Monday, April 20, 2009

What Are You Doing April 25th?

Cast your memory back...what were you doing when you were 9 years old? Kicking a football around? Getting lost in a book? Riding a bike? Worrying about the bully at school picking on you? Getting up to mischief?

I'll take a guess that you weren't commuting at night (without an adult) and sleeping rough with thousands of other children in order to stay safe. Or that you were being abducted from your home, after possibly witnessing members of your family murdered; and then forced into an existence as a solider. Being forced to pick up a machete and rifle to kill and maim others. At the age of 9.Where if you try to escape you will either be killed or severely mutilated.

In Northern Uganda, this is a daily reality. To date circa 30,000 children have been abducted and forced into a life of bloodshed and violence. For over 20 years a rebel group called the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) have waged war against the government of Uganda. They are a guerrilla group who are attempting to gain political control and they are responsible for Africa's longest running war.

The LRA are led by a man named Joseph Kony . Using a horrific campaign of violence and bloodshed, the LRA has gained a reputation for extreme brutality against the people of northern Uganda; and in particular the children of the region. Kony's name is enough to inspire absolute terror in Ugandans. Peace Talks have stalled on several occasions due to Kony’s refusal to sign a peace agreement. He is the world’s first individual indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Some of the images in the following footage are heartbreaking but they need to be watched. I had a physical ache in my chest watching this. Ignorance and silence about the situation will only allow the LRA to continue.

On April 25th in over 100 cities worldwide thousands of people will stand together and speak out. The international community will unite to deliver the innocent from Kony's reign and ensure he is finally brought to justice. Participants will gather in 100 cities across the world to "abduct" themselves and to raise awareness of the situation, which is one of the most neglected humanitarian emergencies in the world today..

There is information on the site about events worldwide and how you can participate. If you can't then spread the word and let others know about it. There are events happening in over 100 cities worldwide: Dublin, Ireland and Vancouver, Canada included. I will be taking part in Vancouver and hope that some of you will participate wherever you may be.


Meadow said...

Great post.

I've just started ''A Long Way Home'' by Ishmael Beah who was recruited a child soldier in Sierra Leone.

You might find it interesting.

Peter Eichstaedt said...

I invite you to see a new book on Kony and Uganda's child soldiers titled First Kill Your Family: Child Soldiers of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army, available now at See more at Thanks.

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