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Christmas at the Forgotten Front

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Posted on Dec 18, 2010
AP

Members of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army are seen in this photo from 2006.

By Barry Lando

Almost 10 years ago, with the invasion of Afghanistan, President Bush announced the global war on terror. Since then hundreds of thousands of soldiers and mercenaries have been dispatched to far corners of the globe, and hundreds of billions, probably trillions, of dollars have been poured into the effort.

But over that same period, the lot has only worsened for some of the most terrorized people on the planet, millions of people across a huge swath of Central Africa, living in constant fear of a horde of bloody Ugandan marauders known as the Lord’s Resistance Army.

At Christmas time, the threat is only worse.

One survivor of the LRA’s bloodlust is Josephine [not her real name], an 18-year-old girl who was having lunch with her family when a group of men stormed into her village.

“They tied us up and then shot and then killed my grandfather right in front of me,” she says. Two of her brothers were led off. She never saw them again. She was forced to pack heavy loads for her captives, repeatedly raped, then assigned as a “wife” to one of her captors, a young boy.  “They sometimes would take one boy,” said Josephine, “tie him up, then force another boy to kill him by hitting him on the back of the head with a heavy stick or a machete.”

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Another young man who was kidnapped was tied to other boys from his village, then forced to carry the loot the marauders had stolen as they continued their attacks.

“We walked three kilometers to the next village, where the LRA men did the same thing, kidnapping more than 100 people. This time though, they counted out 20 people, tied them up, and killed them by hitting them on the back of the head,” the youth said.

“Every few kilometers we would stop and they would count out another 20 people and walk them into the bush. After a while, I was among the group that the LRA separated from the rest. They tied our arms together behind our backs and forced us to kneel down. They took hammers, machetes and heavy sticks and began killing people one by one. One of the LRA men took a big stick and hit me hard on the back of my head. I blacked out.

“When I woke up, I was still tied up and had several dead bodies piled on top of me. I spent four days drifting in and out of consciousness, tied up and bleeding in that stack of bodies. When people arrived to bury us, they discovered that I was still alive. They untied me and carried me to the nearest hospital, where I took six months to recover.”

Over the past few years across a huge expanse of Central Africa, such tales have become commonplace: thousands of civilians hacked, stabbed and bludgeoned to death; thousands of girls raped; boys kidnapped and murdered or forced to commit heinous atrocities themselves, turned into criminal outcasts, so they will never be able to return to their tribes. Instead, they have come to fill the ranks of the LRA. 

What’s remarkable is that, despite the widespread savagery and terror across the region, the LRA probably has only a few hundred ragged men and boys under arms.

Their leader is a demented despot by the name of Joseph Kony, a character right out of Conrad—a faith-healer, self-styled revolutionary and Christian fundamentalist, who launched the LRA more than 20 years ago in northern Uganda with support from the Sudan. Over the years, the group has morphed into an increasingly bloody band of killers, intent on rape, plunder and murder.


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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, December 20, 2010 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

Yes. This is tragic. But it is not new to the indigenous in this area of Africa.
What is new is the promise by the Obama administration to lessen the tragic events and improve the lives of the indigenous.

What is not new is the failure of the Obama administration to fulfill promises made to the needy and to voters.

Nor is the continuation of Nazification of the Western world new.  Which denigrades any promises made to the indigenous of Africa, who are not constituency of the “western world.”

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By ray, December 20, 2010 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“A former campaigner & fund-raiser to Obamas Presidential Run”.
In looking back on Obamas refusal from Playgirl to become a centerfold,long before heading to Washington, I don’t think he has ever gotten over his rejection from Playgirl & hence that is why he feels he must assert his manhood through wasted young American lives in a war w/o measure or end & no legitimate reason why we are there instead of addressing Americas woes?
We all should know by now that Obama is bought & paid for by the powers that be & a second term is irrelevant. He is a pretty butterfly but he sows seeds of decent into the abyss, not the peoples will!
Obamas actions may result in why we will be the #1 target when the nukes start being used- we as Americans immersed in our daily lives & w/o time to descent & express our beliefs- Have earned #1 target status through refusing to curtail our elected leaders insanity.

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By sophrosyne, December 20, 2010 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Israeli lobbies could not care less about Central Africa.  Their minions in Congress and their servant Obama will do what they are told and ignore any group that does not threaten the selfish interests of predatory israel.

