I watched the movie, In The Land of Blood and Honey, with my wife a couple of nights ago. Having been to Serbia and nearby countries I’m interested in the history of the area. Written and directed by Angelina Jolie, the film follows the tragic lives of two people during the civil war in Bosnia from 1992-1995. The movie shows ethnic cleansing, rape, murder – it’s a brutal on-screen depiction of a horrific war. After watching the film, and replaying it in my mind (it’s hard to forget), I’ve been reminded of a couple of things. First, old wounds heal slowly, if at all. This area of the Balkans has seen warfare and fighting among the various people groups living there for generations. As the former nation of Yugoslavia unraveled, it only took a spark to reignite hatreds simmering below the surface. Second, brutality exists everywhere. It seems to be just below the surface of people. Certainly not everyone, but present in every society and in every culture. It seems a condition of mankind, which the scriptures would affirm. It takes active resistance on both a personal and societal level to oppose such actions. I recommend the film, but with the warning that it’s more Schindler’s List than anything I’ve seen since.

Poster showing aftermath of a NATO bombing in Novi Sad, Serbia