At the recommendation of the Cropseys, we, the McLaughlins and Faders, got together with some friends last night and had a viewing of The Devil Came on Horseback, a documentary about a young retired US Marine who travels to Darfur and ends up with a photographic exposition of the atrocities there. It is a fine film, chosen for the Sundance Festival last year. We thought it would be an interesting way to learn more about this conflict and engage some of our friends on a situation dear to our hearts.
Jason's brother Caleb, who is heading out next week for 2 years with the Peace Corps in Uganda, spent 2-3 months in Darfur drilling wells last year. Thankfully he was in town and able to be there, and provided some very personal perspective to an already personal documentary.
David Durham (my brother-in-law's father) wrote that much of the sentiment over Africa can be summed up in a single letter: "O". As in, "O Africa!" The tragedy, the joy, the horror, the need, the gift.
As eight young Americans sat around after our movie last night, it seemed that everyone's heart was crying out "O!", but when we tried to decide what to do, the complexity of any solution loomed large. I do not claim any exhaustive knowledge of world affairs, but it does seem that the greatest world crisis currently is Darfur, with millions displaced, and over 400,000 killed. What to do? Be aware? OK, we can do that. Tell others? We can do that, too. Support sending in armed forces and be involved in another nation-building event? Maybe, but our collective wisdom seems not to be sufficient to answer that definitively.
Pray? Yes, we can pray. God, help Darfur. Help us to know how to act justly. Bring healing, wholeness, peace.