by Jennifer Bowman
I generally like to consider myself to be a culturally aware person. However, I was completely in the dark about the situation in Sudan. I found that by the end of the film, I had been profoundly affected by its contents.
In the United States, there is an idea about Christianity as a dominant, even controlling force. In Sudan, however - black male Christians are being persecuted and forced to flee their beloved countries and families. The fact that such blatant attempts at theocide and genocide are going on and we are doing nothing about it saddens me to a point that I cannot explain.
The Lost Boys braved a giant exodus of young men from Sudan, and eventually into Kenya, where they were protected by the United Nations. Wherever they went, they had each other - but not their families.
The film itself highlighted three black men who had been chosen to leave the United Nations camp where they had been staying for the past eleven or so years. They'd been given the chance to go overseas to live in the United States, where they would have everything provided for them for three months before they had to get jobs to provide for themselves and the possibility to go to school.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie was at Christmas. "What is Santa? What does this have to do with the birth of Jesus Christ?" was a quote worth remembering. The cultural differences between American and Sudanese Christians can be quite staggering at times.
The desperation and the feeling of displacement among the boys were quite evident throughout the film. I can't imagine leaving behind my country and family forever. It is truly a sad situation. At the same time they feel liked they'd abandoned the other lost boys.
I was so affected by the film that after seeing it, I e-mailed our senator Bob Corker and asked him to bring up this issue in Congress. I'm not sure if that will amount to anything, but if the word gets out, slowly but surely, something can be done to aid the Lost Boys of Sudan.
I suggest you all go see the movie too, if it's still playing at the Tivoli in Chattanooga. It really will affect you in a tremendous way. Hollywood makers have tried to downplay the role of religion in the conflict in Sudan, but I have certainly picked up on it.