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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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Michael Giedroyc: A life of physical pain and mental torment didn’t prevent Michael Giedroyc from achieving holiness. 
<p>Born near Vilnius, Lithuania, Michael suffered from physical and permanent handicaps from birth. He was a dwarf who had the use of only one foot. Because of his delicate physical condition, his formal education was frequently interrupted. But over time, Michael showed special skills at metalwork. Working with bronze and silver, he created sacred vessels, including chalices.</p><p>He traveled to Kraków, Poland, where he joined the Augustinians. He received permission to live the life of a hermit in a cell adjoining the monastery. There Michael spent his days in prayer, fasted and abstained from all meat and lived to an old age. Though he knew the meaning of suffering throughout his years, his rich spiritual life brought him consolation. Michael’s long life ended in 1485 in Kraków.</p><p>Five hundred years later, Pope John Paul II visited the city and spoke to the faculty of the Pontifical Academy of Theology. The 15th century in Kraków, the pope said, was “the century of saints.” Among those he cited was Blessed Michael Giedroyc.</p> American Catholic Blog Every connection we make with our brothers and sisters on earth holds great power. Each day, God calls us to be in community, to share faith and friendship, and to lead each other into a beautiful, miraculous, and radical relationship with God.

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