10
Englishman held in custody for LRA massacre
In March, we launched our latest campaign for all the world to see. In the Communications Department we refer to that week as “that time the world exploded.”
For one man from Great Britain, that phrase is a pretty accurate description of his experiences in the month of March. David Simpson, a 24-year-old pilot was going about his business as the manager of a safari company in the Central African Republic (CAR) when some of his guides called him out into the bush. They had found something. In fact, they stumbled upon the bodies of thirteen people that appeared to have been bound, tortured, and killed by the LRA.
Click here to read the full blog post.
(Photo credit: The Guardian)

Englishman held in custody for LRA massacre

In March, we launched our latest campaign for all the world to see. In the Communications Department we refer to that week as “that time the world exploded.”

For one man from Great Britain, that phrase is a pretty accurate description of his experiences in the month of March. David Simpson, a 24-year-old pilot was going about his business as the manager of a safari company in the Central African Republic (CAR) when some of his guides called him out into the bush. They had found something. In fact, they stumbled upon the bodies of thirteen people that appeared to have been bound, tortured, and killed by the LRA.

Click here to read the full blog post.

(Photo credit: The Guardian)


27
In February of 2012, Invisible Children spoke with a 19-year old former LRA abductee* in the Central African Republic AR who was forced to become one of Joseph Kony’s 40+ wives at the age of 16. She explained how the combination of FM radio broadcasts and defection leaflets gave her the courage to finally escape, more than three years after she was abducted by the LRA. This story highlights the importance of the Demobilization, Disarmament, and Reintegration (DDR) process and the need to expand efforts that promote peaceful surrender of LRA members.
*name and specific location protected for security purposes
Learn more about Invisible Children’s defection and peaceful surrender programs here.

In February of 2012, Invisible Children spoke with a 19-year old former LRA abductee* in the Central African Republic AR who was forced to become one of Joseph Kony’s 40+ wives at the age of 16. She explained how the combination of FM radio broadcasts and defection leaflets gave her the courage to finally escape, more than three years after she was abducted by the LRA. This story highlights the importance of the Demobilization, Disarmament, and Reintegration (DDR) process and the need to expand efforts that promote peaceful surrender of LRA members.

*name and specific location protected for security purposes

Learn more about Invisible Children’s defection and peaceful surrender programs here.


60
LRA attacks on the rise in Central Africa
According to multiple articles, including Invisible Children & Resolve’s own LRA Crisis Tracker, the LRA has been ramping up attacks and abductions within the past few months. The UN News Centre, the Voice of America, and humanitarian news site AlertNet have all reported a rise of LRA activity since January both in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.
Read more here.

LRA attacks on the rise in Central Africa

According to multiple articles, including Invisible Children & Resolve’s own LRA Crisis Tracker, the LRA has been ramping up attacks and abductions within the past few months. The UN News Centre, the Voice of America, and humanitarian news site AlertNet have all reported a rise of LRA activity since January both in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.

Read more here.


40
The African Union announced the establishment of a Regional Task Force to support efforts already underway to end the LRA threat to central Africa. This signifies a strong commitment from not just regional actors, but shows that on a continental level the LRA is a priority. The AU task force has committed to adding additional troops to the apprehension and civilian protection efforts, coordinating between governments in the region and improving DDR/RR efforts regionally. This announcement is only the first step, but it signifies a growing level of support to LRA-affected communities.
 -Sean

Read more here.

The African Union announced the establishment of a Regional Task Force to support efforts already underway to end the LRA threat to central Africa. This signifies a strong commitment from not just regional actors, but shows that on a continental level the LRA is a priority. The AU task force has committed to adding additional troops to the apprehension and civilian protection efforts, coordinating between governments in the region and improving DDR/RR efforts regionally. This announcement is only the first step, but it signifies a growing level of support to LRA-affected communities.

 -Sean

Read more here.

81
Foreign Policy: Invisible Children Responds: By Adam Finck

"In a rush to point out Invisible Children’s oversimplification of the LRA, the critics made an error - an oversimplification of Invisible Children itself."

