“Win/Win”

I haven’t written for these past few days, because we’ve been in Chicago visiting my daughter. It’s the fun part of having grown children, that are carving out their own way in the world. Traveling is something I simply love to experience. Seeing new places, and meeting new people to add to my story, is the mothers milk of life itself. This adventure was no exception, as I was able to take away more meaningful encounters. For example, our second Uber driver told us his incredible story of hardship and survival as a Sudanese refugee escaping on foot at the age of five to Ethiopia fleeing persecution from North Sudan’s Islamic militants. Malith Ahjk was told by his mother to leave, as the young boys of his village were being killed by the Muslim faction of the Sudanese north, who as part of an ethnic cleansing, we’re going village to village killing every male, thought to be a possible threat of resisting their imposed rule over the black Christians of Southern Sudan. The children, later known as “The Lost Boys” walked a thousand miles through the desolate wilderness to safety in Ethiopia. The eldest of which was only eleven, somehow managed to herd this group of several thousand young boys away from this terrible genocide and onto a chance for something better. His story touched me like nothing I’ve ever heard first hand. I had no way of knowing I would encounter this gentleman, and his amazing story, when we got into his car that morning in Lincoln Park. We were simply heading to eat at one of our favorite Chicago restaurants. Malith wasn’t bitter about the struggles he endured, and we talked at length about the conditions in Africa, that so many millions of people are dealing with. I couldn’t help but relate it to this attempt to create a narrative, where everyone gets a chance at a better life. “Win/Win” is my effort to eliminate the future story of another person, who may get caught up in a similar circumstance, causing another child to flee for their life. The story of “The Lost Boys” and the countless other atrocities occurring in the world today, are not just tales of tragedy, but also the alarming reality of how indifference is portrayed to the extent it turns to hatred, and even genocidal death for literally entire cultures around the world. I know our species is so much better than that. I see it each and every day, yet I also know what depths of cruelty we are capable of sinking to, whenever the narrative is derived from the wrong source. Malith spoke about the absence of education in Sudan, and I realized this starvation of understanding is behind all that we define today as social/cultural issues. When the color of another humans skin gives rise to the tragic indifference, and thus injustice, that transforms into subsequent elimination of compassion for any individual, shouldn’t the antidote be comprised of acceptance for everyone, regardless of any and all perceived differences?

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