Print & Online Features
by Jonah Cohen for David Magazine
Biar Atem was 7 when soldiers from the north came to kill him and every other boy in South Sudan.
For thousands of the Lost Boys of Sudan, as they’re known now, the end would come soon enough. They would be among the estimated 2 million casualties of a second civil war (now rekindled) that spanned the years 1983 to 2005.
Biar, now 33 and living in Las Vegas, somehow survived the hell of genocide, starvation and threatening wild beasts to tell his story:
On that day in 1987, the day the Khartoum soldiers came, he was some distance from his small farming village and its cluster of straw and wooden huts.
“When they attacked,” he says, “I was in the countryside with some cousins, tending my father’s cattle. That day everything changed.”
Cohen, Jonah (April 2014). "In Search of Baai: The Journey of Biar Atem, a Lost Boy of Sudan" David Magazine.
BBC: Return of the Lost Boys of Sudan
When South Sudan became independent this summer, it brought the return of many who had fled the long civil war. Among them were some of the 'Lost Boys' - the name given to more than 20,000 child refugees, some as young as seven, who walked more than a thousand miles to refugee camps in Ethiopia. More than half fell victim to war, disease and starvation along the way. Many of the survivors were recruited as child soldiers in the rebel army; others were exiled abroad.
Now some of the Lost Boys are coming home. For some it's a chance to trace lost relatives and come to terms with childhood trauma, for others an opportunity to help build the new nation and their own careers.
"Man or Rabbit" by C.S. Lewis
The New York Times: The Trials of Jacob Mach
A 24-minute documentary follows a Lost Boy who, 12 years after leaving Sudan, has found that the dream of a better life is both all around and just outside his grasp. Click here to follow us: vimeo.com/newyorktimes Watch more videos at: nytimes.com/video