Adam Finck is the Director of Programs at Invisible Children. He spent two years living in post-conflict northern Uganda and, more recently, two years working with local partners in DR Congo and the Central African Republic on the expansion of community-led civilian protection and rehabilitation initiatives.
Read the full article here.

Foreign Policy: Invisible Children Responds: By Adam Finck

"In a rush to point out Invisible Children’s oversimplification of the LRA, the critics made an error - an oversimplification of Invisible Children itself."

Adam Finck is the Director of Programs at Invisible Children. He spent two years living in post-conflict northern Uganda and, more recently, two years working with local partners in DR Congo and the Central African Republic on the expansion of community-led civilian protection and rehabilitation initiatives.

Read the full article here.


Viral Video, Vicious Warlord
By Nicholas Kristof
I’d like to thank the makers of the “Kony 2012” video for goading me to write about Joseph Kony. With about 100 million views, it is now one of the most viral videos of all time.

My starting point is a “bravo” for film-makers for galvanizing young Americans to look up from their iPhones and seek to make a difference for villagers in central Africa who continue to be murdered, raped and mutilated by Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army. Just in the last two months, the Lord’s Resistance Army has mounted 20 raids in Congo alone.

But nobody fights more wickedly than humanitarians, so there have been a series of attacks on the video. Let me try to address some of the criticisms.

Let Africans resolve their own problems. It’s neocolonialist for Americans to think that they can solve Congolese problems, when they can’t even solve their own. This is just one more example of “white man’s burden” imperialism.

When a warlord continues to kill and torture across a swath of Congo and Central African Republic, that’s not a white man’s burden. It’s a human burden.

To me, it feels repugnant to suggest that compassion should stop at a national boundary or color line. A common humanity binds us all, whatever the color of our skin — or passport.

The issue is complicated, in ways that don’t come through in a misleading video. For example, the video doesn’t make clear that Kony is no longer a threat in Uganda.

The video doesn’t contain errors, but it does simplify things greatly to hold attention. Complexity is, er, complicated: It has been a leading excuse for inaction during atrocities — during the Armenian genocide, during the Holocaust, during Rwanda, during the Bosnian slaughter. Each episode truly was complicated, but, in retrospect, we let nuance paralyze us.

It’s true that Kony’s forces are diminished and no longer a danger in Uganda, but he remains a threat in Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan. Those are tough neighborhoods — I’ve been held at gunpoint in Central African Republic and chased through the Congo jungle by a warlord whose massacres I interrupted — that rarely get attention and are little understood. Yes, the video glosses over details, but it has left the American public more informed. Last year, Rush Limbaugh defended the Lord’s Resistance Army because it sounded godly.

American kids worrying about Kony accomplish nothing. The video promotes feel-good gestures — wear a bracelet! — that enrich a do-nothing aid organization but have no benefit in the jungles of central Africa.

It’s true that indignation among Americans won’t by itself stop Kony. Yet I’ve learned over the years that public attention can create an environment in which solutions are more likely.

Public outrage over Serbian atrocities in the Balkans eventually led the Clinton administration to protect Kosovo and hammer out the Dayton peace accord. The Sudan civil war killed millions over half-a-century on and off, until public outrage — largely among evangelical Christians — led President George W. Bush to push successfully for a peace agreement in 2005.

I asked Anthony Lake, now the executive director of Unicef who was President Clinton’s national security adviser during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, whether a viral video about Rwanda would have made a difference then. “The answer is yes,” he said. He suggested that this kind of public attention would also have helped save more lives in Darfur and in Congo’s warring east.

In 1999, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright paid a brief visit to war-ravaged Sierra Leone and was photographed with a 3-year-old girl whose right arm had been chopped off. The photograph, widely circulated, helped galvanize outside powers to crush the militias. Sierra Leone is now at peace, and that girl is studying in the United States.

I asked Albright, who later led a task force on preventing genocide, what she thinks of the Kony video.

