Regarding Darfur

26 Jul 2007

Occasionally, some of us here at Desedo volunteer to help a group called 24 Hours for Darfur. It’s an interesting project and worth checking out and supporting.

A cause célèbre, the Darfur issue is commonplace in the news and on the Issues Circuit. The focus on the region and the genocide there has grown for some time, and it’s easily found in most “incredible indignation” conversations, alongside Iraq, the Bush Administration, Those People and for some of us, Doping in the Tour De France.

Because of this broad and common exposure, it’s taken on a familiar buzzword-numbness and abstraction, becoming just another part of the sea of information and ideas we dip in and out of every day. (For an unmatched exploration of this phenomenon see Regarding the Pain of Others.)

But I recently saw a film, The Devil Came On Horseback, which broke through that numbness and caused me to feel very deeply about Darfur, the people in it, what it means to know such things about such a place, what I can or can’t do to help or prevent or make any kind of change, what my duty is as a citizen, and on and on. Like most things, if you really sit down and think about it, there’s a lot to consider, and after watching the film, you’ll most-likely find yourself checking your own values and assumptions about a range of topics that reach all the way into your own home, head and heart.

What’s more, the main subject of the film besides Darfur, is former marine Brian Steidle, someone who demonstrates many qualities most of us would be very lucky to share. I’ll take him as an inspiration.

The film is well made: well shot, arranged and edited, has a clear focus and subject, is the definition of bearing witness, and has to be seen.

It’s showing this week at IFC.