Monday, October 05, 2009

Movie Review: Beyond Belief

Beyond Belief is the story of Susan Retik and Patti Quigley who lost their husbands in the 9/11 attacks. To heal their grief and move forward with their lives, they began to work to help Afghan widows. There are over 500,000 Afghan war widows. A woman without a husband in Afghanistan has lost her only means of support and the protection for her family. She cannot remarry or she has to give up her children to her late husband's family. Most are forced into poverty and rely on charity for basic subsistence.

Susan and Patti began to raise money to help these women. They wanted to help return these families to wholeness and help them earn their own money to feed and house and educate their children. They donated chicks for the women to raise to use for eggs for sale.

But Susan and Patti did even more than that. In spite of being single parents and facing danger, they traveled to Afghanistan to meet these women and understand their lives. They formed immediate connections. They witnessed the food lines, traveled to their homes, met their children, and heard their stories. Most of these women have never known a world without conflict and danger. Some of them have buried children who died from starvation. The organization Susan and Patti founded, Beyond the 11th, will help them with education and small businesses and help return them to self-sufficiency.

Susan and Patti both grew from their tragedy which opened their hearts to other women who have lost husbands. Patti's brother told how we make small choices every day, which turn into patterns, which eventually determine the course of our lives. These women chose courage over fear and love over hate. Our globe is interconnected, and grief and pain and loss in one part of the world will eventually effect us. Out of their own tragedy Susan and Patti resolved to help improve lives in another country, because despite our cultural differences we all know love and loss, and we all hope for our children to grow and thrive and inherit a better world.



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