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March 18, 2012


Church of Uganda Responds to Kony 2012 Campaign

Church of Uganda Responds to Kony 2012 Campaign

March 15th, 2012

The Church of Uganda has been made aware of the Kony 2012 campaign initiated by the US-based organization, Invisible Children.
Joseph Kony and the LRA left Uganda in 2006 at the beginning of the Juba peace talks and haven?t been in Uganda for more than five years. Since then, the people of Northern Uganda have been returning to their homes and have begun the long and difficult process of healing and rebuilding their lives, their families, and their communities. The Church of Uganda has been deeply involved in that process at every level. While there are the normal challenges of any country, Uganda is a country at peace, working hard on development, and takes pride in its description as the “Pearl of Africa.”

Under the leadership of the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, the Church of Uganda made advocacy for the end of the war in Northern Uganda a primary concern. The Archbishop and Bishops of the Church of Uganda led a delegation of 70 people to Gulu and the Pabbo IDP camp in February 2004, immediately after his enthronement as Archbishop, as an act of solidarity with them and to offer encouragement. The Archbishop spoke out repeatedly on the need for peaceful resolution to the conflict, and met on several occasions with the President to advocate for peace and an end to the war. Through the Uganda Joint Christian Council, the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative, and our Dioceses operating in the affected areas, the Church of Uganda has worked with many other community leaders to restore peace in Northern Uganda and engage in the process of healing and rebuilding the North from the lingering effects of Joseph Kony.

Although the Juba Peace Talks did not produce a peace agreement, life without the threat of LRA attacks returned to Northern Uganda in 2006. The Church of Uganda, however, seriously regrets the failure of the peace talks that has resulted in Joseph Kony and the LRA continuing their brutal attacks on the people of Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic. It grieves us deeply to know that others are still experiencing the brutality we lived through for twenty years.

The Church of Uganda has consistently advocated for peaceful means of conflict resolution. Archbishop Henry Orombi wrote in a January 2006 editorial to Christianity Today, “When you read reports of a certain number of LRA rebels killed by the Ugandan army, remember that these rebels are our abducted and brainwashed children. When reading about LRA “rebels,” always substitute the word “children” for rebels. The military solution has failed for 20 years; only genuine dialogue and negotiation has come closest to ending the war.”

Invisible Children have been a good partner with the Church of Uganda, and we thank them for standing with us when we were working to keep the need for a peaceful resolution to the war before the government. We also thank them for standing with us in the long and still ongoing process of rebuilding families and communities in Northern Uganda. They have helped us rebuild schools, send children to school, and build capacity among our teachers through training and exchange trips. It is unfortunate, however, that there was not a wider consultation with the local community on how to portray the current challenges facing the people of Northern Uganda and to accurately let them speak in their own voice.

The successful use of social marketing to get out a message is commendable and we urge Invisible Children to empower Ugandans with these tools and skills to enable their voices to be heard and appreciated.

While Invisible Children have been a good partner with the Church of Uganda, they are not the only organization working in Northern Uganda. The Church of Uganda, through its dioceses working in the affected areas, has a number of programmes related to rebuilding educational infrastructure, improving health services, providing water and sanitation services, orphan care, and community development projects. The Church is in every village with schools and health centres, is in touch with needs at the grassroots, and has a solid accountability structure. Some people may want to support the ongoing efforts to restore normal life to the people of Northern Uganda through other organizations. Tax-deductible contributions for Church of Uganda projects that address current concerns in Northern Uganda can be sent to the US-based Anglican Relief and Development Fund, with a notation marked “Northern Uganda Rehabilitation”


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6 comments

I was going to contribute to Kony 2012. I still will probably put out posters on April 20th. Having one of their leaders go mental and run around naked probably doesn’t help.

[1] Posted by robroy on 3-18-2012 at 11:23 PM · [top]

If it were my money, I would direct it to the ARDF.  If you hover your cursor over Anglican Relief and Development Fund, it should take you to their link.

From what I gather, there are some major concerns about this actual group.

[2] Posted by Jackie on 3-19-2012 at 07:39 AM · [top]

The Kony 2012 issue, of course, encompasses not just (northern) Uganda but most recently the DRC and CAR, and since the beginning of Kony’s rampages over twenty years ago, South Sudan. In fact, many of the people in southern Uganda, sadly, even Christians, are not that concerned with what happened to the Acholi in the north. But my point is that we cannot dismiss the problem of Kony and the LRA just because it is not affecting N. Uganda anymore. It is definitely still affecting South Sudan (Equatoria), Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo—which has already been through hell without Kony, now even more so.

