When You Get Stepped On – What Does It Smell Like?

When you step on a rose it smells like a rose. When you get stepped on what does it smell like? -Jeanne Marie Leslie

Deng Thiak Adut was no older than six when he was separated from his mother. And forced to walk 33 days to an army training camp. He drank water squeezed from grass in a dead elephant’s stomach to survive.

He was made to fight with a rebel army.
At 12, he was shot in the back and smuggled out by his brother.
And rescued by the United Nations.

He arrived in English speaking Australia.
And unable to speak English.

He enrolled in high school.
But dropped out.
He lived in a car.
At 15, he taught himself to read.
A man on the radio said that blacks were not as smart as whites.
Deng Adut resolved to get a college degree and prove him wrong.

He completed an accounting degree.
And became a certified public accountant.
He completed his law degree, and practices law.
Now he fights the battles he chooses.

When refugees arrive in Australia, they learn the local law.
And their legal rights.
From a justice clinic that Deng Adut facilitated.

He lives in a modest house.
And works to insure that hundreds of refugees have a home.

Before he was even a teenager, Deng Adut was taught to hate whole groups of people because of their nationality or religion. As a member of the army he was taught to use an AK-47 to destroy them. But when Deng Adut was stepped on, he didn’t smell like hate or violence.

He did smell like determination, optimism and courage. What do you smell like when people step on you?1

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  1.  ©2015 Brandon L. Blankenship. Photo courtesy of Sahlan Hayes. A special thank you to Western Sydney University for sharing the content of their “Unlimited” campaign.
About The Author

Brandon Blankenship

Brandon L. Blankenship is a continuing legal education presenter and business educator. He is the author of Unmasking Hour. He writes weekly posts on the legal industry and is a contributor to the Nobility Academy. He and his wife Donnalee live on their hobby farm south of Birmingham, Alabama.