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"The Invisible Children": The Story of Kony and the LRA
No Longer Invisible
A Father's Plea for his daughter abducted by the LRA
Kony's Early Life
Joseph Kony was born in Gulu in 1961. He is from the Acholi tribe in Northern Uganda. His mother was an an Anglican and his father a Roman Catholic. Joseph's brother was the village witch doctor and Joseph became the new witch doctor after his brother's death. In 1986 Joseph headed up a religious group loosely associated with Alice Auma, (Lakwena) who started the Holy Spirit Movement. He came to prominence after Museveni and his National Resistance Army took over the presidency from the Acholi President, Okello, who was the ouster of Idi Amin. The Acholi people were angry about President Okello being forced out of power. They felt marginalized and tended to place their backing behind the charismatic Kony.
The Beginnings of the Battle
Initially Kony and his followers, then called the United Holy Salvation Army, were not seen as a threat by Museveni. However by 1988, Lakwena was defeated in a battle in Jinja and fled to Kenya and Kony took over leadership of her forces and started using military tactics to achieve his goals. The National Resistance Army then decimated his troops. Kony and his troops fought back by killing those who had backed the NRA as well as killing civilians. Although Kony claimed that He was following the Holy Spirit and was fighting for the 10 commandments, he actually followed a combination of Christianity, African Traditional Religion and Spiritism.
Abduction of Child Soldiers and Sex Slaves
By 1992 Kony engaged in what he is now known for, the abduction of young girls for sexual gratification and young boys to act as child soldiers. His group, then called the United Democratic Christian Army, kidnapped 44 girls from two catholic girls schools. Young boys were captured from their villages and ordered to commit atrocities which would make them culpable. They would be ordered to kill their parents or bash the head of a child who tried to escape.
During the years that I was in Uganda, 2001-2004, I heard first hand of the atrocities. The newspaper flashed photos of women with their lips cut off. I heard of old women being tied up and burned alive in their huts. One of the mission workers told me that he and his family had to spend a number of nights in the swamp at night with their new baby to hide from Kony's troops while the mother had to try to breast feed her infant and keep the child quiet. Travelers to Northern Uganda were in fear that they might indiscriminately be attacked by Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army. Children from the villages went to Gulu to sleep at night so they would not be abducted from their beds and forced to become killers.
Kony 2012: The Invisible Children: Watch and Make Your Own Decision
- KONY 2012 - YouTube
KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and se...
The Truth is Told
When I returned to the U.S. from Uganda and started my nurse practitioner program, I was introduced to a video in 2005 that had been produced by three young men who had gone to Africa in search of producing a documentary film. Little did they realize what they would encounter. They told the story of Joseph Kony and the child soldiers. They told the story of the travesty, the mutilation and killing and the girls who were made child brides. I was glad that someone in the United States was aware of the situation and cared enough to do something about it.
I attended one of their events. It was a mass sleep over. We were asked to experience for one night what it might be like to sleep outside to try to relate to the children in Gulu. Many people across the country camped out in cluster groups. Armed with markers, we made posters of the invisible children, those who were not noticed by the world. We were asked to make these children visible. Pictures and photos of the event were sent off to government officials. Numerous other events and videos have followed.
Night Commute:Sleeping in the Park
The Invisible Children Made Visible
A couple of days ago,Invisible Children ceased to be invisible any longer. "Invisible Children, Inc." posted a video to YouTube that went viral. One can argue about the tactics. Some certainly have. They have questioned the sincerity of the young man who produced the video. They have questioned the organization and its finances. They have discussed office location sites, who should be doing the work, how much help is going to the children or whether there is still a problem with Kony to be reckoned with in Uganda. Dan Pollota has done an excellent job of addressing some of these questions in his blog. What I can say is that the children of Northern Uganda are now visible and the problem of Kony is visible, thanks to Invisible Children and a group of young people. What we choose to do with it is up to us.
Cover The NightClick thumbnail to view full-size
Cover The Night
Last Night there was a grand attempt by "The Invisible Children" organization to bring to the attention of the world that we need to stand together to stop Kony but also to make the world a better place. They encouraged 3 hours of community service and then blanketed the world with posters and signs during the night. Look for them, April 21, 2012.
Dan Pollota Answers Some of the Questions People Are Asking
- The Kony 2012 "Controversy" - Dan Pallotta - Harvard Business Review
Business bloggers at Harvard Business Review discuss a variety of business topics including managing people, innovation, leadership, and more.