Tonight I went to the premier of the new documentary God Grew Tired of Us. The film follows a group of “Lost Boys” of
Young black Sudanese boys were targeted for slaughter in
Most of the boys were orphaned or separated from their families when government troops systematically attacked villages in southern
killing many of the inhabitants, most of whom were civilians. The younger boys survived in large numbers because they were away tending herds or were able to escape into the nearby jungles. Orphaned and with no support, they would make epic journeys lasting years across the borders to international relief camps in Ethiopia and Kenya evading thirst, starvation, wild animals, insects, disease, and one of the most bloody wars of the 20th century. Examiners say they are the most badly war-traumatised children ever examined. Sudan
When villages were attacked, girls were raped, killed, taken as slaves to the north, or became servants or adopted children for other Sudanese families. As a result, relatively few girls made it to the refugee camps.
In 2001, several thousand Lost Boys—now men almost 15 years after first fleeing
While the opening scenes of the movie in Africa were heart-rending, the men’s arrival in the
The men followed by the filmmaker soon got jobs and began sending everything they could not only back to their families, for those who had managed to locate them, but also to their “families” back at the refugee camp, their brothers in suffering. One Lost Boy was about to enroll in a community college but then got word for the first time in 15 years that his family was alive. He dropped his plans and started working three jobs in order to support his family.
The Lost Boys experienced loneliness and alienation from their new society. One, speaking of his “brothers” left behind in
The Lost Boys began organizing to help each other and network. Some began advocating for action to stop the killing in
Director Christopher Quinn, George Biddle of the International Rescue Committee, and one of the Lost Boys (whose name escapes me) were present after the screening to answer questions. Quinn said he’d been inspired to make the film after learning about the genocide in
Now that I think about it, the men I saw at the Day for Darfur rally in
When the Lost Boy at the screening told the audience he had received his
This movie shook me on a core level. Knowing about extreme suffering on an intellectual level is not the same as seeing it unfold and watching how lives are shattered by needless conflict and blinding poverty. It’s like the pictures of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib; there’ve been much worse abuses documented—including torture and murder—but they have not registered in the national consciousness because there weren’t any pictures. I hope this movie gives the conflict in