Posted by: gcarkner | February 2, 2013

The Lost Boys of Sudan

The Real Problem of Evil

My 15 year old daughter and I watched an award winning  documentary the other day called God Grew Tired of Us. It was a tragic and wonderful real life story. For some of us, the problem of evil and suffering is a theoretical/philosophical issue. How can a good God allow such suffering. Where did evil originate? There was no hiding behind the niceties of the philosophy colloquium for several thousand of these displaced boys known as The Lost Boys of Southern Sudan.  This story occurred during the civil war. They were in the pit of human evil where people were treated like rodents, villages burned, families splintered, the economy devastated. Some saw their parents killed in front of them. It was a nightmare of organized state barbarism, anti-humanism.

The parade of refugees was on the run for their very lives from military forces of the north destined to wipe them off the face of the earth. Many died on the journey, but they had to pull together. They organized and set a trajectory for Ethiopia. Many were as young as five. They walked barefoot for a thousand miles with very little food to finally find respite at a refugee camp in Ethiopia where they had some support for three years. It is a story of amazing human will to survive the worst circumstances. Then the government of Ethiopia fell and they were on the run once again, this time to Kenya. Just 12,000 made it to a UN refugee camp  in northern Kenya called Kakuma. The story follows the lives of three of these lost boys who spent ten years in Kakuma, leading and caring for the others in the camp. The camp swelled to 86000. These three were finally given a chance to go to America and start a new life through the refugee program.

We see them first adjusting to culture shock, reflecting on their story of brokenness, missing their friends and mourning the loss of their parents. Then we see them growing morally. John Bul worked three jobs so he could send money back to the camp and to his family. Then they start organizing awareness events on the plight of Southern Sudan and banding together with other Sudanese refugees across America to stop the carnage and help the refugees. Each of them pursue education to better their future. One sees the beauty of these noble young men who have suffered such loss. It is a gripping, heart-breaking story well told.

I was reminded of my Sudanese friend in Oxford who was studying for his MBA to lead a book publishing company back in Kenya. We were in the same residence in North Oxford one Spring. He also told me some hair-raising stories of brutality, and also productive experiences of lobbying Canadian oil companies who were in Sudan at the time, or speaking at the UN. He was a brave and beautiful Christian guy; most of the Christians are in the south of Sudan. As you may know, it is now a separate country. Such grace and beauty out of such a tragedy.

I highly recommend the documentary, which you can rent from local VPL libraries or UBC, to help build your soul in the area of justice. It reveals much about our human condition.

If you should like to get involved, Kinbrace is a local Vancouver organization that assists refugees in Canada–directed by Loren Balisky, a UBC Alumnus: Phone 604.255.9691 <loren@kinbrace.ca>

Gord Carkner

God Grew Tired of Us

God Grew Tired of Us (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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