The Devil Came on Horseback The Devil Came on Horseback is a documentary following Brian Steidle, a retired Captain of the United States Marine Corps who was sent to monitor a ceasefire in Sudan. Brian was sent over as an unarmed military observer or a patrol leader, which was quite the change for the retired Captain, as he was use to being in the action. Little did Brian know, within six months he found himself in the middle of a rising conflict in Darfur, spreading to the entire region.
In Darfur and Sudan there has been a two decade civil war between the North and South, resulting in thousands of innocent lives being lost.
Before Brian was sent over, there had been threats of undermining a peace agreement in Darfur. The North, which was mostly Arab people, was controlled by Arab tribes. Darfur wanted to rule the economic developments being made on the North’s land. Many attacks have been made in attempts to do so, including an attack on an airport that destroyed many planes and killed seventy-five people.
The Janjaweed, who are Arab militia men sent on horseback to attack, and rape village people, as well as burn their entire villages down.
The Sudanese government denies any involvement with this group of people, despite interviews with Janjaweed members making claims that they are, in fact trained and supplied with weapons by the Sudanese government. The Janjaweed are trained in the Lagowa Province, which includes the oil pipelines in Sudan. These individuals are paid in the loot they get from attacking the villages. In the Western Darfur region, there are over 180,000 lives lost, some in part to the actions of the Janjaweed. Many people have fled their villages in hopes to save their lives, along with their families.
The previously mentioned Lagowa Province plays a much bigger role than a place for the militia to train. It also serves as a place for this militia to easily transport their weapons and other materials needed to continue their terror. China has also become involved with the Lagowa Province and the Janjaweed. Due to the lacking of resources in Sudan to drill for oil, Sudan relies on China to drill and buy their oil. China currently buys eighty percent of Sudan’s oil, because of this; they build roads along the pipeline to transfer their goods easier.
In turn, Sudan uses the money and roads from China to supply their Janjaweed militia men with weapons and training. The Janjaweed use their government supplied training and weapons to chain and burn villagers alive. The Janjaweed have even attacked an all-girls school in one of the villages, and burned any men who tried to protect the children. It is because of these actions and violence against the innocent people that the African Union is monitoring this ceasefire. Upon hearing about the cease fire monitoring, Brian volunteered himself to go.
It was Brian’s job to perceive the complaints about the situation, and find out who was responsible for violating the ceasefire. Many of the people Brian talked to felt that genocide was occurring, and that is was simply a matter of the Arabs versus the black villagers. The 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention defined genocide as the intentional destruction of racial, ethnic, national, or religious group. If a situation were to be defined as genocide, it was ruled that the situation required any government to take action.
Under the Bush administration, it was ruled that America would not recognize the situation as genocide, despite the apparent systematic cleansing of an entire group of people. In late 2004, Collin Powell ruled the situation as genocide, and later Bush backed up Collin’s decision to do so. After leaving Darfur at the end of July, Brian wrote a total of eighty reports and sent them to the American Embassy. They replied saying that they only received four of them. This was frustrating to Brian, because he saw it as a way to redeem ourselves from Rwanda.
Because of this, he saved all his reports, photographs, and any other evidence he collected while there, in hopes that the African Union or the American Embassy would release them. When they would not release them, and listed them as classified, it angered Brian and he took matters into his own hands. Brian was, however, fearful of retaliation from the American and Sudanese government for releasing the pictures and reports himself. To avoid personal retaliation, Brian consulted Nicholas Kristof, a columnist for the New York Times, to do so.
After releasing the pictures politicians, senators, and congressmen wanted to hear his story. When speaking at the Holocaust Museum he told his story and showed pictures. At the end of his speech, he opened it up for a question and answer portion. Sudanese men questioned Brian and tried to defend the situation in Darfur. The men stated that the pictures and stories were not as dramatic as that they thought, and that they saw no evidence of genocide or mass rape. Because of strong reactions such as these, the State Department asked Brian not to show his photographs anymore.
After a short time, Brian returns to Chad to assist individuals who had fled from their homes and across the border. These individuals are already living with limited resources, such as food and water, but many more are coming across the border to freedom. Because of this, fleeing to Chad really causes more stress for the families. Men who go to collect firewood are at risk of castration or being killed. Women who go out to gather for their family also risk being raped, which causes much shame.
The women who are raped by the militia men call it being “beaten up by the Janjaweed. ” The Janjaweed know the disturbance it causes not only for the woman herself, but in her marriage as well, and utilize it as a tool of war. After the women are raped, many times their husbands leave them. As if rape, murder, and shame were not enough hardship for them, many of the people who have come to Chad simply want to go home, but they realize that they cannot do so until the fighting stops. Many of the refugees speak of loss of family members, and in some cases, their whole family.
Despite the great loss many of these people have suffered, they still take the time to thank the Americans for sending over supplies, and shame the Islamic or Arabic government for not helping. Because of his deep involvement in Darfur, when Obama spoke at a rally in Washington, D. C. about the situation, Brian also spoke. Brian is steadily doing what he can to help, as he feels guilty for not being able to do more. Currently, Darfur war crimes are processed to the International Criminal Court. Sudan still opposes sending any United Nations troops into Darfur.
Meanwhile, the violence is quickly spreading to Chad were many victims have already gone. Humanitarian groups are quickly pulling out of Darfur. Because of the lacking of involvement, since 2003 more than 400,000 people have died, and over 2. 5 million people have been displaced. This movie was especially moving because it gave you a real look at the situation through Brian’s eyes. The way Brian wanted to help, but could not was truly a battle that I felt while watching the documentary. The pictures shown were very gruesome, but also provided an insider look at what was really happening.
My mind was blown to find out that the Sudanese government is supplying and training these people to take out individuals living in their villages. Also, the way the Sudanese men defended what was happening was sickening. The way the men stood up there and said that they saw no act of genocide was sickening. I am glad that I watched this movie, as it has opened my eyes greatly to what is really happening in Darfur. I am also very happy that I watched this movie after Hotel Rwanda, as I saw the similarities between the two even more clearly.
Cite this The Devil Came on Horseback
The Devil Came on Horseback. (2016, Sep 02). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-devil-came-on-horseback/