They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky:
                 The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan


 

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    Issue 20 - July, 2006

Darfur:Lost Boy of Sudan

  By: Roxana Olivera

Benjamin Ajak was five years old when, two decades ago, the Sudanese government-backed Murahiliin forces attacked his village and gunned down his mother and father.

He was confused then, and remains puzzled today, as to why the sudden attacks took place.

�We are all people of God,� Ajak said from La Mesa, California during an interview.

�And he put us on this earth as equals.�

�My parents were innocent and loving people who did not even follow politics,� he said.�

Ajak is one of the 30,000 �lost boys and girls� of Sudan who were left orphaned by the civil war that broke out in that country in 1983. He is one of the walking skeletons who, on his long journey through landmines to a refugee camp in Ethiopia, saw many other children die of disease, starvation and exhaustion, as well as countless bodies that were picked off by lions. He is also one among the 3,800 refugees who were chosen to settle in the United States.�

But above all, Ajak is one of the many victims of that war who now lobby for intervention in Darfur.

He doesn�t want the children of Darfur to undergo the ordeal he was forced to endure that night, twenty years ago, when he was robbed of his parents. He said he has been haunted by endless nightmares of what transpired that night.

�After they killed my mom and dad, one of the militias pointed his gun at me. But another militia intervened and told him, �Let him go. He�s too little. He doesn�t know what he�s doing. Maybe he�ll die on his own.��

That recurring nightmare stirred emotions of rage and anger within him for a long time. To overcome those feelings, he and his cousins Alephonsion and Deng, also �lost boys� now living in the U.S., began to speak about their experiences at schools and community events across the country. They put their memories together in their book They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky to raise awareness about the ongoing genocide in Darfur.�

And they call on their audiences to help them put an end to that war. �What�s going on in Darfur right now,� Ajak said, �pains me a great deal.�

�It�s the same thing that happened to me, and it still has the same effect it had on me when I had to get out of Sudan.�


Ajak doesn�t know much about Canada except that �[Canadians] are kind people.�


When he flew from Europe to New York to begin his new life, his flight was diverted to Newfoundland. It was September 11, 2001. He didn�t know what was going on, but he remembers that Canadians were very hospitable during the three weeks he had to remain on their territory.


On the basis of that experience, Ajak asks Canadians to join him in his crusade to stop the Darfur genocide.


�Elimination is taking place again in Darfur. Many children are losing their childhood and are being forced out of their homes,� Ajak said.


�Speak up for the Darfurians.�


�Ask people to stop the killings and to help Darfurians return to peace,� he pleaded.


Ajak had no hesitation to send a message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.


�You are the Prime Minister of Canada,� he said, �help me stop the bloodshed.�


�The people of Darfur are in pain.� Bullets are replacing food and family.��


�Darfurians think of their children who are already dead and of those who will die of hunger and thirst.�


�They lost everything, but nobody is listening to them.�


�Give them what they need so that they can return to a safe and peaceful way of life,� he implored.


Ottawa�s position on Darfur has been, thus far, one of hesitation.


A leading Canadian authority on genocide and genocide prevention, Dr. Gerry Caplan, is deeply touched by Ajak�s calls for help.


Yet, Caplan is less than optimistic that the Canadian government will be forthcoming.�


�We know that Prime Minister Harper seems moved by the need to show President Bush that Canada is now onside. But might he also be moved by the pleas of Ben Ajak and the tens of thousands of Canadians who agree with Ben?� � he asked.

Published in Canadian Dimension.

Peacejournalism.com,2006.

 


 


Copyright 2005 Public Affairs Books.

Lost Boys of Sudan

 


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They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky
Alephonsion Deng a
nd Lost Boys