"A STORY NOBODY TOLD"
The hysteria surrounding the Ebola outbreak flared up just as fast as the topic disappeared again from the news media. With only a few exceptions, the reporting focused on the international relief effort. And all too often, clichés of the “dark continent” were revived.
What wasn’t told, was the story of the people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia who risked their lives combating Ebola. Together with the journalist Laura Salm-Reifferscheidt, I travelled to Liberia in fall 2014. It was the height of the outbreak, nobody knew how this will all end. We wanted to see how Liberians themselves were dealing with Ebola. What we found was a country in a state of emergency; its people under the shadow of an invisible enemy that could strike anybody, anywhere. Ordinary life had come to a standstill and people knew they were fighting not only for their own survival, but for the survival of the entire country. It was worse than war, because in a war you can see your enemy. Ebola, you cannot see. Yet still, people persisted. They tried to understand how Ebola spread and changed their behaviour accordingly. It was this change in behaviour that eventually stopped the further spread of the virus.
Ebola infects those, who look after their loved ones; it infects doctors and nurses and mourners who bury their dead in traditional ways. As a biologist, I would say: Ebola is a virus. And a virus is nothing more than genetic information that copies itself. But for this, it needs a host. And the more compassion this hots shows, the more chances Ebola finds to infect more people. It often imposed an impossible dilemma for people who wanted to keep their dignity in the face of death. We therefore dedicate this film to the victims, the survivors and those who fought at the front lines in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.