I just finished Under the Blue Flag and I feel compelled to write about it before I go to my unfulfilling, low-paying job. Quite honestly, I would never pick up a book about Kosovo. No, too depressing, not interested. However, I got this book at the library because I know the author (in a very casual way) and I thought "Okay, just give it a try, it will be difficult, but give it a try." I was pretty blown away. I can't imagine picking up my life and moving half way around the world to help people who are killing and abusing one another. Why? Right? Too hard, too isolating, too depressing. Yet, the book, which begins in the spring 2001, isn't depressing at all, it's an unbelievably compelling story of one man's experience helping to prosecute war criminals.
The differences in the legal system would be enough to confound anyone. I don't typically like courtroom dramas, but I was riveted by the brave souls that came forward to document their stories in hopes that the international community would pronounce justice. There is no flowery language in this book. The language is straight forward and the facts of the experience move the story along without the need for heavy-handed didactic conclusions. Kearney's passion for the job is evidenced in the fact that he returns for a second tour of duty in 2007.
Yes, the UN has problems (look at what happened to the women of the Congo right under their noses). Yes, lawyers get a bad rap in this day and age, but someone has to at least TRY and prosecute the bad guys (war heroes to their supporters). I remember telling Kearney when I first met him, after hearing what he'd done in Kosovo, that he was the closest thing I knew to a super-hero. Now, knowing the details, I stand by that statement. It was a privilege to read the account of someone who tried to do good in the world by holding accountable those who were doing bad in the world.
Causes Katherine McWilliams Supports
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation jdrf.org Macula Vision Research Foundation mvrf.org Washington Office on Latin America wola.org/juarez