What I have been through is not something one can ever forget.
As an outcome of his experience as a refugee, Guy’s dream is to study Human Rights. Guy was a student at the College of Lake County just outside of Chicago, Illinois for the past two years. He is currently looking for work now that he has received work authorization while he awaits the status of his refugee application. He hopes to continue his studies very soon. This website was created to support Guy's educational pursuits by raising the funds he needed for his college tuition, books, and living expenses. At this time, your monetary donation will allow Guy to transition into becoming self-sufficient while he looks for a job. All funds now go directly to Guy to aid in the transition as well. Thank you in advance.
HERE IS GUY'S STORY:
“WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS”
I am the son of Yousif Ismail Adam and Fatima Adam Abdelmahmoud Arbab. I was born in a village called Mara in West Darfur, Sudan, and was given the name Abdelhamid Yousif Ismail Adam. I survived the genocide in Darfur. After seeing people being killed in the name of religion I converted from Islam to Christianity. With this change of religion came a change of name and a change of place. No longer do I carry the name given to me by my parents. My name is Guy now and I live in America.
I will take you back to my childhood in Darfur. My parents were farmers who cultivated crops like sorghum and owned cows and other animals. They had five sons and two daughters, of which I am the second oldest. There were around 2000 people living in our village, all farmers. We lived happily and were self-reliant, but in 2003, our lives changed completely. One afternoon that August, the Janjaweed attacked our village. As my family was having tea, nine members of the Janjaweed came to our home and started beating us. They came with Kalashnikov rifles, and they burned our home down. They hit me in the arm and in the leg, but I was able to escape on my own. However, I left my family behind.
The Janjaweed are a group of gunmen from Sudanese Arab tribes. Janjaweed translates into ‘devil on horseback’. The Janjaweed got support from the Sudanese government to eliminate people in Darfur. Darfur is a region that is rich in natural resources which the Janjaweed and its backers want to control. The people in Darfur are killed because they have a different skin color and they follow different cultural traditions and because, when the people are killed, their land becomes available for the murderers. The Janjaweed are still killing today, but no one seems to care. The world seems to be ignorant of the suffering of my people in Darfur.
As I was fleeing from my village, I met some men from the United Nations and they stopped and asked me where I was going. I told them that my village had been attacked by the Janjaweed and that I had left my family there. They wanted me to go back to the village with them, but I refused because I was afraid of being killed by the Janjaweed. Instead, the UN men took me with them to a refugee camp in Morne, Darfur.
After that, I left Morne with the UN men and headed to Khartoum, stopping at a refugee camp in Zalingei, Darfur, on the way. When we arrived in Khartoum, I began living with one of the UN men, who eventually supported me to go to school. Before the genocide, I had attended school only through grade four, after which I could no longer attend because my parents did not have money for school fees. I was really interested in education but there was no opportunity for me to pursue it due to our family situation. In Khartoum, I was able to resume my education. I attended the Evangelical Evening Basic School in Gerief West from grade two up to grade four (the school system was different in Khartoum than in Mara). From there I continued my education at the Young Men’s Christian Association Center in Amarat, Khartoum, and then attended secondary school at Avraham Secondary in Bahri.
However, I was not safe in Khartoum. I was arrested and detained on three separate occasions by the security forces of the National Congress Party (NCP), the political party that governs Sudan. On each occasion, I was questioned, beaten, tortured and accused of providing information to the UN. I believe I was arrested because of my Fur tribe identity and because they believed I was providing information to the UN about the Janjaweed attacks in Darfur. During my final arrest, the NCP security forces told me that if I did not leave Sudan within one week, they would kill me.
I had to leave the country—but where could I go? The UN man with whom I was living had offered to help me go to Denmark, but the process would take a while. I had seen on TV that some refugees from Darfur had escaped through Egypt to Israel. I made my decision, and I set off for Egypt from Khartoum. I traveled by train to Halfa at the border of Egypt and Sudan, and from there I crossed into Egypt by boat to Aswan. Then I took a bus to the Ain Shams area of Cairo, where I met someone who helped refugees trying to get into Israel. The next evening, I met some Bedouins who took me by bus through the desert to the mountains. I was eventually joined by a group of 23 other people from Darfur and Eritrea to attempt to cross the border into Israel. We heard that the Egyptian border patrol would shoot at us as we ran toward the border. Unfortunately, only ten of us made it across the border into Israel.
“EDUCATION IS THE KEY OF LIFE”
After all I have been through, I was looking for a place where I could be safe and study and do something for the coming generation. In Israel I had a dream to study. My dream is that with education I can change something. However, refugees in Israel have a difficult time studying or working to earn money to survive.
As many Israelis were once refugees and survivors of genocide, I was expecting to find the Israeli government and society willing to help me to go to school so that I could do something to stop the ongoing killing in Darfur and to work for change in my home and the rest of the world, but when I arrived I saw that everything was the opposite of what I expected. Fortunately, I met some Americans who helped me obtain a student visa to study at the College of Lake County in the United States. However, attending school is costly, and I am grateful to anyone who is willing to contribute to help me obtain an education.
Many years after fleeing my home, I still did not know the whereabouts of my family and if they were alive or dead. Then, in December 2011, while I was in Israel, I received a phone call from an acquaintance. He told me that my brother Adam was in Israel. I had not expected to see him alive again, and the day we reunited was a wonderful day. Like me, my brother had managed to escape to Israel, though he had been shot in the leg when he was crossing the Israeli border. I asked him about my family but he did not have any information.
I converted from Islam to Christianity in Khartoum. I had seen what people in Sudan had done in the name of Islam, such as killing men, women, and children. That is and was a crime, and was never justified by the Koran. I believe that as human beings we are equal as we were born, whatever our color: black, white, pink, blue. I believe that we are all human beings.