The Real Coming to America

Jeffrey Braun
April 11th 2011

Christopher Quinn and Tommy Walker's documentary 'God Grew Tired of Us' tells the odyssey of four boys from Sudan who embark on a journey to America after years of wandering Sub-Saharan Africa in search of safety. They are part of what remains of 27,000 Christian Sudanese boys who escaped from the oppression of their Muslim government in 1983 and walked more than one thousand miles over a period of five years.

Besides their astonishing and heartbreaking story, the film also provides a great deal of optimism and humor, as the three young men explore the technological marvels of the strange new world in which they find themselves living: food that comes prepackaged from a freezer, hot and cold water that comes flowing out of a tap, light that appears at the command of a switch. One of the boys even admits to never having "seen" electricity before moving to America, and he worries over whether he will ever be able to master its use.

We only scratch the surface of the problems that arise during their first year in their new country but their growing sense of loneliness and cultural isolation and their economic exploitation is not glossed over and we often wonder if perhaps coming to America was not the best idea. Working multiple jobs leave hardly any time for social contact, let alone sleep. They wonder aloud how a society can function when everyone lives in fear of their neighbor.

Are we really better off with all our Western luxuries?

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Should men be able to give birth to children?

Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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