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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The "Invisibe Children" of Uganda

A few days ago while surfing you tube (one of my favorite passtimes) I came across a video titled, "Invisible Children". I then realized the full version of the documentary was on google video. When I sat down to watch it, after getting through the first few minutes of the college boys making the film chit-chatting and then throwing up in scenes in Uganda, the film HIT. This is a story that I very reluctantly admit, I have never heard of before. It is horrendous, it is bizarre, and it is heart-breaking. It is the story of the Lord's Army in Uganda and how they recruit their soldiers by night raids into villages, abducting children. In order to escape from being kidnapped, the children walk into the near by town to sleep on the verandas and in basements, wherever they can find, so they are not adbucted, brainwashed and beaten, to become child soldiers in this Lord's Army. Approximately 30,ooo children have been abducted since this war began in 1987. The horrendous things that are done to them are beyond words. But this documentary is primarily about those children have to do in order to escape being abducted.

Below is an article concerning this matter, and what is being done to raise awareness and help for these innocent, invisible children.

Below is a short youtube about the documentary. But I HIGHLY recommend you watch the documentary, "Invisible Children" on google. It is 55 minutes long, but you will never be the same after you watch this film.

The link to the Invisible Children website is here. Please take the time to visit and see how you can help in this horrendous crime against humaninty and participate in other wonderful activities that this organization does. As the website states, it all began with the movie, and then grew from there.

Saving the invisible children of Uganda

Catie Gillette

Issue date: 3/12/07 Section: News

Americans in protest of the social injustices currently taking place in Uganda will once again participate in
Americans in protest of the social injustices currently taking place in Uganda will once again participate in "Deplace Me.," a program organized by Invisible Children, Inc. on April 28.

In northern Uganda, children often called "night commuters," as young as six years old cram themselves into a broken-down hospital and search for a spot to sleep for the night. They walk numerous miles each night trying to find shelters to avoid abduction by the Lord's Resistance Army.

The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group, was formed in 1987 in Northern Uganda and Sudan. They are rebelling against the Ugandan government because they wish to establish a state based on their leader's interpretation of the Acholi religion and Premillenialism (a Christian eschatology that believes that Jesus Christ will reign for 1,000 years on Earth during his second coming.)

Their origin is traced back to Alice Lakwena in the 1980's, who believed that the Holy Spirit had spoken to her and ordered her to overthrow the Ugandan government. After her death, Joseph Koney claimed to be her cousin, took over the rebel army and cultivated it into the LRA. The LRA has been accused of widespread human-rights violations, including the abduction of civilians, use of children soilders, torture, murder, rape and mutilation.

But these children are not going unnoticed. Last April, more than 80,000 Americans nationwide traveled to their inner-city districts to sleep outside in the name of these children, who number in the thousands. Invisible Children Inc. is the non-profit organization that has organized events to raise awareness about the children in Uganda.

Invisible Children began when three college filmmakers from San Diego filmed a documentary about the thousands of people displaced in Uganda. They interviewed men, women and children about their fight to survive against the insurgency of the Lord's Resistance Army.

After creating the documentary, Bobby Bailey, Laren Poole and Jason Russell, also created a nonprofit organization under the same name. This organization raises awareness not only about the displaced people in Uganda but also how people in the United States can help.

Two months after Invisible Children's Global Night Commute event last year, peace talks in northern Uganda ensued and the rebel activities and child abductions have decreased. Children had been abducted because they were the easiest people to brainwash into joining the LRA forces. The LRA would often use fear, abuse and threats to force the children to fight for them. Night commuting by the children in Uganda has also declined.

Still, the ongoing war is disrupting life in the African country. More than 1.8 million Ugandans were evicted from their homes and transported to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps. According to the U.S. Department of State, these camps which have been in existence for over ten years, lack adequate food and water, sanitation and any form of education. Also, the displaced Ugandans are fighting alcoholism, sexual abuse, HIV/AIDS and the immeasurable damage to the culture and people of Acholiland, Uganda.

The Potter's House, a Christian coffeehouse across from Missouri State University, had hosted Invisible Children Inc. as a part of their educational video tour. Invisible Children Inc. showed their film in the Plaster Student Union and then later showed their merchandise and answered questions for students at the Potter's House.

"I believe college students have an incredible heart for responding to needs of hurting people around the world. I further believe that when they are exposed to a variety of needs, locally, nationally and internationally, they can and will respond with their time and money," said Steve Proffitt, the director of the Potter's House organization. "Perhaps just one student may see the need and respond. Maybe that one student can make a difference. I believe this generation has, within itself, the ability and resources to stop the oppression of innocent victims wherever they are found."

On April 28, Americans can take part in Displace Me, an event organized by Invisible Children. There will be fifteen strategic locations determined by Invisible Children Inc. announced at a later date. By gathering overnight, Americans hope to send a message to the U.S. government that they care about the suffering of millions of people living in Uganda's displaced camps.

While Drury's student chapter of Amnesty International is not working with Invisible Children directly, it will be hosting a National Week of Student Action whose theme is "Action in Darfur."

"Given that displaced children are obviously a large aspect of the current genocide in Sudan, some activities might focus on that element," said Jessica Schneider, president of Drury's chapter of Amnesty International. "We will finish off the week with a Rock for Rights Concert that we are currently in the midst of planning."