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Setting the Record Straight on the South Sudan Protest at Trump Tower
Faith McDonnel writes in Juicy Ecumenism:
Thursday, December 15, 2016, a group of South Sudanese, supporters of the rebel movement that is tearing the country apart, and their supporters, including leaders from the Presbyterian Church USA, held a “peaceful rally,” in front of Trump Tower. The rally was to commemorate what the organizers call a memorial for the “Dec -15th Genocide.” In their press release they added that the rally was an “effort to alert the incoming Trump administration that crimes on the scale of genocide have been committed in South Sudan by the current regime.”
This protest against the Government of South Sudan was just one more addition to the tsunami of demonization finding its origins from as varied sources as the Islamic Republic of Sudan (Khartoum) and its friends, the United Nations (especially U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power who has been pushing for the UN Security Council to sanction South Sudan with an arms embargo and targeted sanctions against the top general in the South Sudan Army), the U.S. State Department, innumerable media, The Sentry and friends, and South Sudanese elements at home and abroad that support the SPLA-IO rebel movement of former Vice President of South Sudan, Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon.
As someone who has known the history and the character of the main players for the past 23 years, I want to counter this tsunami. If all I can do is point to the misleading statements, false attributions, omitted information, and hidden agenda in this demonization of South Sudan’s government, President, and armed forces, I will consider it a good start.
It will be enough to get me hated by some of my South Sudanese friends, some that support the rebel movement itself, and some that are convinced that the South Sudan government is responsible for the current horrific violence. But I cannot remain silent in the face of ongoing deception.
I am not “pro-Dinka,” as I have been accused by some Americans whose neutrality extends to All But Dinka, and sadly, accused by some dearly loved South Sudanese friends. And I am definitely not anti-Nuer, anti-Equitorian, or anti-any other group. But I am indeed anti-Riek Machar. I believe he is evil. It has been a mistake for the U.S. government to push South Sudan to accept him back over and over after he defected to Khartoum. His massacre in Bor in the 1990’s, when families were slaughtered, starved to death because their cattle were either killed or taken, and babies were stuffed into canvas bags and thrown into Nile by his White Army, is the pattern for his SPLA-IO and White Army today. I am pro-truth and pro-justice, and these lies and deceptions have gone on for far too long.
What also adds to the difficulty of surmounting this tsunami is that the situation is so complicated that most people’s eyes glaze over before you even make the first point. For people who are barely aware that there are two countries – Sudan and South Sudan – the nuances of SPLA versus SPLA-IO; South Sudan Government versus Transitional Government of National Unity; pro-Khartoum rebels in South Sudan, but anti-Khartoum rebels in Sudan; and other such finer points as these are a lost cause. This aids those with the loudest voices and saddest stories, whether or not the stories are true.
So, while understanding that when the weather is in the 20’s in Manhattan, it may have pared down the rally’s attendance, there are still important clarifications that should be made when looking at the press release that was disseminated by the organizers. Statements from the press release are in quotation marks. My clarifications appear in italics.
Let’s start with the title of the press release, because the misleading statements start there!
“South Sudanese Community in the Diaspora Rally at Trump Tower in New York”
Although this would lead one to believe that all South Sudanese in the US are in agreement with this group, the reality is that just a part of the South Sudanese Community in the Diaspora is rallying—the part that is against President Salva Kiir and supports Riek Machar and his SPLA-IO or the other rebels.
The press release continues, saying that the rally is to “memorialize victims of the Juba Massacre that took place in 2013 and of the ongoing violence in the country.”
The massacre was caused by the actions of former Vice President Riek Machar due to his attempted coup against the government of South Sudan. It began when soldiers loyal to Machar (sacked for corruption and for attempting to undermine the President by making deals behind his back with Islamists in Khartoum) ambushed their fellow soldiers who were loyal to President Kiir while they were asleep in their beds. The Government of South Sudan is then accused of going after Nuer civilians…but there has been no explanation of why, if that were true, the largest concentration of Nuer in Juba, the community of Hai Malakal, was not touched. The ongoing violence? Also caused by the actions of Machar and his SPLA-IO and other groups attempting to bring down the government.
“This is a concerted effort to alert the incoming Trump administration that crimes on the scale of genocide have been committed in South Sudan by the current regime in Juba.”
The legally, fairly elected government of South Sudan is not a REGIME – this is a psychological ploy to associate the government of South Sudan with the Islamic regime in Sudan – and the majority of the crimes have been committed by the SPLA-IO, Machar’s “White Army,” and other rebels.
