29
“Last year, I taught fifth grade at an inner-city school near the heart of downtown. One week, I decided to do a unit on current central-eastern Africa. On the first day, I showed the IC film Emmy [from 2006]. I was blown away by how engaged my students were, and how effortless it was for me to keep their attention. Even my most challenging student showed signs of softening as they watched Emmy pretend to need a drink of water only to wipe a couple of tears from his eyes. My students actually seemed to care about these kids and what was happening to them in Uganda. On the last day of the unit, after watching and discussing another IC film, Sunday [from 2007], I asked my students to respond to the following writing prompt: “If you could write a letter to Joseph Kony, what would you say?” Immediately, every single one of my students began to write. I was amazed by the diligence and effort I was seeing from some of my students for the first time. Their thoughtfulness and depth superseded my expectations. I can honestly say that I saw a whole new side of some of my kids open up. Some were able to relate to Uganda’s developing world conditions, others showed great sympathy unlike before, while some displayed a freshly-birthed activist side saying, “Ms. B! We need to do something!” It was humbling and moving for me to witness my students connect and be moved by something in a way unlike anything I had seen from them before.” -Whitney Brammer

“Did you ever think about your own country? Did you ever cry? Did you ever think about what you are doing? Is this the way you find life?”“Hopefully you will read this letter and you will question yourself because you are making too much damage in people’s hearts…they are kids, not men like you, they can’t fight you.”“Joseph you have better things to do than be a criminal.”“Stop robbing children because that’s bad. If they took away your kid, wouldn’t you be desperate?”“…you don’t need to steal children and brainwash them to kill other people. That’s not going to give you what you want…God is watching you.”“Why do you do this? It’s wrong, you shouldn’t. And can you please stop.”

“Last year, I taught fifth grade at an inner-city school near the heart of downtown. One week, I decided to do a unit on current central-eastern Africa. On the first day, I showed the IC film Emmy [from 2006]. I was blown away by how engaged my students were, and how effortless it was for me to keep their attention. Even my most challenging student showed signs of softening as they watched Emmy pretend to need a drink of water only to wipe a couple of tears from his eyes. My students actually seemed to care about these kids and what was happening to them in Uganda. On the last day of the unit, after watching and discussing another IC film, Sunday [from 2007], I asked my students to respond to the following writing prompt: “If you could write a letter to Joseph Kony, what would you say?” Immediately, every single one of my students began to write. I was amazed by the diligence and effort I was seeing from some of my students for the first time. Their thoughtfulness and depth superseded my expectations. I can honestly say that I saw a whole new side of some of my kids open up. Some were able to relate to Uganda’s developing world conditions, others showed great sympathy unlike before, while some displayed a freshly-birthed activist side saying, “Ms. B! We need to do something!” It was humbling and moving for me to witness my students connect and be moved by something in a way unlike anything I had seen from them before.” -Whitney Brammer


“Did you ever think about your own country? Did you ever cry? Did you ever think about what you are doing? Is this the way you find life?”

“Hopefully you will read this letter and you will question yourself because you are making too much damage in people’s hearts…they are kids, not men like you, they can’t fight you.”

“Joseph you have better things to do than be a criminal.”

“Stop robbing children because that’s bad. If they took away your kid, wouldn’t you be desperate?”

“…you don’t need to steal children and brainwash them to kill other people. That’s not going to give you what you want…God is watching you.”

“Why do you do this? It’s wrong, you shouldn’t. And can you please stop.”



8
Reuters: Africa published this article about the ensuing manhunt for Joseph Kony. Abou Moussa, head of the U.N. Regional Office for Central Africa, is interviewed about Kony’s believed tactics, whereabouts, and the current strategy to find him. 
Read it here.

Reuters: Africa published this article about the ensuing manhunt for Joseph Kony. Abou Moussa, head of the U.N. Regional Office for Central Africa, is interviewed about Kony’s believed tactics, whereabouts, and the current strategy to find him.

Read it here.



Yesterday President Obama announced the extended deployment of U.S. Advisers in the LRA-affected areas:

“Today I can announce that our advisers will continue their efforts to bring this madman to justice and to save lives. It’s part of our regional strategy to end the scourge that is the LRA and help realize a future where no African child is stolen from their family and no girl is raped and no boy is turned into a child soldier.”

