Profile: John Toor and John Yaak

April 7, 2011





John Toor and John Yaak are very optimistic about the future of Sudan and the secession of the South in July.  Both have been back to Sudan, John Toor most recently in 2005. 

Like many of the refugees, they remain circumspect about the potential obstacles to Southern Sudan’s future prosperity, obstacles that need to be fully addressed in the months ahead.  John Toor is concerned about tribal conflicts.  Many of the “old tribal leaders are just military minded,” and tend to make decisions based on a military and tribal agendas.  John Toor believes that for stability and the establishment of new governance, tribal allegiances need to be pushed aside until Southern Sudan has become autonomous and self-sufficient, able to stand on its own two feet.   

John Toor has received his bachelors degree in Jackson, Mississippi, from Belhaven University, and he is deeply appreciative of this opportunity, as is John Yaak, who recently received his associate's degree in computer networking from ITT.  They describe America as “giving them the tools for betterment” and “freedom.”  However grateful they are to America, they observe that many people in American experience an unforgiving system.  Convicted felons, for example, lose their right to vote and often are unable ever again to find a job: their “freedom is gone forever,” and they have “no second chance.” 

John Toor also noted that, from his perspective, many young people here do not take full advantage of the opportunities given them, relying heavily on their parents and their wealth instead of shaping their futures for themselves as individuals.