Monday, May 25, 2009

The Lost Boys.

Peter and Santino were two of thousands of misplaced children during the violence involving SPLA rebel forces against Arab armies. They were living in a small village Sudan, when their families were killed or taken captive by the army, punishing the people for an attack by the SPLA. Peter and Santino joined the stream of thousands of boys, heading for safety. They spent years in the desert, undertaking an amazing journey, to finally reach the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. However, their journey was not yet over. The boys recuperated at the camp, and gathered their strength to live again. Meanwhile, some were chosen to migrate to America, to further their success. Only a few were chosen at a time, to undertake the journey, and be left to fend for themselves in a country they could scarcely imagine. For those at the camp, growing up, America was a land of dreams and unlimited opportunity. Many ‘lost boys’, could not wait to leave Africa and find out what it was like in the West.
Peter and Santino were chosen at the same time to leave the camp, and embark. After a grueling journey, they arrived in Houston, where they were given simple housing, with many other Sudanese boys. This docurama follows their story from here.

Peter and Santino both faced a culture shock when they first arrived, America is so different from any place they could have visualized. However, assimilating into western society is not an easy task for the boys. They are racially stereotyped, and people pick fights with them, assuming they are violent and uncivilized because of their skin tone. They barely speak English, and work hard at learning the language of their host country. After learning basic English, Santino and Peter got small, and low paid jobs, yet worked hard and prospered somewhat. Education was a problem for the boys, as their age cannot be classified and some were not eligible for school. Peter got into high school, and worked at his job and his schooling, taking it very seriously, and succeeding in many areas. Santino, however, was lacking funds, as he sent most of his money to the camp in Africa for his relatives and close family. The law also was a problem for the boys, as Peter drove a car for two months without a license, only after he had an accident did he discover that he needed to pass the driving test first, and pay money in court for his mistake. Santino had troubles with his rent, as he kept mailing it and it never seemed to get to the office. This was very difficult for him as communicating with the people he was involved with was limited.

The boys went through many hardships in their journey to America, but they always kept an open mind and worked hard at most everything they did. This is the only way to achieve results. The boys successfully assimilated into American culture, and still keep the remnants of their Sudanese identity.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Colonization to Exploitation.

Colonization is when one race of people, or settlers migrate to a new land and interact with the indigenous peoples, however, colonization is not always a positive development. In most cases, such as the Aboriginals and the British, the colonizers try to force their culture and values upon the colonized. This becomes exploitation when the colonizers start to use the native people to their advantage, and do not treat them justly. Such examples of this are the Stolen Generations, when the settlers stole 'half-caste' children from their mothers, with no regard for the wishes of the Aboriginals.

The foreign people's main reason for this, was that they simply did not understand the customs of the indigenous race, and compared to their standards, judged them as "primitive". They thus assumed that the Aboriginals had less common sense, or were more gullible than they were.

However, this was not the case. There was simply a language barrier, and the settlers had more powerful weapons and were more technologically advanced than the indigenous peoples were, this was why they gained the upper hand, and were able to colonize Australia.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Apologies to the Aborigines.

When white settlers came to Australia, it was inevitable that they would have contact with the native people, whether this contact was amiable or not, depended on both the native tribes and the Europeans sharing the territory. Captain James Cook 'discovered' Australia in 1770 and claimed it, naming the area New South Wales. He did not take into account the race already living there, the Aboriginals. About 20 years later, as more whites began arriving on the continent, convicts from Europe, and made settlements along the coast, they often attacked Aboriginal villages and took the women as sexual slaves. The consequences of this brutal and violent behaviour were children, half white and half Aboriginal. In the century between 1869 and 1969, the foreigners took back these 'half-castes', establishing new laws that enabled them to steal children from their native mothers, and removing them to missionaries. These institutions were an attempt to breed the Aboriginal out of them, and maintain white purity. The children's captors, however, could never prove that the children did not suffer violence and neglect at their hands.

The apology put forth by Kevin Rudd was important, because it may have alleviated some of the enmity felt by the Aboriginals for the Stolen Generations. Wounds, no matter when they were inflicted, never fully heal, unless they are tended too. This relates to the festering emotions of anger, betrayal and fear felt by the those whose children were ripped from them for no valid reason. Although the native people of Australia can never truly forgive and forget the Stolen Generations, with this apology, the Australians and the Aborignals will work towards a healthier relationship, free of any grudges for mistakes of the past.

The colonized Aborignals, even though the Stolen Generations wasn't in their lifetime, will harbour an old prejudice against the whites that took over their land. As a result of this, they would never be able to reach cordial relations, now, with the whites apologizing for their rash behaviour, the Aborignals can forgive and move on. For the colonizers, apologizing must take much pride and regret for the past. It will humble them, and in the process of foriveness, better understand the people and culture they share their country with.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

For fear to be a King.

"We never know how high we are,
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies,

The Heroism we recite,
Would be a daily thing,
Did not ourselves the Cubits warp,
For fear to be a King."

- Emily Dickinson.

I chose this short poem, one of Emily Dickinson's few published works, as a quote to represent my personality. One of the most important lessons I have learned from life, and indeed what the first part of the poem implies, is that you can never know how good you are, or how much you can achieve, unless you try, or are faced with a situation that tests you in some way. It also mentions how if you're true to what you believe in, and keep your principles with you, you can really achieve something amazing. I have experienced this at various points in my life, and think it is a wonderful lesson to be taught. The quote also speaks of how we are always too afraid to reach our potential, fearing it may overshadow another or appear egotistical. I've also learnt this lesson from my experiences. You can never be afraid to do well at something, or be yourself. You have to take life as it comes. This is also portrayed in my picture. It shows how life is going to be rough at some times, joyful at others. This image shows that no matter what life hands you, you must embrace it fully and whole-heartedly.