by Tim McCall, Collegian Staff
March 9, 2007
The Invisible Children campaign came to Amherst Wednesday night to showcase their documentary about the ongoing civil war in Uganda.
The documentary tells the story of three friends, Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey, and Laren Poole, who traveled to Sudan to create a documentary about the ongoing civil war being fought between Northern and Southern Sudan. The war has been going on for 20 years and is the longest ongoing war on the African continent.
Russell, Bailey, and Poole focused their documentary on the lives of Northern Uganda children being chased from their homes by the rebel armies to either join their army or die.
“After England left Uganda in the 1960s the tribes in the south were left in charge of the country, leaving the north out of power,” said Brent Lutz, a campaigner for Invisible Children.
Lutz, Alana Duyao, Heather Larabee, and Chris Zwakenberg are traveling the New England portion of the country to raise awareness for the Invisible Children organization.
“With the north feeling powerless, they began to feel jealousy towards the south, Alice Auma started a spiritual movement to overtake the government in the south and place its power in the north,” Lutz continued.
Auma claimed that a soldier from the north covered in holy oils could not die because he was a solider of God. When the soldier did die, she blamed the solider for not correctly following her orders.
Following the death of many soldiers Auma was exiled to Kenya. In her footsteps Joseph Kony started the Lords Resistance Army. “Joseph claimed to be a relative of Auma’s to keep the movement going after she was exiled,” Lutz said.
Kony led the LRA to abduct the children of Uganda and either kill them or brainwash them into joining the army.
“The prime age [frame] for the LRA to abduct was 5-12, Kony insisted they were easiest to brainwash, and small enough to carry a gun into a school,” Lutz said.
The documentary followed children from Northern Uganda and their escape from the LRA. To avoid the rebels the children of Uganda walked long distances to the city’s bus parks and hospitals to hide. At these locations the children did not have beds or a change of clothes. Most of the children slept on the floor with a very thin sheet.
“If the children did not escape the rebels they were brought to the Ugandan brush. There they were brainwashed. Some soldiers raped the young girls,” Lutz said.
A segment of the documentary highlighted the life of a young woman who was raped by a solider in the brush. After she was raped she escaped, and had the soldier’s child.
In the three years since the making of the documentary, life in Uganda has started to become more peaceful. Donations to the Invisible Children organization are helping schools be rebuilt and creating jobs for the citizens in the north. The United Nations is also involved with peace talks between the two sides of the country.
Note: This event was hosted by leaders of Americans for Informed Democracy at the University of Massachusetts.