"and someday you will find your own jailer's daughter, and in her you will bring light." ~Father Matong
I am the jailer’s daughter. I have become her. Valentino Achak Deng’s words providing me a sight I never knew existed. My vision was dimmed to parts of the world. But Achak’s memories and words gently formed by Eggers, granted me light. From this light I have learned a valuable lesson. This was a prophesy spoke to Achak by Father Matong while at a refugee camp in Ethiopia. And I believe it came to pass while reading What is the What and I believe anyone that reads this book the same shall happen to them. I just completed this book today. I stayed up late last night and spent a good part of my early morning reading What is the What. It seemed to take me forever to read this book. It is long 532 pages to be exact, but with an increased font size of one point it would have easily doubled to 1064 pages, nevertheless; it was well worth it.
We in America are such a privileged people. Even our poorest and lost have options and opportunities readily available. In Sudan they have no such assistance. I don’t think our western minds could bare such destruction in life, both to property and to life. Reading firsthand what occurred in Sudan during a war that lasted over 20 years is baffling. It seemed unbelievable. There were times I had to stop reading. I often shook my head in disbelief and sighed in horror. Yet, I did not skip a word. I did not skim a sentence. I did not speed-read through one paragraph. I wanted, needed to take it all in. In doing so, I have been changed. The atrocities that happen against human rights in Sudan must be stopped. Although this book was written in 2006 the injustice against Sudanese still exists.
Saturday morning as I was enjoying my early morning cup of coffee, sitting on the leather recliner with books, a newspaper and my Kindle surrounding me, the windows open allowing the sun to light my home, the cool morning air entering, I was comforted in the stability provided; comforted by the privilege freedom and a stable government brings me. I began to read the BBC news and to my astonishment read that a multitude of women in Southern Sudan had been raped, that over 50,000 children face the possibility of death because of wide spread famine and diseases. I thought to myself, is this not what I am reading in What is the What, could it be that the same conditions that Achak speaks of in his book still remain in Sudan. How is one to hear of such horror and think we in America have it bad? Nothing can compare to what Sudanese bare everyday of their lives. This book has changed me. I hope that if you have not yet read this book, you will. What is the What should be required reading for every human on earth. It is too powerful to not be read. It will shed light on a dark place of the world and scream for you to do something., to help.
I will review this book next. I encourage you to read it. I encourage you to visit Achak’s website and become familiar with his cause. Again, Dave Eggers does not disappoint. I swear Eggers can do no wrong. He is easily one of the best, if not the best writers of our time.
Valentino Achak Deng Foundation