Sudan story shared
Last Tuesday night, Simon Deng spoke about his experience of being a child slave in Sudan and the need to help those who are still enslaved. He spoke of the genocide, confirmed in the United States, that is taking place in Sudan.
“The war that is going on in Sudan today goes back to the time when Sudan took control from Britain,” said Deng.
In 1956, Britain left Sudan in the control of the Northern Arabs and Muslims. Since that point, the country has been ruled by the Khartoum government, whose goal is the Arabization of the country. To this end, they supply arms to Muslims who raid African villages, killing the sick and elderly and selling the women and children into slavery. At this point, more than three and a half million Sudanese have been killed.
“I will always remember when I was a child and the government troops raided my village and slaughtered all of us who didn’t escape,” said Deng. “I was playing with some friends when two of them were shot down. My two other friends and I just started to run.”
For Deng, this raid would eventually lead him to slavery. After leaving his village with his remaining family, he was tricked into boarding a boat.
“I was taken to another village with the other slaves and we were distributed among the families. This was the beginning of the nightmare of me as a slave,” said Deng.
He was only nine when he arrived and would remain in bondage for three years. When he arrived, he was beaten and shown a picture of a boy without legs and arms and told that his fate would be the same if he tried to escape. He suffered merciless beatings, was made to sleep with the animals and replaced the donkeys as a means to get water from the Nile.
“For you, you always read about slavery in the past; in Sudan this is not the case. I am standing here as living proof that this is not the case,” he said.
When the family he was enslaved to moved, he ran into a man from his own tribe. He was helped to escape and reunited with his family, who had assumed him dead for some time. Later, he came to the United States.
“In New York I read an article that said you can buy a slave in Sudan for 10 dollars,” he said. “I found it difficult to go to sleep knowing kids in Sudan are still slaves. I decided it wasn’t shameful to talk about it, it was shameful to live in denial.”
Deng ended his speech with a call to action for his listeners.
“You are lucky to be at this college. You have the power to change
things. Write politicians and ask them: You said this is a genocide, so what are
you doing to stop it?”