January 9, 2011
This article was first published in Big Peace
By Francis Bok
Most people can think of a day that changed their lives. I can think of two. The first happened twenty four years ago, when at the age of seven I became a slave; the other is coming up in less than a month. It is a day when my people will be free.
On May 15 of 1986, when I was seven years old, my mother sent me to a marketplace in the town of Nyamlell, South Sudan to sell peanuts and eggs. The market was filled with people, sounds, and smells, with half naked children running, smiling, pushing each other. I was happy; I wanted to make my mother proud by selling as many eggs as possible. Suddenly, something happened. We looked up to see cloud of smoke rising from the direction of Gourion, my village. I heard gun shots and stomping of horses’ feet coming fast from the distance. Everybody around me began running in all directions. A wall of dust preceding their arrival, an Arab militia stormed the market.