15/03/2015
lisa monaghan

Meade (2002). The lost Boys of Sudan

Easter sunshine tries to heat the pale concrete of the basketball court, and the rumble of a jet landing at nearby Sea-Tac Airport is just audible behind the loud, clean voice. Simon Mayen Deng, a slight young man in a red jersey and red-whiteand- blue headband circles in and out of the 18 dancers kneeling on the court like a displaced town crier. They have come from the north. And now smoke rises from the houses. First one house and the next and then another catches fire until the world has fallen down. My uncle comes to where we hide in the forest and tells me that my sister, my mother, my brother and father are dead. My uncle says, 'Come and see.' But what can we do? The smoke continues to rise.

It would be hard to guess that Deng had slept only four hours following his night shift as a Seattle Center janitor before coming to this rehearsal for a performance scheduled for 4 May at the Seattle Art Museum. Likewise, the exuberant steps of the dance troupe and the laughter and jostling that accompany the end of the song belie the fact that the song tells of the dancers' native villages in southern Sudan burning to the ground and the murder of their families at the hands of unknown soldiers.

Category: Anthropology and History, Conflict, Human Rights and Protection

Sub-category: Armed Groups/Actors, Children, Displacement and Protection of Civilian Sites