How on earth I missed this until today, I don’t know, but holy cow, this man is batshit insane:
Why should you care? If you’re concerned about Africa (especially the newly independent South Sudan), neutrality and humanitarianism, or how small charities sometimes make it big on dubious stories, Childers is a scary character. By his own admission Sam Childers is a Christian and a savior to hundreds of children, as well as a small-time arms-dealer and a killer. And, as far as I can tell, he’s a self-aggrandizing liar who chronically exaggerates his own stories and has been denounced by many, including the rebel group of which he claimed to be a commander.
I suggest reading the whole article (as well as several that it links to) for the whole picture. Basically, this former Hells Angel biker found Jesus, came to South Sudan to save people, and ended up opening an orphanage while reportedly taking up arms (with the SPLA? the fuck?!) against the LRA, “saving” child soldiers, and vowing to personally kill Kony.
Putting aside the debate about how to do good aid work, this is one of the dumbest, most reckless hairbrained schemes I’ve ever heard. And worse, the media seems to be lapping it up!! WTF!?! There’s even a movie coming out about his life?? And a reality series (which might be self produced, I can’t really tell)?!? There are not enough exclamation marks in the world for how I’m feeling.
I honestly don’t know where to start first, because I’m so mindbogglingly aghast. The biggest issue here, identified by many other bloggers before me, is the fact that Sam Childers, by acting as a “humanitarian” and simultaneously as a gun-toting militia man, is putting at risk the lives of every aid worker by perpetuating the idea in the minds of people around the world that humanitarian workers are also mercenaries.
Like there wasn’t enough damage done to humanitarian work with the revelation recently of the fake vaccines scandal.
When reading through his website’s blog (which I refuse to link to here), an especially infuriating part states:
“As we neared Nimule we began to relax but we weren’t out of danger yet. We rounded a corner and hurtled in a tribal clash between the Dinka and Madi tribes. 4,000 fighters, armed with pangas (machetes), rudimentary bows, spears and clubs, stormed back and forth looking for someone to fight. In amongst the drunks I saw an elderly man poised for battle and a young woman with a bow in her hand and a baby slung across her back. As the situation escalated we had no choice but to lock and load. Shots were fired and we drove through the screaming remnants of the volatile mob. Luckily, no one was killed. “
AGGGGHHHHHH. Tribal violence in South Sudan is a complicated clusterfuck, to say the least. However, most of the violence is in between the tribes. The traditions of violence and cattle raiding go back generations, and are a tragedy for sure, but because of their specific tribal-focused aims, they tend to not focus on targeting humanitarians. And then this idiot claims he has “no choice” but to go blazing into the middle of a mob? I’m intrigued as to where the Dinka and Madi tribes intersect near Nimule (to my knowledge that’s not a Dinka area (UPDATED: In another post I corrected this – the area is a Madi area historically, but has a large Dinka IDP population)). I also have doubts that they “rounded a corner” and stumbled into 4,000 people, but that’s probably just shitty writing and hyperbole. No big deal.
I’m also interested where he’s fighting the LRA these days and saving child soldiers. While it’s true the the LRA used to plague the areas surrounding Nimule and northern Uganda, the group has migrated much more towards the DRC and CAR. His website claims:
“The infamous Lord’s Resistance Army also continue to raid the western regions of Southern Sudan, capturing, enslaving and torturing children who are forced to repeat the cycle of violence as child soldiers. As long as these threats exist, the Machine Gun Preacher will continue to lead the SPLA deep into enemy territory and fight to bring the children home.”
Which makes it sound like now he’s crossing the borders of places near Ezo and Source Yubu (which is an entirely different part of South Sudan, and I find it hard to believe he’s been able to cultivate meaningful relationships with each of these communities, particularly if he doesn’t speak any arabic or tribal language) to go and attack people and “bring the children home.” Which is AWESOME. Except by AWESOME, I mean horrifying. Don’t get me wrong, the LRA is an awful group and Kony is an egotistical maniacal nutjob, but somehow I think that some arrogant American “leading” the SPLA across borders might cause just a touch of international outrage. Which is why I, like many others, have doubts as to the full truths of his claims.
I expected to find that other people were just as horrified as myself. Instead most of the comments on his blog regale him as a hero doing God’s work and saving children/africa. And one especially terrifying post remarks,
“DF: says: I have been trying to get in touch with you. I will be out of the country for one month, and immediately afterwards, I am prepared to fly to Africa and rescue children. I am wanting very much to bend your ear and will travel wherever necessary.
No. No. NO.
STOP IT. That. Does. Not. HELP. You fucking moron. Also, you’re going to go to “Africa”? Where? South Sudan? Sierra Leone? Zanzibar? Or you’re just going to cover all 11.7 million square miles of the continent and “rescue” all the children (I assume you mean child soldiers)? What are you doing with them afterwards – reuniting them with their families? Putting them into orphanages (even if they have families)? Getting them mental health counseling? Sending them to school? Give them jobs? Thank god there are people like you who are so eager to rush into places you have no cultural or historical awareness of and rescue poor children.
It’s also ironic that Sam claims to work with the SPLA to free child soldiers since the army had its very own child soldier branch (the Red Army).
Ok, I’ll stop now. Sorry to get all serious, but this was just too much. I promise I’ll return to regularly scheduled programming, including happy MS Paint pictures and stories about mug cakes (which I totally made again without burning today and it was DELISH) soon.
But in the meantime, I’ll leave you with wise words from Tales from the Hood:
“And I have just four words for Sam Childers:
Total. F-cking. Douche. Nozzle.”