Documentary goes "beyond" 9/11 to connect widows in America with Afghanistan

"I have tried to turn this into something other than hatred." - Patricia Quigley

Two soccer moms teach us how to respond to 9/11 without hatred, in a documentary by film-maker Beth Murphy, called Beyond Belief that tells the story of their engagement with other widows half-way around the world.

It was released two years ago, and has haunted talk of escalating the Afghan war ever since. President Obama, however, has remained committed to the war's shifty and body-piling objectives.

Patti Quigley and Susan Retik lost their husbands in the World Trade Center attacks nine years ago. Each woman was pregnant when Patrick Quigley and Dave Retik were murdered. Their children were born never knowing their fathers.

Beyond Belief tells us how these two American women have discovered a common-bond with Afghan women and their children. War makes widows, and widows have special moral authority in societies at war. Quigley and Retik have brought that lesson to Afghanistan, and back home.

Quigley and Retik saw the United States launch an attack on Afghanistan in response to the attack on New York. They did not ignore the civilian losses that resulted from our actions. They saw their own devastation in the destruction of Afghan lives. This is empathy, and it is at the heart of being human.

Arm chair generals in the United States prefer not to incorporate such thoughts on "collateral damage" into their rhetoric or their never-accurate calculations about why we need war so badly.

That's why these women have undertaken a mission to elevate these other mothers with education programs and economic initiatives. Beyond the 11th is the organization they founded to help Afghan women rise in the world with businesses of their own, so that they can become voices in their society against forces like the Taliban.

“Beyond Belief” is Beth Murphy's film homage to Ms. Retik and Ms. Quigley as they turn their sorrow into the energy of change they want to see in this world.


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