“My name means things that are far apart from each other… to be separate.”
Production of the film “GER”
Ger Duany was a child soldier fighting in the Sudan. Since fleeing as a refugee to the US aged 15, he has become a well-known actor and was recently appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador by the UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency.
He is a voice that speaks out against tribalism and for war weary Africans to the rest of the world. His is a true story of hope and triumph over adversity.
Sudan’s civil war lasted for 35 of its 54 years as an independent republic. In 2005, a lasting cease-fire between the warring North and South was signed. And in 2010 after 18 years of separation, Ger, a former child-soldier and refugee now living in New York, returns to his tribally divided and war ravaged country. He desperately wants to find his family. He is also very keen to vote for the creation of the youngest country in the world – South Sudan. He strongly believes that separation between North and South will bring peace. When he returns to Sudan he is one of thousands of exiled South Sudanese people returning home.
Leaving his family and his country was the hardest thing Ger had ever done. So the first thing he wants to do is travel to his home in Akobo and find his mother. He is not sure if she still lives there or if she is even alive. He knows his estranged father is in prison and he plans to visit him too.
Ger finds his mother, is reunited with his siblings and makes peace with his father. It’s good to be home, the mood is jubilant, and Ger believes that South Sudan is finally headed towards lasting peace. He believes South Sudan’s independence will ensure reconciliation.
Ger returns to the US where he lives the American dream developing a successful modeling and acting career. But only two years later, the newly independent South Sudan is plunged into its own civil war. This time the war is waged between two different South Sudanese tribal groups. Ger is devastated that peace did not last and questions the cause of the war. He is no longer confident in the country’s leadership and its ability to deal effectively with the tribal issues tearing the country and his family apart.
His sister has disappeared and his mother is in a refugee camp. Ger must return to South Sudan to find and reunite his family. He struggles and seeks the help of the UNHCR. Its staff agree to help him in his quest and as they travel with him around the refugee camps they realise he is a valuable, local, charismatic advocate for refugees. Shortly after, the UNHCR appoint him as its goodwill Ambassador.
Ger, once a child soldier and refugee has become an inspiring voice speaking out to the rest of the world for refugees and against tribalism.