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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Simon Deng speaks on slavery in Sudan

Deng+spoke+to+a+large+crowd+on+the+first+floor+terrace
Deng spoke to a large crowd on the first floor terrace

Simon Deng, a Sudanese refugee, spoke at the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Campus Center Terrace on Wednesday, Feb. 26. Deng touched upon his experience as a former slave and talked about slavery in his country. He invited free people across the world to take a stand against human chattel in Sudan.
“By having me here today you have given me a chance to be the voice of those who have no voice,” Deng began. He continued to say that being on the UMass Boston campus is not only an opportunity for him to share his experience as a former slave, but also to expose the barbarity of the institution of slavery that is alive today in some part of his motherland.
Deng was only nine years old when he was captured and given to a neighbor as a gift. From this point, Deng explained that this part of his life was nothing short of an infernal moment.
“I was constantly tortured and beaten for no reason,” he recalled. Deng explained that sometimes the children of his master’s neighborhood and other around his age would take pleasure in inflicting him some of the most acute pain, just for fun. Deng added that no matter what the cruel treatment was, his only choice was always to stay submissive, motionless, and defenseless.
“If I ever tried to defend myself, grown ups [would intervene] and my torture would be worse,” he said. “I was kept under terror every day.”
Deng narrated how he was forced to do work that a child could not endure, from cleaning to feeding animals, and traveling long distances with a heavy pot to get water. He lamented how he would sometimes go without eating whenever there were no leftover food or bones to suck after a meal. “I was not considered as a human,” he said. “[At night] my place was usually the place where they kept animals.”
“I am living proof of the slavery that you know when you read the books,” Deng claimed. “I am living proof of the slavery that has taken place in Sudan.”
Deng remained a slave for three and a half years until some individuals came to his rescue and took him out of slavery and brought him back to his family. “I was initially incredibly frightened of trying to escape, for my master promised to cut my legs if he suspected me on planning or trying to run away,” he said. Deng added that the constant terror and atrocity he was subjected to only served to restrain him from thinking about freedom and destroyed any ideas of escaping.
“I’m no longer a slave! I am a free man now,” Deng shouted as he was finishing reflecting on his calamitous time during his three and a half years of slavery.
Deng now travels across the United States as a human rights activist to share his painful experience as a slave. He addresses many different audiences, from the United Nations to middle school students, in order to create awareness about the ongoing situation in Sudan.
“Freedom is important as part of life as a human being,” stated Deng.  He invites every free person to take a stand against slavery in Sudan and human trafficking around the globe.
He urges the UMass Boston community to join the fight against human abuse and to use the power of knowledge. He believes that if everyone engaged in the power of the pen, by writing petitions on the situation in Sudan and bringing it to the attention of their local legislation, that those notes would ultimate make it to Washington and some action would be taken to stop the slavery in Sudan.