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November 20, 2012

President Obama

The White House

Washington, DC


Dear Mr. President,
In a few days our nation will celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s a time of the year when family and friends come together to give thanks for the blessings that they’ve received, a time to fellowship with one another and of course, a time to eat lots of food! It’s also a time, as is the Christmas Holiday that follows, in which communities and families come together to help others in need.

However, as we wait in long lines at the grocery store this Thanksgiving in order to purchase the perfect turkey and all the trimmings, one that will most likely be transformed into numerous dishes and served for far too many meals than we’ll appreciate, our friends in the Nuba Mountains will be praying that their one last bag of maize, or their few remaining ground nuts, will last for just one more day. As we feed on the finest of turkeys, dressed in succulent splendor for the occasion, the children of the Nuba Mountains will be forced to feed on rodents and the leaves of trees that grow increasingly sparse and offer no nutritional value. Music and laughter will fill our homes, while the people of The Nuba Mountains hide fearfully within darkened caves, as the roar of Antonov fighter planes fly overhead leaving uncertainty as to whether one day will lead into the next; uncertainty for anything in which they should be thankful, save their lives. And as mothers and fathers watch their children starving, unaided, life itself, may sometimes seem more like a burden than a blessing.

You’re the leader of our great country, Mr. President and as an American citizen, I pledge my allegiance and my support to you. However, my respect for you as our leader must be earned. For the past four years my friends, family and others whom I’ve never met, have been systematically targeted and killed in South Sudan, Darfur and the Nuba Mountains, while the rest of the world, including your administration, has seemingly turned a blind eye; despite the public outcries from their supporters. Under your watch, Mr. President, thousands of innocent men, women and children have needlessly lost their homes, lives and all basic, human rights granted them under international law. I’m asking you to change that in the next four years. I’m asking you to take the required action and leadership that you spoke of in your campaign that will show who we are as a nation and as a people. I’m imploring that you not allow the innocent lives being lost in South Sudan, Darfur and the Nuba Mountains to be a part of your legacy. Not under your watch as President of the United States nor under mine, as a US citizen.

Wishing you and yours, a safe and blessed Thanksgiving.

Joan Hecht <><
President and Founder

  Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan


August 2, 2012

The Honorable

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Washington, D.C. 20520

“We were so hungry that our bodies were black skeletons. We weren’t sure of the day or the hour it would happen, we were only certain of one thing- we were all going to die. We were all alone and no one seemed to care. No one came to our rescue.

I think that you could read every history book ever written and you would never read about children burying other children, but that’s what we were forced to do.” 

Dear Secretary Clinton,

These harrowing words were spoken by a former Lost Boy from South Sudan, as he recalled his childhood spent on the run from enemy soldiers and living in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. He was one of over 30,000 children separated from their parents during the long lasting civil war between north and south Sudan. Their story is one of the most amazing stories that I’ve ever heard –one of faith, courage and the sheer determination to survive by a group of young children known as the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan.  It’s a story that should never have to be told.
Much attention has been focused on the story of the Lost boys (and girls), both by the media and by everyday people, such as me, who have formed foundations to assist them, written books about their story and spoken at events around the US helping to raise awareness for the South Sudanese people. Many of us have achieved great success in our efforts and previously gained the attention and support of former President, George Bush Jr. Under his Presidency we were invited to meetings at the White House and State Department and regular phone conferences, in which we were able to voice our concerns and offer suggestions for helping the people of South Sudan. Unfortunately, we seemed to have lost ground in recent years and our voices appear to be lost, along with the voices of new generations of forgotten children of Sudan, in Darfur and The Nuba Mountains.
I’m sickened and greatly disheartened that we as a world people seem to have learned nothing since the days of the Jewish Holocaust, when we pledged as a world people, NEVER AGAIN! Did that pledge exclude the people of north and south Sudan?
I have great admiration and respect for you, Secretary Clinton, both as a woman and as Secretary of State for the United States government. I’ve recently learned that you will be traveling to Sudan and even though this is a last minute request, I implore you, as a world leader and as a mother, PLEASE, make time in your schedule to visit Yida refugee camp and others, where the newest generation of forgotten children from Sudan, the children from the Nuba Mountains, have sought refuge. Like their predecessors from South Sudan and Darfur, they have suffered separation from families, attacks by north government soldiers, starvation and much more.

Many of us who support the people of Sudan, are concerned that unless the U.S. intercedes with air drops and pressure on Sudan to negotiate in good faith regarding Resolution 2046 that a new generation of children will remain waiting for their turn to die; waiting for someone like YOU, Secretary Clinton, to come to their rescue.


Joan Hecht





Ambassador Princeton Lyman, US Special Envoy to Sudan
Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of African Affairs
Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director, National Security Council
Samantha Powers, Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs, National Security Council
Ambassador Akec Khoc, M.D., Republic of South Sudan Ambassador to the United States