“The regime is still targeting certain ethnic groups in across South Sudan.”
No, the government is seeking to protect the nation while not being overthrown by rebels. The targeting of ethnic groups is actually happening, but it is happening particularly against the Dinka, the one ethnicity that this rally does not care about at all. The “MTN” killings of Dinka have been going on for months, with hundreds of Dinka citizens killed on the road from South Sudan into Uganda. (MTN, the name of a South African telecommunications company, is the code name for Dinka people because the telecom’s slogan is “MTN is everywhere,” and those that hate the Dinka believe that the Dinka are everywhere.) Neither the State Department nor the UN has condemned specifically these killings.
“Given the known trends of violence, the South Sudanese along with informed American citizens are deeply disturbed seeing innocent civilians burned alive and women gang raped by the regime forces.”
Although this rally wants to give the impression that the government, or the South Sudan Army burned people alive, credible reports indicate that these South Sudanese citizens were actually burned alive by the rebels because they would not swear allegiance to SPLA-IO. Look at the track record for Machar. His rebels have slaughtered and burned people alive in the 1990’s, in December 2013 – January 2014, and beyond.
The South Sudan Army punishes rapists. And if South Sudan Army soldiers have been responsible for raping women, they would not be acting on orders; they would be rogue elements acting on their own out of anger. Can anyone seriously believe that the leaders of the South Sudan Army or the South Sudan Government would instruct soldiers to rape American aid workers? Even if they were that kind of people (which they are not, it would be the stupidest move they could make, knowing that the Obama Adminstration was already out to get them. But rape is common for the rebels. It is those that hang around with Khartoum’s Arab militias and/or the Kony Rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (friends of Riek Machar) that are happy to rape women on a regular basis).
There is a lot more in this press release that should be clarified or denounced as false, just as there has been in practically every news story coming out about South Sudan. Where the heck were all these journalists and foreign policy elites in the heyday of genocide in South Sudan at the hands of the Khartoum regime? Where are they while active genocide and mass rape are being committed in Darfur, Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile State? Oh, never mind, I know where the foreign policy elites are. Working with Khartoum’s paid lobbyists like Bart Fisher to rehabilitate Khartoum’s image and lift the terrorism sanctions. I guess it is easier to be handed your talking points, ignore the Islamist regime that has committed five, count them, five genocidal jihads, and denounce South Sudan as a stillborn state than find out the whole truth about what is happening there.
But here’s one last part item in the press release that needs challenging, particularly in light of the Presbyterian Church USA bringing the wife of Riek Machar to the United States this week. “Violence around the country and particularly the July incident in Juba has claimed the lives of hundreds and displaced tens of thousands of civilians.”
The July incident in Juba, AKA Coup Attempt Part Two, was said by many to be a concerted effort between Machar, his wife Angelina Teny, and other rebel forces. In fact, many say that Angelina is the main force of rebellion because of her obsession with becoming the First Lady of South Sudan.
A scheduled press conference with President Salva Kiir and (once more) First Vice President Riek Machar (Yes, can you believe it? The UN/US/other neocolonialists pushed President Kiir to accept the three-time-betrayer yet again!) turned into an assassination attempt on President Kiir. Although Machar was relieved of his gun by security forces in J1, (the Presidential compound) he had arrived for the press conference with a convoy of 30+ trucks full of his rebel troops (over 300 men). They were supposed to receive a signal from inside J1 when Machar had dispatched President Kiir and then go into full-scale attack, to take over Juba. When they did not receive such a signal from Machar, it is reported that wife Angelina told them to go ahead, that they needed to rescue their commander!
The attack began on the South Sudan Army troops that were stationed outside the walls of J1. I have seen those walls—absolutely riddled with bullet holes and softball-sized holes from RPGs – and concentrated around the benches on which the South Sudan Army soldiers were sitting, minding their own business, until the attack began. Then, the Army went into action, defending the Presidential compound and chasing the (surviving) rebel soldiers to the outskirts of town.
Once more, the “incident” in July claimed the lives of hundreds and displaced tens of thousands because of the violent ambition of Riek Machar and wife Angelina. The Presbyterian Church USA may consider Machar a good Presbyterian, but his allegiance is actually to demonic forces that have promised him power. The death of thousands and thousands of South Sudanese has been the blood sacrifice that he has made in attempting to reach that goal.