly enjoyed this historical event but was so disappointed that you missed those two episodes. Sorry, I am probably writing this in the wrong section but I don’t know how to contact you people any other way…….please respond, if you get this.

    Thanks, kindly……..Jean Perritt

  5. Rick H says:

    So the women get raped and the men get executed.
    Hmmm.
    Will there be a show about the “gender inequality” of young men being executed?.

    • sammm says:

      Rick, you myopic, petty little boy.

      Women were raped then executed en mass. It’s not like they got raped instead of being murdered. They got both.

    • Laurie P says:

      Amos Bronson Alcott once said, “To be ignorant of one’s ignorance is the malady of the ignorant.” Rick, in my opinion (and yes, every asshole has one), you are both ignorant and callous. The victims – men, women and children – were executed, raped or both and you are questioning the sentencing of the criminals? Really? Or are you merely being an ass? I fail to see any merit to your comment. Perhaps you should spend some time with ‘Pray the Devil Back to Hell’, the documentary about the role Liberian women played in stopping the war, executions and rape in their country. You’ll have something graphic and real in your head before you spew your worthless two cents next time.

    • Fiona Dent says:

      Hi Rick,

      maybe you are too young to remember – but we were all so ashamed of ourselves at having left those Bosnian men to their fate (pictures of the men and boys being rounded up and taken away were on the TV every night) that we sent the air strikes in hard when it started in Kosovo. Arguably that is also one of the reasons why we went into Iraq. Please don’t be flippant about war, there is a serious point being made that as a species we find it hard to tackle the fact that we treat each other appallingly when we think we are better than the next person (which is what happens in war) . Looking at the horribly common use of rape in war does not detract from the awful fate of the women’s little boys, brothers, husbands and fathers. We need to get these things out in the open and talk about them so that the next generation learn how to manage the dark side of their human nature.
      However, thanks for raising the point, Fiona

    • c karli says:

      Rape and execution. Both atrocities committed by men. It’s not the inequality, it is the violence commited by males that has continued through the ages everywhere. There are numerous shows about the horrors done male to male in their incessant wars. Rarely a look at the side of the women.

      • Cory says:

        @ c karli

        Have you ever had to register for conscription? Why not? Think it’s an accident that the atrocities are usually committed by men?

        • santina says:

          Are women required to register for conscription? Why not? Gee maybe because of outdated gender norms that hold that women should be protected, and thus conversely holding that the enemy’s women exist to be victimized as a tactic of war.

  6. Rick H says:

    sammm,
    In the above video the defendant was charged with rape and torture, not murder.
    The Wikipedia article on Bosnia War Rape mentions numerous rape-atrocities, but little executions.
    No doubt a lot of women were subsequently killed but it seems to be more of an exception.
    It was common though for all men of fighting age, (ages 17- 50), to be carted off to the killing grounds.

    • sammm says:

      Well if it’s not on Wikipedia…

      “No doubt a lot of women were subsequently killed”

      So stop. Just stop. You are not helping anyone by playing victim Olympics.

      Males committed the rapes and executions of children, women and men on all sides of the conflict. Let’s examine that and figure out how to prevent that skewed gender’s future violence.

      • Rella says:

        To be fair Sammm, the genocide during the Bosnian War was mainly aimed at men and boys. That’s just a fact. Over 8000 Bosniak men and boys were slaughtered during the Srebrenica genocide. Males were killed because they were seen as potential combatants. The same thing happened during the al-Anfal Campaign.

        And before you say it, I’m not trying to play “victim Olympics” here, I’m just presenting the facts.

        • Zach says:

          Rella, there was not “the” genocide during the Bosnian war, there was “a” genocide during the Bosnian war, Srebrenica. This is according to the 2007 ruling of the International Criminal Court which ruled that Serbia and Republika Srpska neither “intended nor practiced” genocide in the Bosnian war. The court ruled both entities innocent of genocide and of intention of genocide, but found them guilty on counts of not doing all they could to prevent genocide, as it found Srebrenica alone constituted an act of genocide.

