lord's resistance army

Senior LRA Leader Captured in Central African Republic

The BBC reports that Caesar Achellam was captured by the Ugandan army on Saturday:

"A senior commander in the rebel Lord's Resistance Army has been captured by the Ugandan army, a spokesman has said. Caesar Achellam was seized on Saturday following a struggle between Ugandan soldiers and a group of 30 rebels. The commander, whom Ugandan officials say is a top rebel military strategist, was captured in the Central African Republic, one of several nations where the Ugandan-led LRA operates."
 
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The First Step: Let Us Pray

Photos of Joseph Kony (L) and George Clooney (R) via Getty Images.
Photos of Joseph Kony (L) and George Clooney (R) via Getty Images.

George Clooney and others were arrested on the steps of the Sudanese embassy last week to call attention to the violence in South Sudan. The actor-activist, along with Jon Prendergast, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations committee and conducted a series of media interviews to explain the situation in South Sudan, the world’s newest nation.

I applaud Clooney for using his star power to shine a light on the violence in South Sudan. Now that we see the problem the question for us is: what does this situation require of me personally?

Similarly, when we watch the Kony 2012 video that, for all of its flaws, informs people about the crimes against humanity of Joseph Kony and the efforts to bring him to justice, the same question arises.

The world is full to the brim with tragedy. We see the violence in Syria, people protesting their government are killed by their own government. We see world leaders who cannot come to consensus about the right thing to do.

What action will at once end the violence, protect the people, and depose an illegitimate government while not increasing violence in a complicated and volatile region of the world?

KONY 2012: Who's Telling the Story?

Joseph Kony. Photo by Adam Pletts/Getty Images.
Joseph Kony, head of the Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army, in a rare public appearance, 2006. Photo by Adam Pletts/Getty Images.

“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”

So begins the Invisible Children’s KONY 2012 video that recently went viral. And yet, I would perhaps change this opening quote to say something like, “Nothing is more powerful than the stories by which we construct our identities,” because these stories determine who you believe you are and how you believe you can engage in the world and with others.

Powerful. Potentially dangerous. Always in some way failing in it’s accuracy and exclusive to someone else. Even with our best intentions.

Invisible Children Short Film 'Kony 2012' Aims at Worldwide Awareness

Joseph Kony, Kony 2012, Invisible Children
Joseph Kony, Kony 2012, Invisible Children

Invisible Children released a short film Wednesday with the aim to make Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, famous--not for acclaim, but to bring awareness to his alleged crimes in abducting children and forcing them to be child soldiers.

According to the YouTube video, "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 set a precedent for international justice."

"It's obvious that Kony should be stopped. The problem is that 99 percent of the planet doesn't know who he is. If they knew, Kony would have been stopped long ago," the half-hour film narrates.

 

Fighting Fire with Water

ON OCt. 14, 2011, President Obama sent a letter to Congress saying he was sending two teams of “U.S. military personnel with appropriate combat equipment,” plus communications and logistics staff, to Uganda. The total of about 100 troops are there “as advisers to partner forces that have the goal of removing from the battlefield Joseph Kony” and other leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

The importance of international attention to the LRA cannot be overestimated. Kony and the LRA have abducted more than 25,000 children, many of them from Northern Uganda, using them as soldiers and sexual slaves. The LRA has been marauding there—and more recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Central Africa Republic, and South Sudan—for more than 20 years.

After years of urging U.S. attention to the violence perpetrated by the LRA—and hearing some voices in the region that supported the U.S. action—many human rights groups, including Resolve, the Enough Project, and Invisible Children, welcomed Obama’s decision.

But careful listening to important local religious leaders should raise some serious questions. On Oct. 24, the Acholi Religious Leaders’ Peace Initiative (ARLPI), a northern Ugandan group that includes leading Catholic, Anglican, and Muslim clergy from the area, issued a statement thanking the U.S. president and Congress for their “attention to the plight of our people,” including “efforts to achieve reconciliation and meet humanitarian needs in LRA-affected regions,” but expressing concern about “the military nature of the current strategy.” They wrote, “As history has taught us, military intervention is not the way to resolve the LRA conflict and achieve a sustainable peace. In the past, such approaches have directly resulted in the intensification of LRA violence and the increased endangerment of civilians.”

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