Brian Steidle, The Devil Came on Horseback; Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur (New York: Public Affairs, 2007), 230pp.
After four years as a captain in the Marines, in September 2004 Brian Steidle moved to Darfur, in western Sudan, where he joined an international team from the African Union to monitor the unfolding tragedy "where Arab Muslims kill African Muslims because the Africans are 'too black.'" Their team was unarmed and officially impartial to all sides; their duty was to "observe, inquire, and write reports," although by the end of his stint Steidle realized that of the 80 reports his team wrote only four reached the American Embassy by normal channels. When he left six months later he had assembled a comprehensive documentation of the Darfur genocide, including a photo archive of 3,000 pictures (twenty of which are included in the book), an audio journal he made on an MP3 player, personal notes, emails, and intelligence collected from some 30 NGOs.
Steidle's book is his eyewitness account of the horrors he documented on a daily basis—children who had been shackled together, raped, and then burned alive; gang rape of women and girls of all ages; grotesque dismemberment of victims; the total burning of dozens of villages; the bull-dozing of camps for internally displaced victims; starvation; mass graves; jets and helicopter gunships slaughtering civilians; and endless cases of pillage and plunder. "Welcome to hell," one of his colleagues said when he first arrived. Estimates vary, but about 300–500,000 black African Muslims have been killed by the Sudan government (both army and police) and the janjaweed militia (literally "devil on a horse") that they have funded, trained (complete with graduation exercises), armed, and closely collaborated with in attacks. Another 2–3 million have been internally displaced. One of the most chilling pieces of evidence in his book, if anyone needed more evidence, is a government document specifying the steps they were taking to execute an official policy of ethnic cleansing. Most disheartening of all, Steidle understood that the Sudanese government knew that it could continue the genocide unabated because the international community would do nothing at all. Violence has spilled over into neighboring Chad and also threatened NGO and humanitarian workers. In addition to his book, Steidle has made a film that was released in the summer of 2007 (see www.thedevilcameonhorseback.com).