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The most necessary aspect about The Devil Came on Horseback is its images, simply for the unfortunate fact that no one, really, has seen anything properly documenting the brutality going on over there. There's been sporadic text each actually and then, and even a picture or two; but, by and large, the waves in the press about Darfur are merely ankle busters compared to this film's tsunami of pictorials and video, displaying the absolute horror of that region of Sudan.The movie follows Brian Steidle, a boy who's whole career has been military-based. He served as a USMC captain and when he would no longer see combat, he left the military and agreed a contract position in Sudan with the Joint Military Commission, where he would be an integral part of the North-South ceasefire, rising the ranks from a squad leader to senior operations officer. After seven months, he was invited to Darfur, where he would serve as an unarmed military observer and American representative for the African Union in that region. This movie documents his findings as an observer.What he found was systematic ethnic-cleansing genocide. The Sudanese government was not only enabling the mass extinction of its citizens, it was controlling it. The "devil" in the game of the movie are the Janjaweed, nomadic black-Arab militia groups who massacre whole villages, by exterminating its non-Arab black African inhabitants and literally burn the tribes' homes to the ground. They are "paid" in plunder and are notorious for raping their female victims, castrating their male victims and torturing them all.The Janjaweed have been more adequately equipped and become a far greater threat since non-Arab groups, the Sudan Liberation Units and the Justice and Equality Movement, have risen up vs the Sudanese government, for its mistreatment of its people. Although the government of Sudan has repeatedly denied any assistance to these barbarous raiding bandits, this movie has been a breakthrough of evidence, showing quite clearly the government's involvement.To really understand this film, however, is to understand its tragedy. No one is really doing anything about this. Even after Steidle came back and lobbied before congress in an effort to call the United States to action, his plethora of photos and video were dismissed as nothing more than inconvenient casualties in other state-sponsored genocide that we're unwilling to involve ourselves in. Sure, they were acknowledged and Colin Powell named it what it was--a "genocide"--but there's still over 450,000 dead and counting, and 2.5 million displaced.I should describe to you the photos I saw--the maiming and killing of men, girls and children; their eyes gouged out and their bodies burned, castrated and mutilated--and how I reacted, emotionally with tears of hopelessness and regret, when I saw this film. But instead, I think it far more strong for you to go see this movie for yourself. Then perhaps you'll wish to take action and support allow our government know that you wish it to take active involvement in stopping this nightmare. It's not enough to talk about it and acknowledge that it's happening--we need to take active measures in preventing the perpetuation of these government sanctioned massacres.Remember, just as you've read this review in the comfort of your own home or office or wherever, the killing in Sudan continues. And it won't stop until each last one of the non-Arab black Africans are dead, or when, and if, someone steps in and takes appropriate action to stop it.
This nice movie screened at the SXSW Movie Festival and was extremely well-received. The movie is a remarkable picture of the tragedy that is unfolding in Africa and being ignored by both America and the rest of the world. The storyline is said thru the eyes of former American Marine Captain, turned international monitor, Brian Steidle. Steidle is the reluctant character drawn into the happenings of Darfur almost by accident. As his eyes are opened to the ugliness of what is event in Darfur he opens our eyes as well. The photographs are nice and nightmarish. The tragic message is that we haven't learned from the Holocaust and more recently Rwanda is also clear and deeply haunting. This movie is significantly better made than the somewhat amateurish film, although still interesting and informative, Darfur Diaries. It is filmed with both heart and skill. Steidle, who has also written a ebook by the same name, is the excellent tutorial to draw us out of our apathy and into the heart of this deep unfolding tragedy. His palpable feeling of anger and helplessness as he watches genocide is palpable and heart-breaking. The movie is also an indictment of the failure of the US and another Western governments to act to address this humanitarian crisis that has been unfolding actually for 4 years. The U.S. has named these happenings "genocide," but has done nothing substantive to deliever for a UN peacekeeping force to address the tragedy. This is the kind of movie that gotta be widely stage if Americans are to awaken from their slumber and reply to this horror of murder, rape, massacre, slaughter, and dislocation that is being committed by Sudan's government vs its own citizens. Perhaps there is still a possibility to save even more folks from dying if Americans are willing to pay attention to what is happening. I hope that Americans take the time to see this necessary and compelling movie about the best tragedy of our times.
"The Devil Came on Horseback" (2007): Documentary. This is an up close and private look at the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, including those dead, tortured and raped, those who did it, those who supported it, and those who watched it happen. This is a sad, frustrating, and grisly document made by a boy who sort of "stumbled onto" his dedication to support bring this ongoing trouble into harsh international light. It's not that this hasn't happened before it has. But here it is again, and this documentary doesn't give you the "Abstract Out" some do. One boy rolled up his sleeves and caused this horror to be known to the world. I recommend you see it. You won't like it, but you'll also know you live an simple and secure life by comparison, and if you can, you might share some of your comfort with someone who has none.
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