Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Truth About the Lord’s Resistance Army

It was sickly funny to see that Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, insist that the LRA had committed no atrocities in their rebellion against Uganda’s government. In an abstract sense, I could smile and muster up a little laugh while I sat amazed at the bald faced lie. In the specific--when faced with the pictures and the stories of the people the LRA brutalized--there is nothing even vaguely humorous or worth smiling about.

This story from Ochola John is a good starting point for understanding the cruelty of the LRA.

I wish I could be born again. It hurts me to see my reflection because of the way I now look.

The memories of it all are so painful.

It was in the night when I saw a number of torches flash at me. I was commanded to lie down facing the ground. As I did so, the rebels began raiding other houses around me.

From there, the story dissolves into watching others being killed and having his own ears, nose, lips, and hands cut off. Being abducted, beaten, and starved until he was found by government troops and given hospital care, the man is lucky to be alive. But his life--his face deformed and his arms ending in useless lumps--isn’t what it could have been.

The LRA didn’t content itself with typical torture and random murders; the rebels made a habit throughout the long war of kidnapping children and forcing them to serve the cause. The girls were sex slaves to the commanders, the boys were trained to be soldiers (with ages documented as young as seven).

The post-colonial history of Africa has been written in blood and a savage inhumanity. In that sense, the LRA is hardly unique; in any sense, though, the leaders and perpetrators of the worst of these acts must be punished for their works. Joseph Kony is one of the bloodiest of the bunch.


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