    • Cody Ann says:

      Just so you know, anyone who does research to get an accurate historical context of anything relevent to war or history- or any other area of academia, NEVER uses Wikipedia… that can be edited and posted by anyone, and with there perspective, allowing for swayed information and biased reporting… if you woud like to legitamately argue your point and want to cite sources, at least make sure they are Legitimate sources….. but to ad to that, your point holds no valor…. and your voice will fall upon death ears, as your point is mute….. the fact is everyone is a victim in war, and reporting on one aspect, does not detatch from the other.,,,,,, it only ads to the horrible consequences all the way around…. you are a very shallow and cruel man Rick….. to take the plight and horrible nature of these women and imasculate your perspective and compare it to men is disgusting… SHAME ON YOU! many rape victims wish they were dead, instead of violated, and many are suicidal, and many women are killed after the commoditiy that they are considered is utlized and then they are no longer deemed as worthy…. uuughghgh you are ignorant!

      • Cody Ann says:

        notice it is DEATH EARS… not DEAF… as what you speak of and the way you belittle it, results in death! too sad!

    • Sandy says:

      Men were prosecuted for genocide…for the genocide committed in Srebrenica, as well as in other locations in Bosnia. In fact, the former president Slobodan Milosevic was arrested and was being tried but passed away in Den Hague, Karadzic and Mladic were captured relatively recent as well, and they are or will be tried for genocide, as well as some of their subordinates. The point of this documentary was that rape was not seen as a war crime previous to this war. Rape was seen as something that just ‘happened’ during war, and the damaged done to the women was not seen seriously. Look back in the documentary when they spoke of the Nuremburg (?sp?) trials of the Nazis, and that the prosecutors stated they would not try anyone for rape since they ‘didn’t want a bunch of crying women in the courtroom’, which should tell you a lot. The point, again, being that there is grave gender inequality when it comes to prosecuting war crimes, or even what is considered a war crime. In Matt Damon’s narration, he stated that only 23 (?!?!) have been tried, out of 20,000-50,000 cases. Do you get the point now? Grow up and please, please do your research before making asinine statements.

  7. Wendy says:

    The point is that rape is rarely prosecuted as a war crime. This PBS series aims to bring attention and light to an atrocity that gets very little air time and to the perpetrators who are rarely, if ever held accountable. Let’s not make this about whether what happens to women is better or worse than men. It’s about what happens when we go to war and the toll it takes on our humanity. I am grateful this series is being made. Thank you Matt, and thank you PBS!

  8. sherold barr says:

    Wow – I am so happy this time has come in my life time for women to band together and stand up and not allow this to happen. I have started a forum to gather women together and in the fall we are starting an empowerment series to empower the women in the forum while raising $$ for women to start businesses or support women through Women for Women International. I would love to have the women who worked on this film talk to us. Check out Women Heal the World – and its free to join.

  9. Rebecca Hayden says:

    Matt: I am an independent filmmaker and I couldn’t agree with you more about how women are portrayed in film etc.. Also remember, camera operators are usually men. This makes huge difference. Also, most directors/producers are men.

    Most importantly: There are things you need to know about the some of the affiliations of organizations you support. It is not common knowledge but your respect for the truth should at least compel you to look into it. I sincerely hope you do for your sake because I can tell that you truly want to help the people of Africa. Please read this and have it checked out independently before going to the organizations or people involved as naturally, they will have their own story prepared to deal with allegations like this – it’s what they do best – they are very convincing.

    http://allthingspass.com/uploads/html-240Five%20Million%20Dead%20in%20Congo%20Jan%202008%20%5B4%5D.htm

  10. Fiona Dent says:

    Hi Rick, (My first post was out of sync so have posted again)

    maybe you are too young to remember – but we were all so ashamed of ourselves at having left those Bosnian men to their fate (pictures of the men and boys being rounded up and taken away were on the TV every night) that we sent the air strikes in hard when it started in Kosovo. Arguably that is also one of the reasons why we went into Iraq. Please don’t be flippant about war, there is a serious point being made that as a species we find it hard to tackle the fact that we treat each other appallingly when we think we are better than the next person (which is what happens in war) . Looking at the horribly common use of rape in war does not detract from the awful fate of the women’s little boys, brothers, husbands and fathers. We need to get these things out in the open and talk about them so that the next generation learn how to manage the dark side of their human nature.
    However, thanks for raising the point, Fiona

    • Zach says:

      Fiona, I am ashamed at having not known what happened there. Although many were innocent, many of those killed at Srebrenica were killed in battle and many of those killed were not exactly so “innocent”. Granted, there were surely thousands of innocent men (three boys under 16 were killed, all were 15), but just like I wouldn’t drape a veil of innocence over the Bosniaks in that war, I most certainly wouldn’t drape it over many of the victims (and they were victims, irregardless of what they did).