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By flickervertigo, December 20, 2010 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

war is all women’s fault.

back in the old days, a woman had to walk ten or twenty miles a day, with one kid on her back and dragging another by his heels, gathering food.

meanwhile, the men were mostly traipsing off on drunken hunting parties, and they seldom returned with anything edible.

one evening around the fire, after a rain, one of the women noticed a seed sprouting, and she thought about that for a while.

she finally decided to plant some of those seeds, and water them.

and that was the birth of agriculture.

later, after the watermelon patch was established and flourishing, a bunch of renegade teenagers from a neighboring troop happened by, noticed the setup, thought it was pretty cushy, and decided to take over, and told the residents to hit the road.

the men started packing up, which meant they got up off their asses, grabbed their throwing stick in one hand and their woman in the other, and started to leave.

the women said, “ummm, no. we’re gonna stay here with the melon patch, and you chase these guys away or leave and do without us.”

and that was the start of the first war.

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By Kath Cantarella, December 20, 2010 at 10:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of people who claim to be against war and at the same time spend so much effort denigrating or ignoring feminism and women’s rights activism.

Read ‘War and Gender’ by Joshua Goldstein on the true social impact of the artificial traditional gender stereotypes, created to facilitate war in early human history. He doesn’t form an opinion on the question, but he doesn’t have to: he demonstrates the answer through historical evidence. Read books by sociologists on what happens to a society that works to improve attitudes to women as people: as equals rather than wombs.

Read the latest fertility rate statistic? Economists have always mistaken women for plots of land to be farmed. So have churches. For e.g, count the occurrence of the word ‘begat’ in the Bible. That is one seriously creepy book.

The US and Australia are almost as bad as those Islamic countries we are so fond of calling misogynistic. Our misogyny is the sly kind, the kind that finds other rationalizations for our bigotry, the kind that normalizes bigotry until it is well-camouflaged. Here is an obvious one:

The abortion argument: why is it about restricting women’s choices, when it should be about reducing unwanted pregnancies? (Answer = bigotry)
                why do so many anti-choicers make an exception for rape and incest when those events make no difference to the ‘sanctity of life’ of the fetus? Because that LOOSE WITCH who slept around by choice MUST BE PUNISHED for transgressing their morals with an unwanted pregnancy. Thereafter she can be bashed forever as one of those single mothers destroying society with their ‘selfishness’ and ‘incompetent parenting’. Instead of blaming women who choose daycare for the state of the world, why don’t you point the finger where it belongs. At your own buried misogyny.

Every anti-choicer is a bigot. Every anti-war protester who is not also a women’s rights activist is either seriously misinformed, or a preening hypocrite.

Too much truth for ya? Let the patronization or the insults fly, I don’t care. But feminism won’t always be your goat carrying your sins away into the hills, no matter how you deny these things to yourselves.

Let’s hear the inevitable litany of examples of spoilt witches who have ruined your lives ‘cos that never gets old: ‘Mummy made me do it’, ‘My sister tied me up with her panty-hose when we were kids’, ‘My girlfriend verbally abused me and slept around behind my back’, ‘Hillary Clinton’, ‘Madeline Albright’, ‘Condi Rice’... etc etc etc.

Well, just as long as you feel better about yourselves. That’s the important thing.

I hate anti-choicers with a passion, because what they advocate does nothing to reduce abortion. It only does what it is meant to do: provide another sanctimonious avenue to vent a person’s disgusting but socially acceptable bigotry. It’s bigotry against women, so that’s not real bigotry then is it?

Just think about population pressures and what that does to an otherwise peaceful society. Think about nations that worship ‘the [inherently male] warrior’, such as the USA and Australia, and pre WWII Germany. We buy our little girls dolls and ironing boards and toy kitchens, creepily grooming them to be mothers. It is all part of the war mentality. Men fight, women produce more fighters.

If you want to stop war, you have to pull it out by the roots. And no one is currently trying to do that in any sociologically significant way.

To be consistent:

To BBQ, if you read this: I take issue with insulting a person’s intelligence but I have no problem insulting a person’s character if I see good cause. I see so much cause, I’m insulting people every day. So you see, I have nothing against a good insult.

And yes, I cut anti-choicers out of my social acquaintance wherever they reveal themselves. I do the same thing to racists: i don’t have a beer with them and debate the issue of racism.

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By flickervertigo, December 19, 2010 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

it’s just that, if you have these uncontrollable impulses to save the world, you’d be better off fighting against the worst offenders, especially if you happen to be an american… seeing as how israeli america intends to establish benevolent global hegemony by killing masses of people.

if you’re an israeli or israeli american, i can understand these ploys to distract attention, because israel was such a bad idea in the first place, they’re threatened by the impending collapse of their america protection, and down the road someplace, they’re gonna have to deal with sea level rise… at least, judging from their actions, that’s what israelis think.

so this is the last chance for israel to secure itself by grabbing high ground before its american protection runs out of gas.

okay, so i understand your problems, but that doesnt mean i have to approve of the tactics you use to solve those problems.

and meanwhile, jews with a conscience are scratching their heads and wondering, “how the hell did we get ourselves into this pickle?”

what it boils down to, is: your chickenshittedness is damaging jewishness.

