Monday, April 15, 2013

"Mary and Martha" and Malaria

This is something I did not know - that there are nearly a million children dying of the preventable and curable malaria every year in Kenya, and that it is inexpensive to take the steps to prevent it (a mosquito net costs about $7.50, the rapid testing kit costs about 60 cents, the emergency drugs cost under $2).

This article - by Richard Curtis, the screenwriter of the film "Mary and Martha," on HBO this week - is a short, compelling description of the problem he saw, the confusion he had that there was no media attention on the problem, and the journey he took to become part of the solution.

Compelling in the article is Mr. Curtis' description of a speech given at the end of the film by the character Mary's father:

Did you know that if you take every single person killed in a terrorist act around the world in the last 20 years -- and add to that every life that's been lost in the Middle East since the Six Day War in '67 -- and add to that every single American life we lost in Vietnam and Korea -- and every single other military conflict America's been involved in since then, Iraq, Afghanistan... If you take all those lives -- that we'd all have given so much to save -- you've still got to multiply them by two to get to the number of kids who die of malaria every single year.

A dear friend of mine who passed away in 1994 (torn from us too soon, only 36) was a champion of Kenya, loving the country and the people, inspiring others to help the country through annual donation drives of eye glasses and the like. So the headline of this story caught my attention. I could not be Claudia's friend and fail to read the article. Now it does appear that I will be watching the film. I hope you do so as well.

"Mary and Martha," written by Richard Curtis, is directed by Phillip Noyce ("Salt" and "Rabbit Proof Fence," among many others) and stars Hilary Swank and Brenda Blethyn.

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