One evening this week while I was procrastinating from doing school work by flipping through some channels on TV, where I stumbled across a documentary on the lost boys from Sudan living in the USA. There was some typical stuff about change in temperature – freezing cold versus hellish hot; missing family members; weird food; etc. etc. But then there were a couple comments that struck me…
First, there was the comment that the community in which they were living and working had gone to the police complaining that they didn’t like the fact the there was a group of african men walking around in a large group (about 10). The Lost boys were contacted and told about this and requested to walk only in groups of no more than 3. I think what struck me was my reaction – very sad but understandable that the community would react that way. And now as I reflect, how sad is that? An injustice happens and my reaction is sad, but understandable??? Wow. I now know how Nazis rise to power, racism persists, oppression goes on, human beings are trafficked across the world – its sad, but understandable as I stand by and do nothing.
Second, there was a throw away comment about asking for directions – in Sudan if you are looking for a person’s house or even a certain place, it is common and acceptable to knock on someone’s house/hut or go up to one in a field to ask and it often turns into a small chat. The Lost boys talked about knocking on a door of a house asking for directions and how they were yelled at and told to get off the property. It’s like someone responded to them with the attitude of “what do i look like, a friggin’ map? or the yellow pages?” My reaction again was a smile and it is understandable. How true that is, i thought. How much this is my experience and how often it is the way i act. And in the end, what a commentary on the result of our practice of stringent individualism versus the practice of community. I love my privacy, my own space, my rights, but i am lonely and at times empty, perhaps our/my individualism has gone too far. Perhaps being friggin’ map or yellow pages is a step in the right direction?