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Dave eggers, what is the what: the autobiography of Valentino. Achak Deng - Essay Example

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Soon after World War 2 ended,a number of colonized countries were granted independence.Sudan became a single,independent,unified nation in 1956.However,as seen in most newly-independent countries during post-colonization,destabilization and instability followed suit,especially in regions governed by multiple ethnic,communal and religious factions…
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Dave eggers, what is the what: the autobiography of Valentino. Achak Deng
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Download file to see previous pages Soon after World War 2 ended,a number of colonized countries were granted independence.Sudan became a single,independent,unified nation in 1956.However,as seen in most newly-independent countries during post-colonization,destabilization and instability followed suit,especially in regions governed by multiple ethnic,communal and religious factions. It is in this setting that Achak Deng began his epic journey across borders. According to Marshall (2006) in his report for Africa Conflict Prevention Pool, armed conflicts and ‘forcibly displaced populations’ escalated in sub-Saharan Africa between mid-1950s and mid-1970s1. During the First Civil War in Sudan, fearing dominance by the Muslim north, southern Christian rebels formed a secessionist movement (of which Achak’s father was a member), struggling with internal factionalism and instability. In the 1980s after the discovery of oil in the south, Khartoum began taking territory by force. This was the time when Achak’s friend Lino and his family were driven from their home in the Muglad Basin. The destabilized nature of decolonized Africa in the late 20th and early 21st centuries is further portrayed in the turbulence caused by Islamization Program begun by the President in 1983, that was not well-received by the southerners. Deng mentions Islamization in the appearance of a handless man in his village, who had been punished by sharia law for stealing in Khartoum2. The Second Civil War erupted and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) was formed3. Deng mentions this in the light of boys recruited to join it along his journey to safety. However, according to HRW (2003)4, the greatest devastation was caused by the Arab Baggara raiders or murahaleen who were armed by the government and encouraged to attack and drive out the rebels in the name of Islam. Male Dinka were killed, women and children kidnapped, and villages destroyed. In Marial Bai, where Deng lived with his storekeeper father and his mother, everything changed in 1987 when militiamen and the murahaleen came on horseback, camels and trucks, killing and abducting children, and burning the market to ashes5. He describes this vividly in the book, bringing into focus the instability and chaos which often follow independence in formerly colonized countries (Kaplan, 2009). He was forced to hide in an abandoned house by his mother. He never saw her after that. Later, Deng crawled out and started walking. He was joined by a friend and later a group of boys. Together, they began their long arduous walk to Kenya, becoming one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, a generation of thousands who journeyed across borders to live in refugee camps6. It took months to reach Ethiopia, where he thought he would find peace. But this was not to be. In 1990, when the Ethiopian dictator was deposed, he began another long trek to Kenya7. The destabilized nature of Sudan and other post-colonial countries torn by war and political instability is demonstrated by what he experienced and witnessed during his epic walk to Ethiopia and then to the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. He tells us of thousands of children, driven away from their villages, wandering through war zones, encountering never-ending cruelty, minefields, massacres, loneliness, fear, starvation, disease, and wild animals. 2.5 million people died of war and war-related causes in the Sudan, with over 4 million being internally displaced in the south. Death and disease were everywhere. Deng describes how he woke up one morning to find his friend dead8. As they had to leave in a hurry, the boys threw leaves on the body and left. These boys had seen their families being slaughtered, and many would never be reunited with those who lived. In another incident, Deng had to dig a shallow grave for his childhood friend, William K9. He almost fainted in exhaustion when he finished, and apologized to the boy. If someone was sick, the others kept away from him. They could not afford to catch the disease from him. He watched many boys go mad out of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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