Stop Kony 2012 in Uganda

8 Mar

Yesterday I received a link on Facebook from a coworker to check out a video posted by Invisible Children. Let me give you some background on what they dedicate themselves to;

About Invisible Children

Invisible Children is a nonprofit that uses film, creativity and social action to end the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s rebel war and restore LRA-affected communities in Central Africa to peace and prosperity. They make documentaries, tour them around the world, and lobby our nation’s leaders to make ending this war a priority.

In the spring of 2003, three young filmmakers traveled to Africa in search of a story.

What started out as a film making adventure transformed into much more when these boys from Southern California discovered a tragedy that disgusted and inspired them, a tragedy where children are both the weapons and the victims.
After returning to the States, they created the documentary “Invisible Children: Rough Cut,” a film that exposes the tragic realities of northern Uganda’s night commuters and child soldiers.
Seeing the video and reading about the organization, I was sold. I immediately wanted to help and donate by buying a t-shirt. I started re-posting and sharing the video and link on Facebook…I thought I was going to help change the world. My twin brother had his own opinions which he shared with me. He said,”its funny how all of a sudden everyone’s concerned with the African community because this one non profit puts out a fancy video! Does anyone even know the history of this country?” This led me to do some research on Uganda.
Map of UgandaUganda became independent on Oct. 9, 1962. Sir Edward Mutesa, the king of Buganda (Mutesa II), was elected the first president. With the help of a young army officer, Col. Idi Amin, Prime Minister Obote seized control of the government from President Mutesa four years later.
On Jan. 25, 1971, Colonel Amin deposed President Obote. Obote went into exile in Tanzania. Amin expelled Asian residents and launched a reign of terror against Ugandan opponents, torturing and killing tens of thousands. In 1976, he had himself proclaimed “President for Life.” In 1977, Amnesty International estimated that 300,000 may have died under his rule, including church leaders and recalcitrant cabinet ministers.

After Amin held military exercises on the Tanzanian border in 1978, angering Tanzania’s president, Julius Nyerere, a combined force of Tanzanian troops and Ugandan exiles loyal to former president Obote invaded Uganda and chased Amin into exile in Saudi Arabia in 1979. After a series of interim administrations, President Obote led his People’s Congress Party to victory in 1980 elections that opponents charged were rigged. On July 27, 1985, army troops staged a coup and took over the government. Obote fled into exile. The military regime installed Gen. Tito Okello as chief of state.

The National Resistance Army (NRA), an anti-Obote group led by Yoweri Museveni, kept fighting after it had been excluded from the new regime. It seized Kampala on Jan. 29, 1986, and Museveni was declared president. Museveni has transformed the ruins of Idi Amin and Milton Obote’s Uganda into an economic miracle, preaching a philosophy of self-sufficiency and anti-corruption.

Uganda has waged an enormously successful campaign against AIDS, dramatically reducing the rate of new infections through an intensive public health and education campaign. Museveni won reelection in March 2001 with 70% of the vote, following a nasty and spirited campaign.

Close ties with Rwanda led to the cooperation of Uganda and Rwanda in the ousting of Zaire’s Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997, and a year later, in efforts to unseat his successor, Laurent Kabila, whom both countries originally supported but from whom they grew estranged. In1999, Uganda and Rwanda quarreled over strategy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and began fighting each other. The two countries mended their differences in 2002. Uganda also signed a peace accord with the Congo in Sept. 2002 and finally withdrew its remaining troops from the country in May 2003.

Uganda’s 18-year-long battle against the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an whose aim was to take over Uganda and run it according to his vision of Christianity. The boys are turned into soldiers and the girls into sex slaves. Up to 1.5 million people in northern Uganda have been displaced because of the fighting and the fear that their children will be abducted. Kony and three other LRA leaders have been indicted on charges of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. The LRA and the government signed a permanent cease-fire in February 2008. Kony failed to show up to sign the landmark agreement several times in 2008, dashing hopes for formalized peace. Between 8,000 and 10,000 children have been abducted by the LRA to form the army of “prophet” Joseph Kony,

Parliament introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in November 2009. The legislation would implement the death penalty on gay individuals. The proposed bill met fierce condemnation from the European Union and the United States. Parliament did not act on the bill, and it became increasingly unpopular following the January 2011 murder of Ugandan gay-rights activist David Kato. In May, the government shelved the bill.

Uganda continues to experience difficulty in advancing respect for human rights in matters concerning torture, child labor, andliberties. There are as many as thirteen ‘security’ organizations of the Museveni government, some directly answerable to the President and not constitutionally based and established by Act of Parliament. These organisations persecute opponents of the government, carry out abductions, disappearances, extrajudicial killings and torture and act both independently, interdependently with each other, and in cooperation with the Ugandan Police.
Government agencies accused of torture include the UPDF’s Chieftancy of Military Intelligence (CMI), the Internal Security Organisation (ISO), the Violent Crime Crack Unit (VCCU) and ad hoc agencies such as the Joint Anti-Terrorist Task Force (JATF.)

Ending Thoughts

So after researching the history I came to the realization that Uganda has always had human right issues, institutional instability, war, and poverty. This individual Joseph Kony isn’t the first or last person to kidnap and torture children, claim he’s a prophet and declare war on neighboring communities in Africa BUT regardless, his violent acts against humanity are appalling. This nonprofit is trying to make a change through social awareness and I applaud their efforts! Hopefully by sending US advisers Uganda’s army can gain the help and structure they need to help their people. This isn’t about how many “Likes” Invisible Children get or how many shirts are sold, this isn’t about YouTube videos or celebrity endorsements…this is about innocent children that are being tortured, raped and killed. They need help…

Kony 2012 Video 

Invisible Children Websites

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