I watched this documentary on the Darfur Genocide this past week. It tells the story of one man, Brian Steidle, a former US marine who served as an official observer for the African Union in the Darfur region from 2004-2005. The horrors he witnessed there have irrevocably changed him. After collecting thousands of photos and documented evidence of the Darfur genocide, he returned to the States and has ever since been trying to get us to listen to him sound the alarm, to see what he has seen, and most importantly, to act.
Frankly, the film completely undid me. This guy Brian is the sort of person we all hope to be, or perhaps hope we already are. His honest courage not to deny or forget what he has seen, his ballsy determination to go after the highest levels of government to provoke them to act on behalf of the millions without a voice--it's the stuff I want to believe I'm made of too, just like him. But, what does it say about us...no, let me make this as personal as it truly is: What does it say about me that I have, for several years now, watched, listened, and learned about Darfur, and still, really, have done nothing?
Here is a portion of a presentation Brian gave at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
This is a documentary that every one of us ought to see--to inform us about what's really happening in Darfur and inspire us to act on behalf of its people; and also, just maybe, to help us see ourselves more honestly than we do.
So watch the flick. Then go here and choose a way to take action:
Not much of a Happy New Year post, I know. But hey, what if we made it our resolution to make 2009 a good year for Darfur? That would make it a pretty good year all around, I'd say.