March 27, 2008

Film, discussion to focus on human rights abuses

by Christi Mathis


CARBONDALE, Ill. — A country is at war and a web where rape is as common a weapon as bombs and bullets entraps many of its women. That's the backdrop for a powerful film and discussion set for 7 p.m. March 31 in the Mississippi Room of the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Student Center.

The documentary, "Calling the Ghosts: A Story about Rape, War and Women," will be shown and afterward Naida Zukic, assistant professor in the speech communication department at SIUC, will facilitate a discussion. The film is a first-hand account by Jadranka Cigelj and Nusreta Sivac, lawyers and friends from childhood, of their lives in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

It tells of how they went from living ordinary lives to being tortured and humiliated by Serb captors in the Omarska concentration camp. It relates their struggle to survive not only in the camp, but also after their release, fighting to help other female victims and successfully pushing to have the United Nations Tribunal declare rape a war crime. Indeed, the International War Crimes Tribunal subsequently indicted those who tortured Cigelj and Sivac.

The discussion, led by Zukic, will highlight a variety of issues relevant to torture and human rights abuses. Talks will explore empathy, responsibility, forgiveness, politics and its implications, how wounded attachments develop, how trauma and loss can lead to revolt, and much more. Zukic ponders, "How do we signify what resists signification?" The discussion will also explore how tortured and wounded people form attachments to offset the cycle of violence while still preserving their bodies. Zukic anticipates a thought-provoking discussion following the movie. The documentary airing and discussion is a U-card event.

For more information, contact Zukic at 618/453-1882 or via e-mail at

The event is one of the numerous SIUC activities in recognition of March as Women's History Month.


Poignant film — "Calling the Ghosts: A Story About Rape, War and Women" will air at 7 p.m. March 31 in the Mississippi Room at the SIUC Student Center. The documentary, illustrated here, highlights the story of two women in war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina and tells of their rape and humiliation and how they moved forward afterward, helping others. Naida Zukic, assistant professor in the speech communication department, will lead a discussion following the film.

Photo provided