“Shining a light makes a lot of difference,” she said, adding that Kony’s prospects are probably less good now than before the video came out.

The bottom line is: A young man devotes nine years of his life to fight murder, rape and mutilation, he produces a video that goes viral and galvanizes mostly young Americans to show concern for needy villagers abroad — and he’s vilified?

I don’t know if this initiative will make a difference. But if I were a Congolese villager, I would welcome these uncertain efforts over the sneering scorn of do-nothing armchair cynics.


(From the New York Times)

146 notes   -  15 March 2012

117

This article written by Lisa Shannon was posted in Nicholas D. Kristof’s New York Times column on Friday. Atrocities are still being committed by Joseph Kony and the LRA in DR Congo and CAR. The article offers a glimpse into the real stories of individual people in DR Congo who have lost their lives, their families, or are currently threatened by LRA violence. 


Franscisca’s Uncle Alexander lost several sons and grandchildren in one day. He and his elderly wife were forced to run naked through the forest with the LRA shooting at them. Though he lost everything in a few days, he was clear. “We don’t need plastic buckets and cloth handouts. We had a good life before. Get rid of the LRA.”




For more information about where the LRA is active right now, visit LRACrisisTracker.com, a website by Invisible Children and Resolve. It uses information sourced from Invisible Children’s Early Warning Radio Network, UN agencies, and local NGOs. It shows exactly where these attacks have been taking place and has video interviews with some of the survivors so that they can tell their own stories and communicate in their own words the urgency of stopping Joseph Kony and the LRA.
(Photo by Lisa Shannon)

This article written by Lisa Shannon was posted in Nicholas D. Kristof’s New York Times column on Friday. Atrocities are still being committed by Joseph Kony and the LRA in DR Congo and CAR. The article offers a glimpse into the real stories of individual people in DR Congo who have lost their lives, their families, or are currently threatened by LRA violence. 

Franscisca’s Uncle Alexander lost several sons and grandchildren in one day. He and his elderly wife were forced to run naked through the forest with the LRA shooting at them. Though he lost everything in a few days, he was clear. “We don’t need plastic buckets and cloth handouts. We had a good life before. Get rid of the LRA.”

For more information about where the LRA is active right now, visit LRACrisisTracker.com, a website by Invisible Children and Resolve. It uses information sourced from Invisible Children’s Early Warning Radio Network, UN agencies, and local NGOs. It shows exactly where these attacks have been taking place and has video interviews with some of the survivors so that they can tell their own stories and communicate in their own words the urgency of stopping Joseph Kony and the LRA.

(Photo by Lisa Shannon)


Today marks the official release of the LRA Crisis Tracker 2011 Annual Brief (French version available here). This report analyzes all recorded LRA attacks from 2011, and paints a very concrete picture of how this brutal rebel army has affected communities in Central Africa this past year.

Along with our counterparts in DC, Resolve, we launched the LRA Crisis Tracker in September 2011 in order to give policymakers, humanitarians, and the public real-time access to information on LRA activities and the immediate effects on local communities.

This report reviews the LRA activity in the tri-border region between DR Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic (CAR). Some highlights of interest: In 2011, there were 284 reported LRA attacks (that’s more than 5 per week), during which LRA forces reportedly killed 144 civilians and abducted 595 others (that’s 2.1 abductions per attack). Our statistics show a 32% reduction in attacks, killings, and abductions in 2011 compared to 2010, and an astounding 60% decrease in reported attacks between the first and second halves of 2011. While attack levels have decreased, it’s clear that the LRA remains a dangerous threat to civilians across the region, with 70.6% of reported LRA attacks including either a killing or an abduction of a civilian.

Coinciding with the start of this reduction in LRA violence, numerous accounts report that Joseph Kony summoned his key command leadership to rendezvous with his unit in CAR between the months of July and September. We can’t assume the LRA is weakening or losing its capacity to commit atrocities. Reducing violence could be an intentional move by the LRA to evade international attention, a strategy they’ve employed before.