Read the full post here.

58 notes   -  24 April 2012

45
Via Resolve - Front page of Washington Post: “Kony’s depleted militia is still an object of terror: Child-recruiting Lord’s Resistance Army is ever-present threat for traumatized villagers in central Africa.”

Via Resolve - Front page of Washington Post: “Kony’s depleted militia is still an object of terror: Child-recruiting Lord’s Resistance Army is ever-present threat for traumatized villagers in central Africa.”



In 2010, Invisible Children, with the assistance of local partners and Congolese leadership, identified gaps in civilian protection that exists in the LRA-affected regions in Central Africa. This resulted in the Protection Plan.

More Invisible Children Programs.

26 notes   -  2 April 2012

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.

38
 
Washington Post published an article today with updates on the U.S. troops stationed in Central Africa. Initially deployed in October, the 100 U.S. advisory troops are now stationed across 4 countries and are directly involved in operations on the ground.

US troops stationed in 4 Central African countries in fight against LRA rebel fighters
By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 9:10 AM
NAIROBI, Kenya — U.S. troops helping in the fight against a brutal rebel group called the Lord’s Resistance Army are now deployed in four Central African countries, the top U.S. special operations commander for Africa said Wednesday.
The U.S. announced in October it was sending about 100 U.S. troops — mostly special operations forces — to Central Africa to advise in the fight against the LRA and its leader Joseph Kony, a bush fighter wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
Rear Adm. Brian L. Losey, the top U.S. special operations commander for Africa, said the U.S. troops are now stationed in bases in Uganda, Congo, South Sudan and Central African Republic.
“We’ve already seen a decrease in the lethality of LRA activities, which we think is attributable in part to the pressure we and our partners are applying,” Losey said in a telephone briefing to journalists.
Losey said counter-LRA actions will increase in frequency and effectiveness in coming months.
The LRA began its attacks in Uganda in the 1980s, when Kony sought to overthrow the government. Since being pushed out of Uganda several years ago, the militia has terrorized villages in Central Africa.
A top State Department official, Karl Wycoff, said that Kony has shown the ability to mobilize combatants and militant leaders to carry out “horrible atrocities” for the LRA, which he called “some kind of cult,” given that the group has no clear agenda. He said the U.S. effort was not just aimed at Kony but at all the LRA leaders.
However, Col. Felix Kulayigye, the spokesman for Uganda’s military, said the hunt for Kony was an important aspect of the anti-LRA effort.
“Kony is the LRA and the LRA is Kony,” he said. “Other than Kony the only other person who had the capacity to sustain the LRA was (Vincent) Otti, who is gone. You get Kony and you have the LRA done.”
Otti, Kony’s former deputy, has been presumed dead since the failure of peace talks mediated by South Sudan ended in 2008. Ugandan army officials say Kony ordered his death, fearing he was about to defect.
The LRA’s tactics have been widely condemned as vicious. The U.S. troops are helping to fight a group that has slaughtered thousands of civilians and routinely kidnaps children to be child soldiers and sex slaves.
The anti-LRA group Resolve in a report released Wednesday urged the U.S. to encourage Uganda to dedicate more troops and helicopters to their counter-LRA operations. The group also urged the U.S. to fund more transport helicopters and improved communications equipment for Ugandan troops, and to increase intelligence gathering by expanding the use of aerial surveillance.
Losey said there are no drone aircraft currently being used by U.S. troops involved in the counter-LRA fight. U.S. forces are working on improving communications in the region and how to integrate intelligence.
Many of the U.S. forces are stationed in Uganda. Others are based in Obo, Central African Republic; Dungu, Congo; and in Nzara, South Sudan, Losey said. Each of those locations had established bases where troops from partner countries have been based.
The LRA operates in an area the size of California, Losey said.

(Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock, U.S. Air Force)

Washington Post published an article today with updates on the U.S. troops stationed in Central Africa. Initially deployed in October, the 100 U.S. advisory troops are now stationed across 4 countries and are directly involved in operations on the ground.

