Opening 28 Aug 2008
Brian Steidle, under the direction of Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern, documents the Sudanese Arab government’s genocide against the black population in Darfur, Western Sudan. As a former marine looking for a new responsibility, he originally went to the Sudan as an unarmed military observer from the U.S. He felt a great need to inform the world as the UN seemed reluctant to challenge the Sudan and the Geneva Convention had no effect. In 2004 he returned with camera, pen, and paper to document the situation in Darfur. It was governed by two groups of Arabs: the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA). Their soldiers were nothing more than government rebels going by the name Janjaweed, which means devil on a horse. They were paid in loot, so they massively looted, burned, and raped to collect their just due. Now, several years later there are 450,000 dead, three million refugees, most of them living Chad and 3.5 million dependent on charity for food. The Chinese have taken over oil production which they protect with their own military; eighty percent of the oil goes to China.
Steidle considers this a true genocide because the country’s Arabs target the black inhabitants. He fearlessly visits burned villages, talks to victims, and goes to refugee camps where people walk a whole day for firewood. He sponsored a Save Darfur rally in Washington D.C. He has testified in the International Court in the Hague. His sister Gretchen supports him with her Global Grass Roots organization which helps Africans (see www.globalgrassroots.org). The U.S. has committed to some support but so far no help has arrived from the Arab world although the victims are Moslems. This film is just a small part of an awareness campaign and I hope that it is influential in bringing change. (Becky Tan)