Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Beyond Belief

“If we can teach love and kindness, not hatred, that's how we can stop terrorism."

Beyond Belief is a documentary about two Massachusetts women, Susan and Patti, who lost their husbands in the 9/11 attacks and don’t let their grief determine how they’re going to live. They realize that American women aren’t the only ones losing husbands to terrorism; women in Afghanistan have been losing husbands for over 20 years and it’s not only devastating, but it makes poor women destitute by losing their support system. The two Mass women hoped to use their traumatic event to open the eyes of the rest of the world to other women who lose more than a husband to war; they lose children to starvation because they can’t afford to feed them.

Instead of just raising money, sending it off, and forgetting about it, Susan and Patti help to fund a program that teaches the Afghan women to support themselves by raising chickens and selling the eggs. They even travel to Afghanistan, even though they’re scared out of their minds, to speak with the women in order to learn about their culture. They learn that the women can’t remarry because that would mean abandoning their children. They learn that in the country torn apart by war, it’s hard for women because they have little to no independence and they have children to raise and no money with which to feed them.

We can learn a lot from both sets of women. Instead of wallowing in their grief, the 9/11 widows did something about it. They decided to learn more about the middle East and see what they can do to help prevent starvation during these devastating times in Afghanistan. And the Afghan women live each day minute to minute, learning how to survive without a grocery store on every corner and without a bank account to get them through.

An interesting little tidbit I learned from the movie was that most of the men who flew the planes into the towers were not from Afghanistan. They were from other countries and came to Afghanistan to train. We Americans are blaming the Afghans just because the training ground was there, not because any of the terrorists were actually Afghan, which isn’t fair to Afghanistan. The Afghan women actually felt sad for Susan and Patti, which tugged at my heart because the Afghan women have almost nothing while Susan and Patti live in large homes cluttered with things they don’t need.

I’m not using this blog as a call to action, nor am I berating anyone for having too many things while living in a first world country. (My own apartment is filled with things I don’t need...) All I’m doing is trying to put in words how this documentary made me feel. Maybe it’s a bit confusing to you, it is to me too, but one thing I do hope you get out of this blog is that love is the answer. The Beatles had it right, “All you need is love”. If we could take non-violent action to resolve disputes, help those in need, allow religious freedoms everywhere in the world; if we could somehow learn to love everyone, that is the path to world peace. 

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