Whenever I hear in the news about destruction caused by a disaster in poor Black nations or communities, whether it is a natural disaster, a pandemic, a political or an economic disaster, I wonder, does the color Black attract misfortune, or is it our fate? Why has God created us, and then bestowed upon us such awful suffering adorned by endless struggle? Are we cursed, or are we blessed by constantly being the victims rather than the offenders, who are corrupted by power and wealth? Perhaps it is a blessing that God allows the mass murder of Africans or the poor in general by the hands of their leaders hurriedly ending their misery to grant them entry into Heaven where they can finally find peace!

I recently finished reading a book by Nawal El Saadawi, an Egyptian feminist writer, activist, physician and psychiatrist, titled God Dies ByThe Nile. A translated version of Saadawi’s book is available on campus at D.H. Hill Library. I will not expand on the book itself because the title alone conveys the tragedy of the story and the reality of the nations that lie along the banks of the Nile River in Africa. God Grew Tired of Us is also a documentary which traces the journey of a group of children, who lived not far from the Nile area. They are the “Lost Boys” of Southern Sudan who journeyed to the United States fleeing violence. There are many other similar documentaries, books, and films that express the weariness and the challenging experiences of the poor and disadvantaged. Again the question arises: Has God really forsaken us?

Looking back into the history of African-Americans, one could not help but notice the extraordinary role that religion and faith in God played in helping our ancestors persevere through slavery, the struggle for emancipation, the Civil War, and Jim Crow laws, segregation and other discriminatory legislation. Historically, the Church has played an indisputable role in preserving African-American community, establishing educational institutions as well as serving as the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement. Has God really forsaken our people; or is it through their strong faith that they have persevered through some of the worst atrocities in human history, to become some of the greatest leaders, scholars, citizens, artists, and entertainers that the world has seen?

This brings us back to the present and to one of the most recent upheavals in African political history. Is God really dying by the Nile? On February, 25, 2011, the world witnessed the popular uprising of Egyptians as they overthrew the thirty year regime of President Hosni Mubarak. Did God grow tired of Southern Sudanese? On January, 2011, Southern Sudanese voted in a referendum in favor of succession from Sudan. On July 9, 2011, Southern Sudanese celebrated their freedom and victory as the independent state of Southern Sudan. Both of the aforementioned events should renew our faith and help to remind us: At times, it may seem that God is not responding to our prayers as fast as we desire, but the Lord has surely not forgotten us. God may have a special plan for us, and for a time, it may seem that part of our fate may be to suffer and struggle. Like our ancestors, though, we can find strength in the struggle and persevere to overcome.