  11. Anais says:

    I was 11 when I was in a country occupied by a sister country. Women were raoped freely for fun and domination. Those raped women had no place to go to when the war was over since their husbands/in-laws, parents/siblings didn’t want them back. In a poor rural emerging nations, rape is a crime which makes women the criminals for having allowed themselves to be raped and the world looks on…

  12. deva says:

    I cant get over the fluttering UN flag while Matt talks about hope and peace (all the things that the UN should be standing for), when instead, we know that UN peacekeepers have been a huge part of the problem, known for raping young children and women in Africa and Haiti, In Bosnia, UN staff were actually part of the trafficking ring. I’m not sure where justice is to be found when the arbiters of justice are perpetrators themselves.

  13. Mimi says:

    Undoubtedly rape was used as a weapon against women during the Bosnian war, however rape during the war was not exclusively limited to women. There were loads of men and boys that were raped as well, also a topic that is not much talked about (as can be seen in this article if people are truly interested to know: http://www.dnevniavaz.ba/vijesti/iz-minute-u-minutu/55689-svjedok-plakao-na-sudjenju-karadzicu-silovali-su-mene-kcerku-i-sina-suprugu-ne-smijem-ni-pitati-jer-nemam-snage.html). Google translator does an ok job of translating this article, but you get the gist of what’s being said. Ironically enough though if you translate with Google you must translate either from Croatian or Serbian to English, because nowhere to be found is Bosnian. Sixteen years on, even the language isn’t recognized, goes to show you the minimum efforts that are taken for reparations.

  14. Richard says:

    I find this all interesting, in 2010 I visited my native homeland for the first time in my life. Which is Bosnia. I was born & raised in the USA. My mother is a Bosnian-Croat, meaning she is Croatian but born & raised in Bosnia. I had all these media blinding anti serbian idea’s, until I actually went to Bosnia. My family lives in Republika Srpska, the Serbian territory of Bosnia. Keep in mind my family is not Serbian, they are Croatian. After being there, I realized everything was a lie. It really upsets me that the war blames Serbs, and condemns Serbs to be monsters and this is not true. There was no racism, I partied hard with Serbs, my mom re-visted some of her Serbian & Bosnian friends and found out that many Serbs and Croats were murdered by Muslims. There was no victim in this war, none of each side. The number of Serbs, Croats and Muslims that were killed are all equal. Americans need to keep in mind that not all the people are bad, and there is a large majority of mixed people, who are half Bosnian and Serbian, half Croatian & Serbian, half Croatian & Bosnian and even mixtures of all 3. This all was 1 country at one time without racism. Evil politicians created this, and after returning to the USA, I realized and learned that Serbs are some of the most decent people in the world, and I will defend Serbians until the bitter end. Don’t assume they’re all bad, the politicians are bad, not the people. Also, learn about the millions of Serbs who were killed in the conflict too along with Croats, and Croatia was also bombed and destroyed too. Please learn the truth, and keep in mind what Islam is, and how Muslim society, in any country, is against non-muslims.

    • Cody Ann says:

      Rick~ you are so blinded by your own thought process, you do not even hear what people are saying… in NO place in this entire documentary, or film, or in the articles, does it state any ONE Nation or Group of peoples is bad… this is about the implications of WAR… and what it does to people- not the war of ONE NATION… but ALL NATIONS… and Matt specifically states that in his interview when he says he wants people to fully understand what they are DECIDING upon and allowing to transpire when a country advocates going to war- he is stating that it is not that “BLACK and WHITE” and not just about the specific conflict, but more that there are many more attrocities that occur from this decision.
      You also state that there are no victims in this because the victimology is equal across the board…. thank GOD you are not a man allowed to make decisions mitgating war/ causal decisions… because it is exactly your fundamental mentality that advocates and excuses atrocious behaviors!! You would be one who states, well you tortured our soldiers, so we tortured back…. you see Rick- ALL those lost, killed, tortured and raped are victims.. ALL of them no matter who’s side you are on, what country you belong, what ethnic group you are, what culture you are from, what race, what gender….. it is someones loved one, family, or friend… never is the loss of life, or the pain of war, excused from the victimology or PTSD it causes…. it is a horrible thing all the way around and for you to take it in your personal sefl-rightous words to depict your own ideas of your NATION take it out of context completely and is deplorable… this is about RAPE… and never did it take away from any other form of victimology- it is only pointing out an additional one!! GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS YOU IGNORANT, SELF INDULGENT MAN!!

