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A National Gathering of the Next Generation of Human Rights Defenders
Remember Bart Fisher, the D.C. lobbyist for Sudan who made headlines in The Washington Post and Enough Said last week? How could you forget—after all, it is not every day that an American so publicly supports a genocidal dictatorship in exchange for a mound of cash.
To make a public statement last week, Act for Sudan organized approximately 30 supporters to protest in front of Mr. Fisher’s office in downtown Washington, D.C. Enough staff joined the protest, where we made it known that if you represent the needs of the Sudanese government—a government that continues to bomb, kill, and displace scores of its own innocent civilians—then we will tell your neighbors about it.
George Athor, a former senior officer in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, or SPLA, was killed Monday night in a two-hour firefight with the government forces in Marobo County in Central Equatoria state. Athor was one of the most powerful rebel leaders in South Sudan, but perhaps more than anything, his death draws attention to a major challenge the new country faces: the threat of renegade commanders and the fighters they mobilize.
“We are civilians,” said Adam, a Blue Nile refugee who had fled his home two months earlier. “We are like children in a family; you don’t make decisions.”
Adam was responding to a question posed by Enough about whether he, Boles, and the other men who had gathered, sensed political tensions in their state prior to the outbreak of conflict that drove them from their homes.
For many of us working in the anti-genocide field, one of the comforting facts of life is that the other side does not have a pro-genocide lobby. It used to be a joke of sorts, something we would say to each other to make us feel better about work that can feel intractable and slow-moving. After all, who in their right mind would represent a genocidal dictator? Well, now that question has its answer: Bart S. Fisher.
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