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USA 2007
Directed by
Annie Sundberg / Ricki Stern
87 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The Devil Came On Horseback

This revealing documentary about the 2004 genocide crisis in Darfur, is told from the point-of-view of Brian Steidle, a 27-year-old ex-Marine captain from a military family who got a job as an unarmed cease-fire monitor in Darfur in Western Sudan after a 20-year civil war between the Arab-Muslim north and Christian/Anima south. Motivated by a spirit of adventure Steidle was horrified by what he experienced and returned to America to raise public awareness about the slaughter that has left 400,000 black African citizens dead and another 2.5 million displaced.

It is indeed a horrible story as a vicious Arab militia known as "Janjaweed" (roughly translated from the Arabic to mean “devil on horseback” armed and assisted by the Sudanese government methodically eliminate the black civilians of Darfu with unspeakable brutality. What is particularly depressing for Western viewers is that the Sudanese government wants control of the area to run its oil pipelines through in order to sell oil to China which thus implicating us all in the barbarity.

A good portion of the film is given over to Steidle’s valiant but apparently fruitless efforts to get the American Government to intervene and to raise the American public’s awareness of the issue. One can only hope that Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern’s documentary will help his cause.

FYI: Anyone interested in the subject matter would also find much of value in Peter Raymont’s 2005 documentary, Shake Hands With The Devil, which deals with the Rwandan genocide of 1994.




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