SIDE NOTES TO THE INTERVIEW
Deng belongs to a group of refugees referred to by aid organizations as the "Lost Boys of Sudan." Named after Peter Pan's cadre of orphans, some 26,000 Sudanese boys were forced by violence from their southern Sudan villages in the late 1980s. After walking hundreds of miles in search of peace and then spending nine years in a Kenyan refugee camp, Deng is among 3,600 Lost Boys whom the U.S. government is bringing to the United States and settling in cities throughout the country.
Deng was too young to notice the civil war that raged throughout southern Sudan, until the war came to his countryside, and the conflict between the northern Khartoum-based government and the Christians in the south abruptly ended his tranquil life of herding cattle and tending to his family at his home in Bor.
Most of the Lost Boys, like Deng, are from the Dinka or Nuer tribes of Southern Sudan, where hundreds of villages have been burned, livestock stolen and families decimated. The systematic destruction and violence is considered one of the century's most brutal wars. Again and again, civilians have been targeted, their access to food often blocked as part of a military strategy resulting in widespread famine. The U.S. State Department estimates, the combination of war, famine and disease in southern Sudan has killed more than 2 million people and displaced another 4 million.
Back to Crossing the Valley
Read the Interview