I’m going to be a little up front: this post is very different from a normal post I would make. Normally I don’t talk about political-ish things and normally I don’t use my blog as a place to advocate or advertise. However, this issue is very different to me. It means a lot to me. I not only want to share and inform, but I also want your opinion and thoughts as well. This post does contain some mature topics.
There is an organization called Invisible Children that has been near and dear to me since I was in middle school. I was shown a documentary for this cause at my church I think in the seventh grade and ever since then, it’s stuck with me. I can’t get it out of mind.. I’m going to provide a summary from the Invisible Children website, because I think they sum themselves up the best:
There is an invisible war in Africa: one man, Joseph Kony, terrorizing four countries. It is the longest running conflict on the continent (twenty-six years), and the soldiers are children abducted from their homes and forced to fight. We are a movement seeking to end this conflict and bring them home. We seek to rebuild schools, educated future leaders, and provide jobs in Northern Uganda.
Joseph Kony’s tactics were—and remain—brutal. He often forced children to kill their parents or siblings with machetes or blunt tools. He abducted girls to be sex slaves for his officers. He brainwashed and indoctrinated the children with his lies and manipulated them with his claim of spiritual powers.
At the height of the conflict in Uganda, children “night commuted.” That is, every evening they would walk miles from their homes to the city centers. There, hundreds of children would sleep in school houses, churches, or bus depots to avoid abduction by the LRA.
Kony and the LRA abducted more than 30,000 children in northern Uganda.
It all started in 2003 when three friends went to Africa on a “film-making adventure” and they discovered this brutal, invisible war that no one seemed to know about. They produced the documentary Invisible Children: Rough Cut. This was the documentary that I was shown, and the information and images are startling, unsettling, and awful. I wanted to throw up.
Invisible Children does amazing things in Africa for these children, and their parents. Recently they just launched a campaign called “Kony 2012.” On YouTube, one of the founders created a thirty minute movie explaining that the goal in 2012 is not to celebrate Joseph Kony, but to make him famous – to make the world aware of the war that is going on in Africa because of this man.
I realize that this is a long video to watch and I don’t expect all of you to watch this – but if you find some time to spare, I really encourage you to watch this:
To put it simply, and even though I hate this word, this video has become viral. On almost every YouTube video I watch now, I see in the comments “Kony 2012.” That, to me, makes me hopeful, hopeful that maybe, finally, the word is getting out – after twenty-six years – the word is getting out and that this war can be stopped.
I realize that many, many people may be opposed to this because they believe that the United States should not get involved in the war, that we are already involved in too much, etc. However, I don’t see how one can simply stand by and allow this inhumanity to happen. These are children, being abducted, brainwashed to kill or to become sex slaves.
Why should these children be punished for where they were born? They should be proud of where they are from, not living in fear. I just think about the comforts that I have in my life solely because of where I was born. I know that I can go to sleep tonight without having to worry about my safety, or my friends’ safety, or for my parents. I don’t have to worry that some night, I may be caught and abducted and forced to kill my own parents and to mutilate others. These children don’t have these comforts, all because of where they were born.
These children also have no escape. Where can they go? Who can they turn to? They don’t have anybody. The Ugandan government has done what they can, but it’s not enough. They cannot fight the LRA by themselves.
So I’m going to state my opinion now: I believe that America should become involved and do what it can to stop Joseph Kony. Joseph Kony is #1 on the world’s most wanted war criminals list and as if his crimes aren’t enough, he is not fighting for any cause, but only to maintain his own power, which is absolutely sickening. I don’t see how you can simply stand by and not intervene in such terrible and inhumane acts. I’m not going to act like I know exactly how America (and other countries) should should become involved or what they should do – and maybe that makes me ignorant – I just know that it’s not right to stand by and watch and do absolutely nothing and that we should do something.
I’m not necessarily trying to persuade you (okay, maybe a little bit) but I want to inform others about what is going on in Africa, who Joseph Kony is, and what he is doing.
Now I want your opinion. Do you agree that America (and other countries) should become involved and stop Joseph Kony? Or do you think that America needs to mind its own business and that military intervention isn’t necessarily the right way to go? Have you heard of Joseph Kony and the LRA before? I want to know your views.