Nick Turse is a reporter in South Sudan, covering a civil war that has taken the lives of an estimated 50,000 to 300,000 people. And guess what the South Sudanese are most worried about?
A lantern on a nearby table casts a dim glow on an approaching aid worker, an African with a deep knowledge of this place. He’s come to fetch his dinner.
I’m hoping to corral him and pick his brain about the men who torched this town, burned people alive, beat and murdered civilians, abducted, raped, and enslaved women and children, looted and pillaged and stole.
Before I can say a word, he beats me to the punch with his own set of rapid-fire questions: “This man called Trump — what’s going on with him? Who’s voting for him? Are you voting for him?”
He then proceeds to tell me everything he’s heard about the Republican front-runner — how Trump is tarnishing America’s global image, how he can’t believe the things Trump says about women and immigrants.
Here, where catastrophic food insecurity may tip into starvation at any time, where armed men still arrive in the night to steal and rape. (“They could come any night. You might even hear them tonight. You’ll hear the women screaming,” another aid worker told me earlier in the day.) Here, where horrors abound, this man wants — seemingly needs — to know if Donald Trump could actually be elected president of the United States. “I’m really afraid,” he says of the prospect without a hint of irony.
Source: The Unz Review.
South Sudan is the world’s youngest independent country. This nation, which is mostly African, won their independence from Sudan proper, which is mostly Arab, in 2011. Since then it has been torn by civil war between its two largest ethnic groups, the Dinka and the Neur.
Somebody started a rumor that President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, had endorsed Trump, but that was a hoax. Nevertheless, Trump does have his supporters in South Sudan, Turse reported.
Why would people facing very real problems of survival be concerned about something so remote from their lives as Donald Trump? It is an extreme example of how the news media distract people from their real problems and make them into spectators at the American reality show.
Donald Trump in South Sudan by Nick Turse for TomDispatch.
The War Nerd: Mo cattle and oil, mo problems in South Sudan by Gary Brecher (John Dolan) for Pando Daily (2013). Good background information.