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By flickervertigo, December 19, 2010 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

well, like i said before… it’s a good thing these astroturf campaigns pop up to distract kids from the worst offender, which is the israeli american empire.

meanwhile, have you figured out the mechanics of these operations in africa? ...it’s hagee’s business, what he does with the money he collects from his church, isnt it?

if he decides, in cooperation with his israeli mentors, to buy guns so africans can murder each other, he’s entitled to do that, especially if africans murdering africans can be astroturfed into a campaign that will divert attention from the sins of the israeli american empire.

too bad you tried this already in darfur, too bad the darfur rebels established that office in israel, too bad israel was selling arms to the rebels, too bad jews took such pride in leading the campaign for “humanitarian intervention” in darfur to stop the violence they instigated.

i gotta say, this looks like more of the same baloney.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 19, 2010 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

it’s not that i dont care about africans being slaughtered…

it’s just that it’s not my responsibility to stop africans from killing africans
*************************

As to be expected, the second sentence negates the validity of the first.

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By flickervertigo, December 19, 2010 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

then there’s always the question of how much money from the collection plates of deathwish christian churches winds up buying guns for murderous africans.

and it’s no secret, is it, that the deathwish christians are supportive of israel… at least until the deathwish christian end times arrive, at which point the deathwish christians will no doubt feel obligated to give god a little hand in wiping out jews.

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By flickervertigo, December 19, 2010 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

now then, about the jews and israel…

are you gonna tell me that radical neocon jews, supposedly allied with the likud party of israel, have not been spearheading this PNAC project… PNAC having had the misfortune to admit they needed a new pearl harbor a year before their new pearl harbor happened?

are you going to tell me that bibi netanyahu did NOT think 9/11 was a good deal?

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By flickervertigo, December 19, 2010 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

it’s not that i dont care about africans being slaughtered…

it’s just that it’s not my responsibility to stop africans from killing africans (unless some factions of murderous africans are sponsored by my government, which, given the history of my country’s covert sponsorship of terrorist groups, is always a possibility)

my government is supposedly my responsibility, and i’m more concerned with people being murdered in my name, with my money.

meanwhile, it’s good to have these astroturf protest movements that will siphon off all that youthful energy into directions that dont interfere with the imperial project, which is killing hundreds of thousands.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 19, 2010 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

OK, so Flitter STILL avoids the main point: 10 times as many Africans have been slaughtered—and he STILL doesn’t give a shit about them!

And WTF do Jews and Israel have to do with Afghanistan?  Facts, please, not tin-foil hat hate-filled conspiracy fantasies based on your fundamental hatred of Jews.

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RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, December 19, 2010 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

Why are we dedicated to ‘helping’ Afghans who are not particularly interested in being occupied and/or governed by the US, even politically?
The ‘global war on terror’ double-talk explains and justifies anything and therefore nothing.
The first casualty of war is always Reason. Dropping bullshit is always a necessary precursor to dropping bombs.

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By flickervertigo, December 19, 2010 at 9:36 am Link to this comment

you might also consider the morality of israel’s samson option strategy, in which israelis would kill millions of people out of spite as the israelis themselves go under…

or, how about the neocons’ efforts to suck america into a global samson option, via their “nuclear primacy” strategy.

america should build enough nukes and defenses that we can kill billions of people if they dont knuckle under to our “benevolent global hegemony”, the “benevolence” of which has been demonstrated by our willingness to cause the deaths of those hundreds of thousands mentioned above.

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By flickervertigo, December 19, 2010 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

to Inherit The Wind, December 19 at 2:05 pm

you say i said “hundreds of thousands of palestinians have been murdered by zionists, when i clearly said, “too damn bad those students are so unconcerned about the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by the israeli american empire in afghanistan, iraq and lord knows where else.”

now, that’s what i mean when i say, “you’re too chickenshit to survive.”

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By flickervertigo, December 18, 2010 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

astroturf “concern”, just like darfur.

but we must free donald duck from the clutches of snidely whiplash, mustnt we?

nevermind freeing ourselves from the neocons and american deathwish christians and the tikkun olam jews, who are convinced they can achieve “benevolent global hegemony” by murdering anybody that resists.

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By flickervertigo, December 18, 2010 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

“Fortunately, over the past few years, the depredations of the IRA and the plight of young people in Central Africa also stoked the outrage of thousands of high school and university students in the U.S., who, through their organizations “Invisible Children” and “Resolve”, launched a massive lobbying campaign.”

very fortunate, indeed, that american high school and university students are so concerned about murderous deathwish christians in africa.

too damn bad those students are so unconcerned about the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by the israeli american empire in afghanistan, iraq and lord knows where else.

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