Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sudan: A Former Slave Tells His Story

In 2008, Rachel Glogowski, then an associate editor at Youth Journalism International and a high school senior in Bristol, Connecticut, heard author Francis Bok speak at the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Connecticut, about the decade he spent enslaved in his Sudanese homeland. Rachel wrote about it for YJI then, and took the photo below. The story is well worth repeating now as the people of Sudan begin their election on January 9 that may result in the country being divided into two nations, north and south.

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Francis Bok, at the Ethel Walker School in Connecticut in 2008
December 8, 2008

'I'm not an animal'

By Rachel Glogowski
Associate editor

SIMSBURY, Connecticut, U.S.A. – What began as any normal day for Sudanese man Francis Bok ended in the hell of being captured into child slavery that would change the rest of his life.
Yet Bok is now seeking forgiveness for the people responsible for the nightmare.

Bok was only seven when his mother sent him to the local market to sell peanuts and eggs for the family and Northern Sudanese men raided the village, viciously slaughtering the men and capturing the women and children.
Bok, who could only speak his native tribal language as a child, said he couldn’t understand why they hated him.

I knew that I couldn’t fight back, because if I do, I would get killed,” Bok said at a recent appearance at the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury.

That terrible night in 1986, Bok’s captors took him into Northern Sudan and forced him to be a child slave for an Arab family. He never saw his parents or sisters again, and learned years later that they were burned alive in the raid on his Southern Sudan village.

Although his masters were cruel and spat on and beat Bok daily, he never lost hope.

For the rest of Rachel's compelling piece about Francis Bok, click on this link.

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