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“Invisible Children,” a documentary filmed by three American college students, Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey, and Laren Pole, who set out for Africa in search for a story; however, they discovered the immense suffering of Acholi civilian population in northern Uganda.
For more than twenty years, conflict between government forces and rebel group known as the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) has disrupted life for civilians in northern Uganda. Since 1986, the Lord Resistance Army has abducted as many as 20,000 boys and girls. Once abducted, children are forced to commit and endure horrendous atrocities against civilians and other children. They are forced to become child soldiers and sex slaves, and must kill civilians and kidnap other children in order to stay alive. Children are turned into ruthless killers without feelings; they become numb by the atrocities they have seen and in which some are forced to participate. The horror pushed into the children is so intense, that they even fear to escape. The constant fear of abduction has forced many children to flee their homes overnight in order to avoid abduction from the LRA. Children as young as five years old walk miles every day into urban areas seeking refuge. They find safety at churches, hospitals and bus stations.
To further understand the problem Dan Kidega, a member of the Uganda parliament, is interviewed. Dan traces back the origins of this situation to a woman named Alice Lakwena. He explains that during the 1980’s, Alice Lakwena believed that through the power of the Holy Spirit she could overthrow the Ugandan government. She led an army to believe that smearing themselves with holy oil would keep bullets from penetrating them, stones would turn into bombs, and if a soldier was killed, it was believed that they were unclean. After her death, Joseph Koney, who claims to be her cousin, took over the rebel army and refined it to what is now the LRA.
The underlying cause of the northern Uganda rebellion is ethnic conflict. According to Joseph Kony, leader of the LRA claims to be fighting for the rights of Acholi peoples. Acholi peoples are an ethnic group; they share a common interest and identity such as ancestral, language, cultural and religious ties. According to an article in BBC news, Uganda, ethic differences have run mainly along geographical divisions between north and south (BBC 2007). Acholi tribe coexist within the northern boundaries of Uganda, however, Acholi is a minority group among the entire population. The southern region of Uganda consists of Bantu speaking ethnic groups; it is also the region where power and wealth is kept (BBC 2007). Consequently, Acholi are exposed to unequal economic resource and are subjected to political discrimination.
Barbara Harff and Ted Robert Gurr authors of “Ethnic Conflict In World Politics”, describe ethnic conflict, in which its goal it to reach political power is called “communal contenders” (28). Nearly all ethnic groups seek to have their own state and territorial boundaries. However, others like the Acholi want to appeal to their political power in order to preserve their identity. As portrayed in the documentary, Acholi are angry at their government. Disadvantaged communal contenders, in this case Acholi peoples live in relative poverty compared to that of the dominant groups in the south. As depicted in the documentary, Acholis’ face unequal economic and political power. The Ugandan government has overwhelmed Acholi economy by forcing them into displacement camps which has led them into deplorable conditions. As many as 800,000 people out of one million that live in the northern region of Uganda were put in displaced camps by the government. This depravation has caused Acholi peoples to find their own means to preserve life, Uganda’s night commuters, are the example.
Communal conflicts can result in a mobilized armed conflict, which can be led by unscrupulous leaders, like Joseph Kony (28). The LRA targeting civilians, the majority being their own tribe, the Acholi, and the government’s deficiency to defend the Acholi population has become a threat, not only, to Acholi’s identity as an ethnic group, but to its existence.
Analyzing Joseph Kony, from an individual level of analysis, can help explain and understand the circumstances of Uganda’s “Invisible Children”. As mentioned earlier, religion or ideology is the heart for many ethnic groups; in essence, it is also the foundation of nearly all ethnic conflict. Religion involves core values which are held as absolute truths. If the individual is at focus, Karen A. Mingst author of “Essentials of International Relations” explains that “personality, perceptions, choices, and activities of individual decision makers …and individual participants…provide the explanation,” in this case, Acholis torture (57).
Through the emergence of the LRA, Joseph Kony believed in overthrowing the government and establishing a new rule according to the Biblical Ten Commandments (BBC 2007). Religion and ideology helped strengthen his movement because the Acholi community could identify with his spiritual ideologies, and bring justice to the Acholi community. Joseph Kony, an illiterate man, who believed to rule under Biblical principles and to have a direct connection to a spiritual world, committed horrific atrocities towards men, women, and children of his own tribe. Thus his irrational ideologies were further reflected through his war of madness. Achoili peoples exhausted of war, no longer in supported for the LRA. Because of no further support form the Acholi, Joseph Kony justified his irrational decisions of abducting children, desensitizing them through the indoctrination of brutal violence under the foundation of religion is not at all rational.
Uganda, still, is in a desperate state of emergency. On the state level, the government of Uganda has failed to fulfill its responsibility to protect civilians from the massive human rights violation committed against them. Despite Uganda being a democratic state, President Museveni has not enforced the law and or punished the LRA for terrorizing civilians. Hence, the lack of government intervention has essentially given the unscrupulous LRA militia the freedom to commit atrocities against civilians in the name of independence. To illustrate the vast outcome civilians must endure because of the LRA, Bishop Odama declares that “within a three month period, 640 civilians were killed and 2000 civilians had been abducted” (2003). These numbers not only show a badly affected Uganda, but also uncover the immense failure of the Ugandan government.
English/revise long paper -
"Invisible Children" is a documentary filmed by three American college students, Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey, and Laren Pole, who set out for Africa in search for a story; however, they discovered the immense suffering of Acholi civilian population in northern Uganda.
Without the verb "is" in that first line, you have a fragment before the semicolon. Whenever you use a semicolon in a compound sentence, you need to have TWO INDEPENDENT CLAUSES, one before the semicolon, one after the semicolon.