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‘It Gives Me a Feeling of Peace’

8 Jan 2012

K.C. Johnson has a great Sunday feature in the Tribune about Luol Deng and his connection with his native South Sudan, which achieved independence as a separate nation this summer:

[W]hen he, his family and [friend Adam] Andre celebrated South Sudan’s independence July 9 along with a crowd estimated at 1 million, the moment overwhelmed Deng.

“Man, it’s unbelievable,” Deng says. “Everywhere I went — London, Jersey, Duke, here — I was that kid from another country. When I go to Sudan now, it’s not that. I’m just home. I’m no longer an outsider or a refugee. I just fit in. It gives me a feeling of peace.”

Deng had been active in the independence movement. Last January, he paid for two charter buses to bring hundreds of Sudanese down from Michigan to vote absentee on the referendum for South Sudan to separate. The 22-year civil war ended in 2005.

Deng needed several seconds — but only one word — to describe how he felt when the referendum passed in February 2011.

“Joy,” he says.

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