US troops stationed in 4 Central African countries in fight against LRA rebel fighters

By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 9:10 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya — U.S. troops helping in the fight against a brutal rebel group called the Lord’s Resistance Army are now deployed in four Central African countries, the top U.S. special operations commander for Africa said Wednesday.

The U.S. announced in October it was sending about 100 U.S. troops — mostly special operations forces — to Central Africa to advise in the fight against the LRA and its leader Joseph Kony, a bush fighter wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

Rear Adm. Brian L. Losey, the top U.S. special operations commander for Africa, said the U.S. troops are now stationed in bases in Uganda, Congo, South Sudan and Central African Republic.

“We’ve already seen a decrease in the lethality of LRA activities, which we think is attributable in part to the pressure we and our partners are applying,” Losey said in a telephone briefing to journalists.

Losey said counter-LRA actions will increase in frequency and effectiveness in coming months.

The LRA began its attacks in Uganda in the 1980s, when Kony sought to overthrow the government. Since being pushed out of Uganda several years ago, the militia has terrorized villages in Central Africa.

A top State Department official, Karl Wycoff, said that Kony has shown the ability to mobilize combatants and militant leaders to carry out “horrible atrocities” for the LRA, which he called “some kind of cult,” given that the group has no clear agenda. He said the U.S. effort was not just aimed at Kony but at all the LRA leaders.

However, Col. Felix Kulayigye, the spokesman for Uganda’s military, said the hunt for Kony was an important aspect of the anti-LRA effort.

“Kony is the LRA and the LRA is Kony,” he said. “Other than Kony the only other person who had the capacity to sustain the LRA was (Vincent) Otti, who is gone. You get Kony and you have the LRA done.”

Otti, Kony’s former deputy, has been presumed dead since the failure of peace talks mediated by South Sudan ended in 2008. Ugandan army officials say Kony ordered his death, fearing he was about to defect.

The LRA’s tactics have been widely condemned as vicious. The U.S. troops are helping to fight a group that has slaughtered thousands of civilians and routinely kidnaps children to be child soldiers and sex slaves.

The anti-LRA group Resolve in a report released Wednesday urged the U.S. to encourage Uganda to dedicate more troops and helicopters to their counter-LRA operations. The group also urged the U.S. to fund more transport helicopters and improved communications equipment for Ugandan troops, and to increase intelligence gathering by expanding the use of aerial surveillance.

Losey said there are no drone aircraft currently being used by U.S. troops involved in the counter-LRA fight. U.S. forces are working on improving communications in the region and how to integrate intelligence.

Many of the U.S. forces are stationed in Uganda. Others are based in Obo, Central African Republic; Dungu, Congo; and in Nzara, South Sudan, Losey said. Each of those locations had established bases where troops from partner countries have been based.

The LRA operates in an area the size of California, Losey said.

(Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock, U.S. Air Force)


9
CEO Ben Keesey in Central Africa
Taken by Adam Finck

CEO Ben Keesey in Central Africa

Taken by Adam Finck


Mia Farrow and John Prendergast’s Op-Ed for The Wall Street Journal

Actor/Activist Mia Farrow and Enough co-founder John Prendergast have written an op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal about President Obama’s decision to send advisory troops to Central Africa and the human interest in the story.  While the entire piece cannot be viewed on the Wall Street journal site, we are featuring the op-ed in full below. – AN-H

Why Obama Sent Troops to Africa

by Mia Farrow and John Prendergast

via The Wall Street Journal

This month President Obama announced that he is sending 100 U.S. military advisers to central Africa to assist regional forces in ending the reign of terror orchestrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Mr. Obama noted that the LRA “continues to commit atrocities across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan that have a disproportionate impact on regional security.” He concluded, “I believe that deploying these U.S. armed forces furthers U.S. national security interests and foreign policy.”

There is also a human interest.

In improvised camps near Yambio in South Sudan, parents keep children close. “When we go to sleep, we don’t know if we will be alive in the morning,” a young mother revealed to one of us (Ms. Farrow) this year. Everyone there has a story of murder, torture, mutilation or abduction.

Read More

16 notes   -  24 October 2011