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“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.
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.
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