I'll admit it can take just one film to usually convince me to come to a film festival. In the case of this year's Berlinale, it was Jafar Panahi's Taxi. I knew I wanted to sit in that bursting at the seams press screening, first thing in the morning, to watch it. And, as is usually the case with my cinematic instinct, I was right.
Two potent forces power the Ebola and ISIS epidemics that the media are ignoring. They're (1) breakdown of governing authority, and (2) dissolution of "social capital" -- ties of trust and cooperation that empower individuals, families, and others to forge coalitions and tackle common problems at the community level.
In a community born of suffering, of loss and outrage, the senselessness can sometimes be too much. So it felt when the announcement that possibly more than 100 AIDS activists, researchers and experts had been lost on MH17. But the AIDS community has a long history of mourning by fighting. Taking this punch and getting up to fight harder.
As someone who has now personally experienced a tragic, unnecessary death, I worry that the banner of libertarianism too often drowns out rational, middle-of-the road approaches to genuine harms. It is hard to imagine anyone who has lost a relative or dear friend in such a manner to see such innocent deaths as the price of doing business. Indeed, it is downright chilling to suggest this.
It is reassuring to see a new determination to bring the very modern scourge of TB out of the shadows. But neglecting the real potential for faith engagement in the effort is a mistake. It is an engagement with an ancient history and a modern face, one that can bring out the best that faith communities have to offer.