So much of our world is marked by places, where hope has been abandoned. Great swaths of the globe exist, where hope disappeared even before it opened its eyes.
From Honduras to Nigeria to Myanmar, bad things happen because that’s what is expected.
But what happens when good will and good planning struggles, fights and wins out? Do we hear those stories?
Here’s a story about a struggle that could be transported to many places. It’s the struggle to overcome polio in Pakistan, one of the three remaining places in the world today where polio flourishes.
It’s a struggle against poverty, and a lack of skills and manpower. But mostly against fear fed by ignorance, ill-begotten conspiracies and nurtured by violence and trauma. From 2012 onward, Pakistan’s Taliban swore a war against the effort to fight polio in the country, attaching wild claims to the effort led by the World Health Organization.
Dozens of polio workers and their security died or were injured.
“Every Last Child” is a remarkable documentary that depicts the uncertain struggle against the virus and those who fight the effort to eradicate it. It captures the struggle of a family, who have lost a member to the violence and who vow to do what’s needed for Pakistan’s children. It shows the despair of a father, who learns that his infant son is a new victim of polio. And it takes you on the daily rounds of someone stricken by polio as a child and condemned to heart-breaking poverty and isolation as an adult.
What seems impossible is made possible, however. How this takes place is detailed in the story-telling talents of director Tom Roberts. But almost as important as the story-line is documentary’s ability to capture visually and emotionally the lives and realities of Pakistanis.
The movie will be shown at the Gene Siskel theater from Friday, June 12th to Monday, June 15th. There will be a discussion led by Pakistan’s Consul General at the theater after the Friday screening.
This is both a story of Pakistan and the vast world we come from.
What heartbreak in a place that deeply touches you, calls for a new ending, and new hope?