The Oprah Winfrey Show writes:
“Many children grow up being afraid of the dark. In Uganda, fear of the dark isn’t about fictitious monsters under the bed or in the closet–it’s the fear of losing their lives. That’s because nighttime in northern Uganda is when the rebel soldiers of the Lord’s Resistance Army, labeled a terrorist group by the United States, storm small villages and rip children from their homes, forcing them to join the rebel army. Those who resist are brutally beaten into submission, tortured or killed in front of their families. Some are also forced to beat their own parents and commit unspeakable acts of violence. Many of the soldiers are just children themselves. To avoid these nighttime horrors, thousands of Ugandan children leave their parents and their homes every evening and trek in the darkness in packs to larger nearby towns where they sleep for the night. They sleep, stacked body-to-body, at bus parks and in empty hospital basements–yet, space is limited and sometimes they must scramble to find a spot. In the morning, the children walk back to their homes and to school, only to repeat the ritual walk each time the sun goes down. This is what Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey and Laren Poole saw when they traveled to Uganda in 2003. The “nightwalkers,” as they called them, were young, innocent and desperate for help. Child after child told their heartbreaking stories. The three young men–just college students at the time–recorded everything they saw and turned it into a haunting documentary called Invisible Children.”
The history of the war is heart-breaking and gruesome. According to www.invisiblechildren.com :
“In the last two years, an estimated 900,000 of the 1.8 million displaced have returned to their homes. But that leaves one million people currently living in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps. While the majority desires to return home, the issues surrounding their return are complex. Some have been displaced for more than a decade, and their former way of life is all but gone. Access to clean water, economic opportunities, health centers, and education are a pressing concern for all…
Since September 2008, hostility in the Orientale province in DR Congo and Western Equatoria in South Sudan has reached a feverish pitch. LRA attacks have become more frequent and hostile, provoking military action against the rebel group. In an unprecedented joint military operation, the governments of Uganda, DR Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic launched an attack on LRA strongholds within DR Congo. “Operation Lightning Thunder”, the name designated for the counteroffensive, was largely unsuccessful in light of both the failure to reach top LRA leadership and the onslaught of violence that followed.
One month later on December 24th, 2008, the LRA launched a retaliatory attack against the people of DR Congo. In apparent desperation and a renewed will to spread terror to DR Congo, the LRA murdered over six hundred and abducted more than one hundred and sixty children to fight amongst its ranks. More than 104,000 Congolese have been displaced since Christmas in attempts to escape the LRA forces.
As the motives of the LRA become more ambiguous and their crimes more horrific, Invisible Children remains committed to seeking sustainable solutions to foster an environment that encourages peace. We are supporting and equipping a generation ravaged by war so that they can finally know peace. Invisible Children addresses the need for access to education and economic development through innovative programs on the ground. To learn more about these programs and how you can contribute to lasting peace and development click here.”
For more information, please visit www2.invisiblechildren.com/about