    • Vrich says:

      Richard, You sound like a person in denial. To say “there are no victims” demonstrates astounding blindness. The fact is the vast majority of these war crime rapes were committed by Serbian men against Bosnian women. All the “nice” Serbs in the world can’t change that. But your desperate protest is understandable. It took the Germans at least a generation before they could face up to the horrible atrocities committed by the Nazis in the name of the German people. No one wants to look in a mirror when his face is dirty.

      • Zach says:

        Vrich, how long will it take for the Bosniaks to face up to their crimes, WWII and 1990′s? You, sir, are in denial, and in denial and through virulence and propaganda, no reconciliation will be had…I read a story a story the other day about the Jasenovac camp being destroyed in the 90′s…? It is disgusting that that happened, and it’s unfortunate we Americans weren’t given the opportunity to know that until 2012.

      • Zach says:

        Further, I would hardly compare 66 % of the European Jewish community being killed by Nazis to the .85 % of Bosnian Muslims (note, not Muslims in general in the Balkans) that died in the Bosnian War by all sides. These comparisons are insulting to all parties involved Vrich, and personally, as a Jew, I am disgusted by such comparisons

    • Sandy says:

      Oh please, you are definitely NOT a Croat if you like Serbs. If there is anyone who hates Serbs the most from the Balkans, it is the Croats. Secondly, I worked there with NATO and the US government for over 10 years. While it is very true that there were atrocities committed from all sides, they are no where equal. Serbs by far committed the most crimes against firstly Muslims, then Croats. Croats, if we go by numbers were second, the the Bosnian Muslims. Also remember, they did not have the weaponry to cause all that damage, since the Serbs took most of it when the war started, as they were in command positions in the military at that time (the Yugoslav Army JNA). If you know what Islam is, particularly Bosnia Muslims, you would never write that last sentence because when you go to Bosnia, you cannot tell who is Christian Orthodox, Catholic, or Muslim…with the exception of a few women who wear headscarves. You’re obviously an Islamophobe, possibly a Serb who decided to come on here spewing stupidity really, because Croats who went to the US in the timeframe your mother would have gone were the most nationalistic and they, in fact, left the Balkans because they felt they couldn’t live the ‘Yugoslav’ life of brotherhood and unity and were the only one who refused to consider themselves Yugoslavians, when most of the other ethnicities, religions, however you want to categorize these ethnically identical people, would proudly state the were Yugoslavs. Your whole comment is ridiculous, and anyone who knows anything about that region will see that.

      • Sandy says:

        And having said all that, I people there are very decent Serbs, as well as all the people of Bosnia. What I found was that the similarities of the people were not religious or ethnic, it was regional. The people of Foca, Gorazde, Visegrad…while many were displaced while we were there, were very similar in attitude…they were not very friendly towards us, while going to the Mostar region, everyone was regardless of their religion. Again, please speak of what you know…obviously, you don’t know what you are saying and I highly doubt you went there at all. I don’t know of one place where the Croats and Serbs are sitting around hanging out, except for cities like Tuzla and in Sarajevo where they never left and stuck it out for an independent Bosnia for all of her people, regardless of religion. These, in my opinion, were the best ones as they had no prejudices at all.

      • Zach says:

        Sandy, I agree completely with you. Do you think that the crimes the Serbs committed constituted genocide though? I am sure that you went to Bosnia based off of propagated, crazy and exaggerated numbers that have been proven to be false. I know and agree with the ICC, but do you think that what happened constituted genocide? If not, why was it reported that way? And, why is it still?

  15. Madame Defarge says:

    Is it true that Matt Damon has a butt that looks like a woman’s butt?

  16. Mostar says:

    Well , what a bunch of BS. At least American soldiers will never have to worry about being extradited to International War Criminal Court for any crimes they might commit. Our goverment makes sure our war crimes are our own bussiness, thank you very much.

    • Sandy says:

      Which is wrong; we should be held to international standards just like we expect from our everyone else.

  17. pw says:

    I don’t see how people who obviously care about this issue are promoting their viewpoint and peace by calling someone with whom they disagree names.

  18. Vrich says:

    Richard, You sound like a person in denial. To say “there are no victims” demonstrates astounding blindness. The fact is the vast majority of these war crime rapes were committed by Serbian men against Bosnian women. All the “nice” Serbs in the world can’t change that. But your desperate protest is understandable. It took the Germans at least a generation before they could face up to the horrible atrocities committed by the Nazis in the name of the German people. No one wants to look in a mirror when his face is dirty.

