Tired of hearing about the Darfur conflict, a crisis toward which you feel completely powerless? I prescribe for you Darfur Now.
Written and directed by Ted Braun, Darfur Now is an engaging documentary on the devastating consequences of the Darfur crisis that emphasizes the importance of individual and collective action to end the conflict.
The film, set to be released Oct 9, takes the audience through the everyday lives of six subjects from various areas of the world whose struggles and achievements are motivated by one common goal: to bring the Darfur crisis to an end. The movie demonstrates how the action and dedication of a person can make a difference to millions.
The director bounces back and forth between the inspirational stories of a UCLA student activist, a displaced farmer now living in a refugee camp with 47,000 Darfurians he has been ask to represent, a prosecutor of the International Criminal Court who relentlessly attempts to pursue the crime perpetrators in Darfur, an Academy Award-nominated actor using fame as a tool to pressure government officials and world leaders to act, a World Food Program team leader in West Darfur whose task is to mobilize massive convoys to deliver food to suffering people in remote regions, and finally, a female soldier of the Sudan Liberation army whose village was destroyed and family killed by the Janjaweed militia. The film also features the Sudanese-U.S. ambassador, articulating Sudan’s position on the Darfur crisis from the Sudanese government point of view.
The end result is outstanding. Supported by quite astonishing visuals, the movie provides a variety of perspectives on the issue, from within and outside of Darfur.
To refresh your memory and put things into context, the crisis in Darfur, Sudan, originated from the structural inequities around the fair distribution of wealth, land, and resources. Decades of drought, desertification, and overpopulation have contributed to the decline of the situation.
In 2003, the Justice and Equality Movement, followed by the Sudan Liberation army, attacked and captured the capital in central Darfur as a means to pressure the government to adjust its policies around power sharing and racial bias between the favored nomadic Muslim Afro-Arabs and the marginalized sedentary non-Muslim blacks.
Fearing this uprising would encourage other neglected groups in the area to also demand a higher degree of autonomy and disturb the already frail stability of the country, the Sudanese authority opted for a military solution to “resolve” the crisis. To support ground attacks, they called upon the Janjaweed militia, a nomadic Arabic-speaking African tribe.
Killing thousands of civilians, burning down villages, raping women, abducting children, poisoning water supplies, and destroying sources of food, the Janjaweed militia aside with Sudanese government have been accused by the international community of committing ethnic cleansing in Darfur. Terrorized, millions of civilians have fled their homes and now reside in overpopulated refugee camps where the living conditions are extremely difficult. Today, there is an estimated 4.5 million displaced Sudanese.
For more information on Darfur Now, visit www.myspace.com/darfurnow.