Over time, Northern Uganda has been home to one of the longest running conflicts not only in the region but for the whole of Africa as well. The one man at the heart of the conflict is none other than Joseph Kony who heads a terrorism outfit/guerilla movement called the Lord’s Resistance Army. In this text, I discuss invisible children, a movement that has been inspired by the plight of children abducted by Kony’s guerilla outfit to serve as child soldiers.
I also mention a number of scenarios inspired by the happenings in Northern Uganda including but not in any way limited to a movie which was inspired by the various atrocities Kony has committed over time especially when it comes to the enlistment of children who are underage to fight as soldiers.
In Northern Uganda and far beyond, the terms Lord’s Resistance Army are synonymous with terror. This guerilla movement is famous for a number of atrocities including but not in any way limited to abductions of underage numbering up to 66000, sexual enslavement, mutilations, murder as well as a wide range of other inhuman atrocities. Further, the rebellion which officially took root in 1986 has led to the displacement of more than two million people.
At the face of it, the group rebels against Uganda’s government of the day and its leader. Joseph Kony has often claimed to be God’s sole spokesman. The various atrocities which the guerilla movement continues to advance to unarmed victims have led to its classification by the United States as a terrorist organization (Tikkanen 2005). Several attempts have been mounted to do away with LRA and most particularly kill its leader, Joseph Kony.
However, not much has been achieved and in some instances, an all offensive against the terrorist outfit has only resulted in a high casualty of women and children whom are used as human shields by the terror group. According to Beah (2008) the LRA has been known to attack schools thereby killing all the teachers while taking the children hostage. These children are then taken deep into the bush where they are trained on guerilla warfare regardless of their age. Analysts note that one of the reasons why the outfit has been hard to eliminate is due t the use of children at the frontline during battles.
Any offensive against the guerrilla outfit hence ends up killing most of the child soldiers giving time for Kony and his men to get away. This was the case when in an unprecedented move; the United States launched an all offensive on the group in 2006. Several LRA refuge points deep in the Congo Garamba National Park were shelled and later accounts shows that a vast majority of those who were killed were children and women. The women as well as Girls in this case were being used as sex slaves while the boys were most probably child soldiers in captivity. Kony and his men managed to get away, yet again.
As it can be gleaned from the above account, there exists a growing need to bring into sharp focus the various happenings in northern Uganda. It is unfortunate that given the atrocities meted out upon helpless people by the LRA, the world continues to watch. However, over time, there have been several initiatives undertaken by people of good will to show the rest of the world what is happening on the ground and give an opportunity to those who would like to help to do so (Allen 2010).
This includes but is not in any way limited to movements like Invisible Children which have set base in Uganda in an effort to bring to an end the chain of atrocities as well as bring to a halt the use of children who are underage as child soldiers amongst other violations on basic human rights. Most specifically, Invisible Children seeks to utilize creativity as well as film in an attempt to ensure that the continued use of child soldiers is brought to a halt. Further, the organization which has gained much prominence in the recent past has a mandate to ensure that peace and prosperity is restored in the northern region of Uganda.
It is also important to note that in its mandate to bring to an end the oppression of children, the movement tracks all the new developments in regard to Kony’s guerilla movement and in this regard, documents all the gains made so far as far as the defeat of the terror group is concerned. A stroll across the website gives a review of the most current happenings and for this month, the site of the organization has a number of news items touching on the LRA including but not in any way limited to the recovery of buried weapons believed to belong to Kony’s group and other events including the march 4th introduction of a legislation by McGovern and Royce who are some of the two congressmen at the forefront in efforts to ensure that LRA has no outside support.
It is also important to note that in an effort, to help rehabilitated former children soldiers as well as see the group’s efforts advance, Invisible Children accepts donations from people of good will. Some of the programs supported by donations made to this organization include but are not limited to scholarship for vulnerable children, the facilitation of mentorship programs to exposed children as well as the rehabilitation of children who suffered at the hands of Kony’s merciless team. Apart from the organization, the plight of the children at the hands of Joseph Kony and his mercenaries has inspired a documentary film by the name invisible children.
The documentary film which premiered in 2003 concerns itself with the issue of abductions of underage children who are then enlisted into the secretariat movement. The film which tells the story of children who have to walk miles sometimes deep in the nights in an attempt to avoid Kony and his guerillas received wide acclaim with millions of people reported to have watched the movie globally. The film according to inspired a significant number of grassroots movements seeking to make contributions towards making Kony’s rein of terror history.
Over time, there have been concerted efforts from a wide range of quarters to mobilize funds so as to save those children already being wasted by Kony and his group. Invisible Children (the organization) is an example of such selfless determination to ensure that good prevails over evil. It is hoped that going forward, more gains shall be made in regard to ending Kony’s atrocities.
Beah, I. (2008). A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Tikkanen, M. (2005). Invisible children: preteen mothers, adolescent felons & what we can do about it. Expert Pub., 2005
Allen, T. (2010). The Lord's Resistance Army: Myth and Reality. Zed Books