It was the activism, much of it faith-based, particularly of young people – the extraordinary mobilization of young people by Invisible Children, Resolve, Enough Project, etc. that inspired me to write my book Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’s Children (Chosen Books 2007), and to encourage Grace Akallo, my co-author, (and alumni of Uganda Christian University) to write her story of abduction, LRA servitude, and escape, in that book.

People who have criticized the Kony 2012 video from the beginning of its going viral, really, really don’t know the whole story. They seem to think that most of I.C.’s audience don’t know much about the subject, and that the Kony 2012 video is their first exposure. The truth is that this cause has gripped young people across America and across the world in a way that is unprecedented in my life as an activist. Young people across the world have been following I.C. and every news story that has come out about Kony, U.S. legislation, etc. for ten years!

I.C.’s brilliant films for the past ten years and strategic social media engagement are a large part of the reason, but not the entire reason for this movement of young people. As a Christian I believe that G-D is putting this burden in the hearts of hundreds and thousands of young people, even if they don’t believe in Him! And these young people have done their homework (more so than probably their actual homework!) on Kony, the LRA, the abduction of children, the region and its politics, the bill passed and signed into law by President Obama. The one thing that I don’t think they understand that well, possibly because it may seem like a distraction to the leaders of the activism, but to me seems to be an integral part of stopping this evil in the region, is the role of Omar al Bashir, and the Sudanese Islamist regime in supporting, funding, and using Kony against the SPLA, the people of South Sudan, and in retaliation against Uganda’s sometimes support for the SPLA during the north/south war. 

In addition to what it may do to help stop Kony and the LRA, the other positive that I see about the Stop Kony 2012 and the whole movement for the children of East Africa, victimized by Kony, is how it is taking young people outside of themselves and their self-centered concerns. And woe to us, particularly those who are conservatives, who seem not to care about this moral imperative and human rights issue. The young people are watching, and frankly, they find a lot more with which they resonate on this issue coming from the liberals. And I say that as a conservative Republican!

In regards to Uganda, I, of course, agree with the Anglican Province of Uganda on the issue. But as far as the Americans, foreign policy elites, critics on the right and on the left, etc. I’d like to know what many of those who have criticized the Kony 2012 video without following the Invisible Children movement and all that it has done for the past ten years, (and regardless of the recent breakdown of Jason Russell as a result of all that has been going on) have themselves done to try to stop the horror of the LRA from continuing? I met Jason, Bobby, and Laren when they were on Capitol Hill WITH Archbishop Orombi over ten years ago, when they had first come back from Gulu and were working on their first film. Jackie, I’ve seen the comments from people who say there are “questions” about the group itself. I think that they are one of the most well-run, strategic, effective groups I have ever seen—at what they do. They are mobilizers, activists, advocates, and, because of their personal relationships built with kids in northern Uganda, added some humanitarian aid to what they do. But people who criticize the amount of funding that goes to aid…just give your money to aid groups and to the Church in Uganda. But if you want to try to see policy changed and the world motivated to stop Kony…don’t diss Invisible Children.

[3] Posted by FaithieJ on 3-21-2012 at 10:17 AM · [top]

Thank you Faithiej for your knowledgeable comments.

Danica (Jason’s wife) posted to the IC website more about the incident.  http://invisiblechildrenblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/thank-you-for-your-support-an-update-from-jasons-family/

I know of Jason’s parents as they founded Christian Youth Theater in San Diego, CA.  CYT is the largest theater arts youth organization in the nation.  Our family has participated for over 10 years with the Chicago chapter. 

The truth tends to not make good copy—it’s easier to run the soundbite; to bash and run. Pray for Jason and Danica and the rest of the family. Please don’t let the author of lies get this cause buried because of human frailty. We of the CYT family are holding the Russells and Kony 2012 in our prayers.

[4] Posted by Summersnow on 3-21-2012 at 05:03 PM · [top]

Thank you, Summersnow. My good friend and fellow human rights activist Nina Shea provoked a thought in me, too. Those of us who have to mess about with evil entities like Kony and Bashir of Sudan often find strange things happening to us. This is spiritual warfare! In addition to human frailty, there could well be demonic forces at work. Prayers for Jason and Danica and their children, and the IC team, and Kony 2012 as a movement are called for!

[5] Posted by FaithieJ on 3-21-2012 at 05:32 PM · [top]

Jackie—I know you do your research very carefully.  You mentioned that “there are some major concerns about this actual group.”  Can you point out those sites so I can look them over.  Our college and high school friends have been really touched by such groups as IC.  While I am excited and encouraged by how the next gen is moving forward in trying to put hands and feet to the gospel, I would like to become better informed.

Thanks.

Susan

[6] Posted by Summersnow on 3-21-2012 at 09:52 PM · [top]

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