Post Script: Songs Of A War Boy – Deng Thiak Adut with Ben Mckelvey

Such self awareness and an inspirational life story!

songs-of-a-war-boy

Songs Of A War Boy

Deng Thiak Adut with

 Ben Mckelvey

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733636523

 

Description:

The true story of Deng Adut – Sudanese child soldier, refugee, man of hope.

 

Deng Adut’s family were farmers in South Sudan when a brutal civil war altered his life forever. At six years old, his mother was told she had to give him up to fight. At the age most Australian children are starting school, Deng was conscripted into the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. He began a harsh, relentless military training that saw this young boy trained to use an AK-47 and sent into battle. He lost the right to be a child. He lost the right to learn.

 

The things Deng saw over those years will stay with him forever. He suffered from cholera, malaria and numerous other debilitating illnesses but still he had to fight. A child soldier is expected to kill or be killed and Deng almost died a number of times. He survived being shot in the back. The desperation and loneliness was overwhelming. He thought he was all alone.

 

But Deng was rescued from war by his brother John. Hidden in the back of a truck, he was smuggled out of Sudan and into Kenya. Here he lived in refugee camps until he was befriended by an Australian couple. With their help and the support of the UN, Deng Adut came to Australia as a refugee.

 

Despite physical injuries and mental trauma he grabbed the chance to make a new life. He worked in a local service station and learnt English watching The Wiggles. He taught himself to read and started studying at TAFE.  In 2005 he enrolled in a Bachelor of Law at Western Sydney University. He became the first person in his family to graduate from university.

 

This is an inspiring story of a man who has overcome deadly adversity to become a lawyer and committed worker for the disenfranchised, helping refugees in Western Sydney. It is an important reminder of the power of compassion and the benefit to us all when we open our doors and our hearts to fleeing war, persecution and trauma.

 

 

My View:

An incredible poignant and inspirational story – how this boy soldier survived and then went on to do great things (**more on this later) is nothing short of amazing and inspiring.

 

This narrative begins by stating the importance of Songs to the Dinka people; “They’re our avatars, and our biographies. They precede us, introduce us and live on after we die. They are also how our deeds escape our villages, and they pass on our code of morality, culture and law.

 

When I was a boy I dreamed of having my own songs, but now I am a man, I have no songs. It’s likely I never will, in the traditional sense. For the Dinka, these songs are only for men. In the eyes of my culture, I am still a boy.

 

When I should have been going through the rituals of manhood, I was caught in a vicious war. By the time I was returned to my people I was very much a westerner.”  (Prologue – Deng Adut)

 

And so begins the poignant and remarkable story of a childhood interrupted by adults’ politics and greed. Somehow this child soldier survived. Read this story and you will be amazed how anyone, let alone a child could endure such trauma – and endure Deng Adut has – Deng Adut’s adult life is testimony to how one man can make a difference (his brother John Mac in the first instance)  and many other’s later in his life’s journey.  This is Deng Adut’s story but it is many peoples story – listen and feel.

 

This personal narrative has much to offer; hope, inspiration, an honest cultural exchange…proof that education changes lives.

What I find remarkable about this man can be summed up in his own words; “I know I am whole, though. Yes, I have had a difficult life. I’m proud pf some things I have done, and ashamed of others, but I own all of it, and I’ve reconciled with all of it. That’s why I am whole.”

(Deng Adut -Prologue)

 

Wise and humble, inspiring and honest, this life, this book asks just one thing of you – open your heart and see the world with compassion.

An outstanding read! An inspiration to all.

 

 

**DENG ADUT – 2017 NSW AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR

 

At an awards ceremony last night (Monday 7th November 2016) Deng Adut, Sudanese child soldier, refugee, man of hope, was announced as the 2017 NSW Australian of the Year. Deng’s incredible story is told in his book with Ben Mckelvey, Songs of a War Boy, which was released last week and is already captivating readers across Australia.

 

Deng’s is an inspiring story of a man who has overcome deadly adversity to become a lawyer and committed worker for the disenfranchised, helping refugees in Western Sydney, where he now has his own law practice with legal partner Joe Correy, the AC Law Group. His story is an important reminder of the power of compassion and the benefit to us all when we open our doors and our hearts to those fleeing war, persecution and trauma. Media Release Hachette Australia.

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Post Script: Songs Of A War Boy – Deng Thiak Adut with Ben Mckelvey

  1. This sounds like an incredible story, Carol. My heart breaks for those young people who had their childhoods stolen from them. It’s very good to hear that he’s found a safe place to be, and made a good life for himself – what an inspiration!

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