Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lent: Joseph Kony

***Don't forget to sign the petition (and this one too!) to save refugees from North Korea!***

Blessing #14: Shared Dreams
Warning:  This post is not rated G or PG, as it discusses incredibly graphic violence.  The video at the end has a much more user-friendly rating.

Joseph Kony.

Joseph Kony.

I keep writing his name, hoping it will get easier, but it doesn't.

I try to not hate anyone, but I can't guarantee that I don't hate this man.  I've spent so much time debating with Nate Kerr what I should do if I ever met this man face-to-face.  I firmly believe that you cannot bring peace through violence, but it is Joseph Kony who is the question to my logic.  Joseph Kony tests every single thing that I claim as a conviction of morality.  I try to censor myself when I talk about him, as I don't like upsetting people, but I will not be doing that today.  The information I will share with you today is the result of years of research on my own part.

In the 1980's, a rebel force rose up against the Ugandan government.  After near defeat, a voice rose up among the rebels: that of Alice Lakwena, the cousin to the then unknown Joseph Kony.  In many ways, she was equated to Joan of Arc for her people.  But in 2007, after fleeing from more technologically advanced forces, she died while hiding in a refugee camp.

Enter Joseph Kony.

Joseph Kony pulled back together his cousin's troops, and promised to instate a government based on the 10 Commandments, but his own people were scared, and turned on him.  He was furious, and began kidnapping their children to brainwash and enlist in his military actions.  He believed (rightly) that it was a lot easier to teach values, rather than reteach values.

His methods are brutal, but effective.

When a child is captured, his or her first act as a member of The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is to perform a public murder of a prominent member of their community, usually their own parents.  Should their mother be pregnant, it is not unheard of for the child to be forced to slice open his or her mother's belly (while she is alive) and have to eat the unborn child him/herself.  This paves the way for a series of psychological traumas that break down the structures of a healthy human mind.  This way, the LRA can mold this mind to accept unnatural actions as normal.  Secondarily, the child is warned that, even if they could escape, they would have nothing to go back to; their community would not want them after they performed a crime so heinous.  This is, sadly, not untrue.

The child is treated well, briefly, but will soon be beaten within an inch or his or her life (assuming he or she is not deemed dispensable).  If they survive, they are expected to keep quiet and follow the orders of their higher ups, or else they will be beaten again, or, worse, forced to beat and/or kill someone they care about within the LRA.

Girls are treated the same as the boys, until they hit puberty, when they are assigned a husband.  Men are assigned wives, based on their rank.  The highest ranked men get the most beautiful and useful wives.  They also are allowed the most wives.  Wives are also valued by their ranking within the LRA.  They are expected to feed their husbands' sexual appetites on demand, doing anything and everything that he wants.  Wives are expected to have sons and lots of them.  The punishment of wives who fail to meet these expectations is left to the discretion of their husbands.

Children who escape require years of rehabilitation, and, even then, they are rarely welcomed by their communities.  Many of them are so indoctrinated by Joseph Kony (especially those who are born into the LRA) that there is no way to restore them to a healthy mindset.  Joseph Kony has permanently addled them.

But there is a solution.

This is a moment I have craved and yearned after for years.  The time is now.  Watch this video and take action.  It's thirty minutes, but you don't even notice them ticking by.  This may be the most important thing you watch this year.  The end of this horrific plague is drawing near.


Make a difference HERE.

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