Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Are you kidding me?

Now it's the fault of the US and the EU that terrorist (that's what they are) went into the AU peacekeeping camps and killed at least 20 people??


Last week I went to see the documentary film "The Devil Came On Horseback".

It's about US Marine' Captain Brian Steidle's 6 month experience working as part of an AU team investigating the attacks on villages throughout the region. The people were slaughtered, there's no other word for it. The film presents graphic visual evidence of the atrocities in that country as well as describes some 80 reports that were sent up through the bureaucratic channels to "who knows where".

The US embassy received 4 of them.

In one particularly poignant scene, the one I'll remember long after I forget the rest I'm sure, Captain Steidle talks about how he and his crew had calculated, based on previous patterns and the direction the terrorists were traveling, which village would be attacked next. They wanted to protect the village but were not given the resources by their new commanding officer. Instead, they were just permitted to fly over the village while it was in the process of being burned to the ground. Torched, one home at a time.

As soon as they saw the helicopter, those setting the village ablaze piled into 2 trucks and drove off. All Captain Steidle and his companions could do was take their pictures as they weren't issued guns even to protect themselves let alone the villagers.

During that portion of the film, he spoke about how utterly helpless he felt at that moment. I felt it too. The producers of the film put that scene together so that, as he told the story, we looked at the photographs he shot that day. Pickup trucks, filled with masked men holding guns, driving away down an isolated dirt road in the desert. The same exact scene that is included in nearly every Hollywood "action adventure" film!

We all know the very next scene is supposed to be of the hero taking out a huge missile launcher and blowing the bad guys to smithereens, saving the elated villagers who then throw a massive party to celebrate. That's the way it supposed to happen.

It's not supposed to be a US trained Marine captain, armed only with a camera, shooting frame after frame as they get away. Nor, is it supposed to be that same US Marine Captain going back hours later, to film the hacked up, burned and raped bodies of those left lying outside the looted and burned huts they once called home.

It's not supposed to happen like that!!

This week I told a friend a little about this movie and he said to remember the story of the starfish so I didn't start feeling hopeless. I wasn't quite sure what he meant. In the story, a young child goes to the beach at low tide and starts picking up starfish, throwing them back into the sea. An adult comes by and asks the child what she's doing, what she's doing isn't going to make any difference, there's too many starfish, she can't possibly save them all. "It makes a difference to this one" the child says as she picks up another and tosses it back to the sea.

What did that have to do with Dafur?

I thought his point was that at least something was being done to help at least one person in Dafur, but now I think he meant something much different. I think he was saying that although we, individually, can't do something to save the people of Dafur, we can all do some thing about something some where and we should!

Perhaps he's right, all I can do to help the people of Dafur, is to spread the word that something TERRIBLE is happening there and that We as a nation, and as a generation who is supposed to have learned from the history of too many genocides before, aren't doing anything about this one. The consequences of that apathy rests on all our heads!

It most certainly rests on the heads of those in the Sudanese government, that have not only refused to admit there was a genocide happening in their country, but as the film alleges, are supplying the arms and training to those who are decimating their own people.

This current raid, and the blame game that is sure to follow, is just further evidence of a world gone crazy! Where innocents are slaughtered while the rest of the world blames each other and does nothing about it.

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