Saturday, May 26, 2012

"...And still we open the door for him to surrender." - Ambassador Francisco Madeira

On April 13, 2012, The Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Jacob Oulanyah, announced that their government would be extending the Amnesty Act, in order to protect any member of the LRA who wanted to surrender.  One month later, Caesar Achellam came out of the bush.  The words of Ambassador Francisco Madeira (as quoted at the top of this article) seemd to make it clear that this Amnesty Act included everyone in the LRA, including Joseph Kony himself.  However, that is now being disputed.  Read up on that HERE, then come back to me.

Amnesty Acts are nothing new in Africa.  The most widely successful example of it is that which happened in South Africa.  As an American, I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around that idea, but I'm a lot closer to it now than I used to be.  I used to write the idea off as preposterous, something that was only working for now by some miracle of G-d, while people were biding their time to return to how they had been.  But I have changed my mind.  Christ would extend these people grace.  As a person who claims to follow His lead, I cannot do anything but the same without tarnishing my witness and His reputation.

Why?  Because it's not black and white.

"[Cesar Achellam] is wanted by the International Criminal Court for rape, mutilation and murder of civilians, as well as forcibly recruiting children to serve as soldiers and sex slaves" (BBC).  It's hard to ignore those crimes.  They're horrific.  They make me want to vomit.  They rip out my heart.

Ceasar Achellam also spent at least 20 years under Joseph Kony.  20 years.  One look at his face spells it out for you: He was captured as a child.  He grew up in a culture of rape, mutilation, murder, and slavery.  He is no more responsible for thinking those actions are a way of life than I am for thinking that waffles are a breakfast food.

Don't get me wrong.  I do think that there was a part of him that knew those actions were inexcusable, just like there's a part of me that knows that waffles are not universally a breakfast food, but I am saying that it's not something that he could have avoided (and kept his life). 

Maybe waffles isn't an appropriate example.  Let's say lying - lying is pretty acceptable in American culture, especially white lies.  Or what about gluttony?  That's entirely acceptable in American culture, but it's on the list of the Seven Deadly Sins.  Interestingly enough, murder is not.  Wrath, however, is, and it is out of wrath that we want "justice" for this man.
Wrath (Latin, ira), also known as "rage", may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. Wrath, in its purest form, presents with self-destructiveness, violence, and hate that may provoke feuds that can go on for centuries. Wrath may persist long after the person who did another a grievous wrong is dead. Feelings of anger can manifest in different ways, including impatiencerevenge, andvigilantism.
But let's talk about what it was that Mr. Achellam said.  Mr. Achellam went on record before the world, saying, "My coming out will have a big impact for the people still in the bush to come out and end this war soon."  If you ask me, these are not the words of a man who was acting of his own volition.  These are the words of a child, who finally found a way to return home.  Maybe I am being fooled by a man looking to save himself.  Maybe.  But I cannot in good conscious condone "justice" for this man.

While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. How could I possibly say that this man deserves anything less?

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