  19. Mostar says:

    Vrich were you actually there when these rapes were happening ? Because i was. And i can tell you that it was happenning on all three sides involved in conflict. There are no innocents. Even people that did not do anything and just watched their neighbors being taken away are guilty for watching evil take over hoping their pathetic little lives might be spared in the process.

  20. Ragani says:

    What a horrific, powerful story. PBS and Matt, bless you for bringing this story to all of us. Yes, it is time to actually acknowledge what it means to say “yes” to war. There will be no peace until we remember ourselves as one greater humanity.

  21. Envera says:

    As a Bosnian woman I thank Matt D and PBS for a great work on telling the story that many people forgot. You don’t have to go through war to understand how hard it was, you just have to be human.

  22. Michael says:

    What does gender equality mean to you? Help us spread the word…but spreading your words…
    http://www.equalitynow.org/me

  23. James J. Braddock says:

    http://thesoulshattering.net

    Did Angelina Jolie use (steal) this book (The Soul Shattering in English) written by the Bosnian-Croatian author James J. Braddock a.k.a Josip J. Knežević, as the story platform for her movie In The Land of Blood and Honey?

    Did she totally miss the truth and core of that genocidal war against Bosnia and her people?

    Why was she banned from filming in Bosnia by the most influental organization of women – victims of the war?

    Did she rewrite history and offended thousands of women and other innocent victims of the Serbian aggression on Bosnia & Herzegovina?

    Should American women and human rights organizations get involved?

    • Dany says:

      James,

      I am a friend of Bakira Hasecic, president of Association Women Victims of War. My understanding is that Jolie tired to film a movie about a girl who fall in love with her rapist. That was an insult for raped women of Bosnia. Mrs.. Bakira as you all know with her hard work had stopped a filming of this movie in Bosnia. Jolie moved a filming of a movie to Bulgaria. I have not read the book, and I will go to see the movie. I honestly hope Jolie will not humiliate victims of war. After all she is an UN Ambassador a women and a mother.

      I would like to thank Matt for his involvement. I am originally from Easter Bosnia and I know what a horror we have survived.

  24. Kassandra says:

    Check out ‘Village of the Forgotten Widows’ that looks at the lives of the widows of Srebrenica today.

  25. These pointers tips are fantastic. Which i enjoy brainstorming about catchy subject lines. Often it can be challenging, but we must do that which we have to do – please our readers!

  26. M C says:

    I didn’t get from this why men should care any more than they ever have. Some may care about their own daughters, wives, mothers and/or sisters, but as rape keeps women oppressed, it seems to work to men’s advantage and desire for power in general. Also, it’s not true that rape is “a byproduct of war” as Matt Damon calls it at the end of the video. Women are raped every day in every country whether at war or “peace”.

  27. J.White says:

    It’s awesome to see a crew of producers, directors and cinematographers who are women.

  28. A person necessarily help to make seriously posts I might state. That is the very first time I frequented your website page and to this point? I amazed with the analysis you made to make this particular post amazing. Fantastic activity!

  29. J Davis says:

    Having taken the time to read about 70% of the posts, I think that Matt and PBS have accomplished a very important thing-opening communication about a very vital subject. After reading some of the more detailed posts I find that I need to educate myself about this region, culture, and history. I had a brief glimpse of this issue watching one of my favorite movies, The Secret Life of Words. Also listening to Nicholas Kristof put things in perspective for me. Would it be possible to brainstorm constructive ideas from everyone out there of ways to eliminate this atrocity and band together as citizens of the world to make our future more humane for all? Thank you Matt, PBS, and the brave women who shared their stories with us.

  30. Lisa V says:

    It may not be possible to completely eradicate rape as a weapon of war, as this type of violence against women and young girls can be carried out in private and behind closed
    doors, the victims often paralyzed by fear should they speak out against their perpetrators.
    But it is possible to raise the collective conscience and be their voice. This is a heinous crime
    against hu(wo)manity that, unfortunately, largely goes unpunished. If we as a civilization can’t put an end to all wars (we should try) then we should at the very least be seeking
    global justice for the countless victims who endure this brutality and dehumanization.
    As a singer/songwriter I’m currently working on songs that raise the conscience while at the same time empower women who have been thru wars and survive these atrocities. I hope
    people will listen to them some day very soon (vocal recordings in the works).

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