Machot Lat Thiep is a front line supervisor at the north Seattle Costco store, a graduate of the University of Washington and a 32-year-old family man with a wife and three young sons. No, that is not him pictured above. But he’s quite familiar with that look.
Many years ago, Thiep was one of the Sudan’s famous ‘lost boys’ who spent years fleeing conflict, struggling to survive and bouncing between refugee camps in East Africa. In 1995, he was able to emigrate to the United States as part of a United Nations’ resettlement program and was sent to Seattle as a foster child – which was also quite difficult at times, at least until he ended up with a family that actually cared for him.
So why, with all that trouble behind him, a good job and a young family, would Thiep decide to join up with a fellow known for getting himself into dangerous places and go after the infamous African warlord Joseph Kony?
“I want to help people understand what’s going on with my people, why they are being killed,” Thiep said. One of the less appreciated angles on what is happening currently in the newly conflicted South Sudan, he said, is the Ugandan military’s attacks on tribal communities that are judged unfriendly to the current besieged president of the country.
“The Ugandan military doesn’t do anything without consulting the Americans,” Thiep contended. “Why are they bombing my people? Why are they even in South Sudan?” Continue reading