port of harlem magazine

March 23 - April 5, 2007


God Grew Tired Of Us  
A Book Review   / Movie Openings Expand To Baltimore and Other Cities

Wayne Young and John DauThe movie, God Grew Tired of Us, (see Special Snippets sent 01/18/2007) was so moving that I also read the book of the same name (National Geographic Society, $26).  Unlike the movie which introduced me to the struggle that created unbelievable hope in the surviving refugees of the North /South conflict in Sudan, I left the book knowing more intimately why so many recent immigrants can come to the United States, hold three jobs, and surpass the standard of living of so many native-born Americans.

As one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, John Bul Dau took the long journey from Southern Sudan to Ethiopia and finally to a refugee camp in Kenya without his parents and family. (The Northern Army was out to kill the male children of Southerners).  During one of the legs of his long walk, where he was often naked and hungry, Dau wrote, "I envied the boys who had a cup of urine to drink."  Having survived such tribulations, it is no wonder that he would later "embrace my new mother and father: the classroom and the book."

Rightfully so, John praises those Americans who cared enough to help him. When the United States brought him and many other Lost Boys to America, they settled him in Syracuse, NY.  Many of those who helped him were not African-American.  So while the book was extremely insightful and inspirational, one can detect the small impact the African-American perspective has had on this life.  He wrote: "Race and social class do not seem to define the individual; even physical handicaps are not relevant."

John is now married, with child, and educated.  He found his parents and his mother lives with him in America.  He remains a proud Dinka.  He hopes to return to mostly Christian Southern Sudan in 2010 and campaign for independence from the mostly Muslim North. "Maybe they will call it Kush, to cement the nation's identity to its biblical foundation," he writes.

The Film:  Now Showing in Baltimore Click here for additional locations.

Photo:  Wayne Young with a "Lost Boy of Sudan "John Dau.

TO CHANGE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS:  Click "SafeUnsubscribe" below, then
click here to register your new address