"Helping out is not some special skill. It is not the domain of rare individuals. It is not confined to a single part or time in our lives. We simply heed the call of that natural caring impulse within, and follow where it leads us," writes Ram Dass in How Can I Help? Since the United Nations described Darfur as "the world's greatest humanitarian and human rights catastrophe," activists in the United States and elsewhere have responded to that inner call. More than 200,000 people have died and another 2.5 million people have been displaced over the past four years of civil war in Sudan a record that would make many people think the situation is hopeless. But writer and director Theodore Braun is not one of them. He decided to do something positive by making a documentary about the efforts of six very different individuals who have responded to the crisis in creative and courageous ways. He was granted access to the camps for the displaced people of Darfur who have lost their homes and livelihoods, Sudanese government officials who claim that the United States is responsible for launching a biased media campaign against them, and the rebel-controlled territory in the Jebel Marra region, where no group had ever filmed before.
Adam Sterling is a UCLA student who felt compelled to do something about the tragedy in Darfur and so has tried to arouse public attention to the problem and get a bill through the California legislature that will keep the state's funds out of Sudan.
Ahmed Mohammed Abakar is a former builder and farmer who now is a sheikh in a camp with 47,000 other Darfurians where he tries to look after his people and protect them from hostile local authorities and attacks from militias.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo is Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague who has been asked by the U.N. Security Council to launch an investigation into the crimes against humanity in Darfur. He secures arrest warrants for a Sudanese official and a leader of the Janjaweed militias who have been responsible for horrific crimes in Sudan.
Actor Don Cheadle's activism was aroused during the filming of Hotel Rwanda, and he has written a book about how people can get involved. He is shown traveling with fellow actor George Clooney to China and to Egypt to convince world leaders to act on behalf of the suffering people in Darfur.
Pablo Recalde is an Ecuadorian who leads the World Food Program team in West Darfur. Despite the very real dangers in the area, includings hijackings, terrorist threats, and the civil war, he is doing what he can to alleviate the anguish of the people in Sudan.
Hejewa Adam is a mother who was attacked by Janjaweed militias; her three-month son was beaten to death while on her back. She has joined the rebel army and dreams of the day when she can return to her village and the life before war.
This inspiring documentary gives us hope that individuals who follow their conscience can contribute and make a dfference in the lives of those who are the victims of staggering violence and suffering in Darfur.
Special DVD features include an introduction and commentary by writer/director Theodore Braun and additional scenes.