“It was as if the last day, as people say in the Bible, that there will be the last day, that Jesus Christ will come, and whatever on Earth will be judged. That was my imagination. I thought that God felt tired of people on Earth here, felt tired of the bad deeds, the bad thing that we are doing, yet God is watching on us. I thought God got tired of us, and he wants to finish us. When I think of it back… it was so bad anyway. You can even think of – you can even regret why you were born, why you were born. Now I wonder, I’m now again wearing clothes, feeling very happy, and so anyway, everything has an end. Has an end. Even if there’s a problem in Sudan still maybe one time, one day, one minute, it will come to an end.” [Quinn, Walker, 2006]
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John Bul Dau
These words would never leave the reader indifferent and the movie ‘God Grew Tired of Us’ directed by Christopher Dillon Quinn and Tommy Walker.
The historical records outline that in 1987 the life of male Sudanese Christians in the South has turned into hell. Their own government has declared war against them due to religious beliefs, and these people appeared to be refugees at their own homes. There were various reasons to explicate the burst of genocide in the country. First and foremost is the direct purpose of eliminating the religious groups that perform hazards or potential social disruption. Further, the deposits of oil and natural minerals in the region of Darfur did not constitute less interest for the Muslim leaders.
The aim of confrontation was to annihilate; therefore, thousands of male Sudanese were violently murdered and raped. One can simply make an inference from the national anthem and the motto of the country to realize the state of things Sudan established. (National anthem starts with ‘We are the army of Allah…’ and the motto ‘The victory is ours’) The militancy of the Muslim-brought nation has frequently led the Sudanese through severe wars and confrontations, one of which is thoroughly described in the film under consideration.
‘God Grew Tired of Us’ is a documentary movie depicting the oppressions, which forced 27,000 boys to flee to Ethiopia. In 1991, they had to escape to Kenya. Twelve thousand of them survived and arranged a camp, where, after living ten years, the three of the boys got the opportunity to leave for The United States.
The viewer follows the life story of these men, who ventured meeting new civilization they did not have any idea about. The movie relates the story about John Bul Dau, Daniel Abol Pach, and Panther Bior. These are the Lost Boys of Sudan, which survived from the harsh policy their government establishes and managed to get accustomed to the new world, where they are supported and protected. The viewer has the possibility to observe how they get acquainted with the world of technology, completely new to them, how they learn to be the part of the society, and accomplish a particular function in it.
As a result, we see three successful men who managed to fulfill their aspirations. At first, they started working to maintain their living and to support their families financially left in Sudan. Now they have their own families and occupation. One of them even became a spokesperson of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Naturally, they miss their homes, their customs, but in search of religious and political protection, they stay in the United States.
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The plot of the film corresponds to the historical events which happened to the Sudanese citizens during the period of Muslim incursion into the peaceful lives of Christians of Darfur. This genocide is being mourned over and deserves specific attention and consideration. The plot of the documentary aims at discovering the true reality of the African people, Christians in the first place, who suffer from continuous persecution and are no longer welcome in one’s own country. Moreover, they are not only refugees. They are the target to be destroyed, put to death. On analyzing the documentary, the viewer has an opportunity to compare different cultures and conventions; one gets exposed to the fearful facts of African history and becomes broad-minded and more tolerant considering the life of African people.
The film is quite thought-provoking and induces willing to sympathize and support. Moreover, there arises the realization of the problem of the Sudanese regime, which may not be left behind. The reason why millions of people suffer is a conservative and humiliating country regime, which should be changed for the people who are born to be free from oppression and annihilation.
The film is rich in a wide range of ideas, stemming from the life stories of the three young men who had to flee from their homeland to find shelter and protection. The movie also uncovers the part of the political regime of Sudan and, as it may be inferred, the majority of African countries.
The title ‘God Grew Tired of Us’ is already an indicator of the main idea of the film. As far as the whole conflict was historically induced by the religious confrontation between Muslims and Christians, the religious issue is the focus of the movie. In fact, there was not any real confrontation; it was the desire of the government to eliminate Christian religious groups by the simplest method – murder.
The issue of God accompanies the events of the film from the beginning just to an end and impels to think from the global topic of religion to personal belief. Naturally, there appears the question of God’s existence. Going through the ordeals that experienced the boys throughout their lives would bring the majority of people to disbelief. This is, actually, what a large number of people think – if there was God, there would not be so many tragedies in the world. Why am I subjected to so many problems if I did not do anything bad to the others? – this is a standard question of thousands, which gradually leads to losing faith in God.
However, as one had an opportunity to observe, the three boys were strong in their belief, and the withstood the difficulties, gone through water and fire to get the life they were dreaming about, the support and peace. As one of them relates, there was a moment when they thought God wanted to get rid of them. Nevertheless, they have defeated this doubt and started believing even with more enthusiasm afterward.
Personally, as a religious person (meaning, believing in God), on watching the film, I have been thinking about the life of African people for a long time. I have been wondering why they have to suffer a lot and why God does not grant them better conditions. Then, however, I caught myself on the mind that they do not believe in the peace that God gives. Islam is concentrated on militarism and death in the name of God, which is being practiced in the majority of Muslim counties. Muslims accept only their own religion and conservatively hostile to the rest of the manifestations. At the same time, Christian followers concentrate majorly on belief, not on the fact of belonging to this or that religious group. Believing in the war in the name of God, the Muslims apply it and put thousands of citizens to death.
Not willing to be subjected to the tortures and annihilation, a lot of African people leave for other countries, which is a great discovery for them. Finding themselves in the civilization of America, a totally new world, the three boys started doing research on the development of human history. They were exposed to the achievements of society they have never seen and heard about. Experiencing this cultural shock, naturally, they missed the way of life they had before. However, this was a chance God gave them to be free from oppression, to build happy lives, and to have families safe and care.
The question to be taken under consideration comes from the events the boys had to experience – the question of feedback. The personal example of the boys states that if one is subjected to difficulties, no matter how serious they may appear, and goes through them keeping the belief in God in the heart, he/she will be saved and granted with the opportunity to live the life that he/she aspires to. The movie reflects on how hard it is to remain wise, believing in God and God’s love, when watching the people and friends die on your eyes when seeing women being raped and children violently massacred. The protagonists of the story relate about the hardest times of doubt, but at the moment, they have an opportunity to see that the sad experience was worth going through.
The film spreads enthusiasm and faith in a better future. At times inducing strong sentimental emotions, at times bringing a smile of some funny moments, the documentary is the combination of events that constituted the lives of the three Sudanese, who ventured to change their modes of living, who, striving for the better, have finally achieved it through a lot of effort and work.
The movie is not only the description of the lives of three boys but also the global description of the lives of the African people, who face such genocide quite frequently. The film implies the general picture of the state of things in Africa and induces disturbance and willing to help in changing this harsh regime. At the place where the life of a person does not perform any value, where massacres and murders are being practiced in the name of God, it is unlikely to come the God’s blessing, peace, and support.
The movie induces strong criticism of the Sudanese Muslim government and realization of being tolerant to the African people, who have gone through fearful experiences not each of us could handle. The film teaches not to lose faith in God and to keep Him in heart throughout life. Moreover, ‘God Grew Tired of Us appeals to hard work and enthusiasm, which are the paving stones to success and happiness.
Quinn, Christopher Dillon, Walker, Tommy “God Grew Tired of Us”, 2006.