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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Whistleblower

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

As the war in Bosnia was winding down in 1999 and the country transitioning to peace, the UN had a multinational police force in place, mostly to observe. These were peacekeepers who came from the national police forces of various countries. Because the US does not have national police Kathryn Bolkovak (Rachel Weisz) takes a big salary job for a year as a UN peacekeeper or observer, but she is actually hired by a US military corporation (DynCorp is the actual private military company, but is called another name in the film; DynCorp has billions of dollars in contracts from the U.S. government, then and now).
 
Kathy becomes involved in bringing a domestic dispute to trial and the UN asks her to head up their office for gender and domestic abuse affairs. When she is called to help a seriously injured young woman she discovers that the peacekeepers take “these” women to a shelter and consider them “just prostitutes.”
 
Then Kathy learns of a bar in the mountains and leads a raid to rescue several girls. Kathy sees pitiful living conditions, chains and photos of girls being abused or worse. There are UN personnel in some of the photos, and one is an American.
 
As Kathy tries to collect evidence to prosecute offenders and repatriate these now stateless women, she comes face to face with the reality of human trafficking for sex.  The perpetrators she identifies are suddenly sent home. She sends an email to the UN High Command and is dismissed from her job.
 
Solid supporting roles by Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci and David Strathairn.
 
“The Whistleblower” is not an easy film to watch. Human trafficking films such as “Trade” (2007)  are very difficult to watch, yet they pull away the shades covering up human misery that we really do not want to know about.  Mira Sorvino starred in the 2005 Lifetime miniseries on TV, “Human Trafficking” and NBC’s Dateline has done investigative reporting on children and the sex trade.
 
But then, what are we to do?
 
C.A.S.T., the coalition for the abolition of slavery and trade, sponsored the screening I attended. It is one such group that educates, advocates for legislation, and provides shelter and immigration services to women and children who are able to escape from bondage – and we are talking Los Angeles, CA. Visit www.CASTLA.org for more information. And for a quietly powerful interview by Charlie Rose with Rachael Weisz and the real Kathy Bolkovac, go to http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11815.


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Peter of Alcantara: Peter was a contemporary of well-known 16th-century Spanish saints, including Ignatius of Loyola and John of the Cross. He served as confessor to St. Teresa of Avila. Church reform was a major issue in Peter’s day, and he directed most of his energies toward that end. His death came one year before the Council of Trent ended. 
<p>Born into a noble family (his father was the governor of Alcantara in Spain), Peter studied law at Salamanca University and, at 16, joined the so-called Observant Franciscans (also known as the discalced, or barefoot, friars). While he practiced many penances, he also demonstrated abilities which were soon recognized. He was named the superior of a new house even before his ordination as a priest; at the age of 39, he was elected provincial; he was a very successful preacher. Still, he was not above washing dishes and cutting wood for the friars. He did not seek attention; indeed, he preferred solitude.</p><p>Peter’s penitential side was evident when it came to food and clothing. It is said that he slept only 90 minutes each night. While others talked about Church reform, Peter’s reform began with himself. His patience was so great that a proverb arose: "To bear such an insult one must have the patience of Peter of Alcantara."</p><p>In 1554, Peter, having received permission, formed a group of Franciscans who followed the Rule of St. Francis with even greater rigor. These friars were known as Alcantarines. Some of the Spanish friars who came to North and South America in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were members of this group. At the end of the 19th century, the Alcantarines were joined with other Observant friars to form the Order of Friars Minor.</p><p>As spiritual director to St. Teresa, Peter encouraged her in promoting the Carmelite reform. His preaching brought many people to religious life, especially to the Secular Franciscan Order, the friars and the Poor Clares.</p><p>He was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Remember the widow’s mite. She threw into the treasury of the temple only two small coins, but with them, all her great love…. It is, above all, the interior value of the gift that counts: the readiness to share everything, the readiness to give oneself. —Pope John Paul II

 
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