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Christmas at the Forgotten Front

Posted on Dec 18, 2010

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

By Barry Lando

(Page 2)

Two years ago, U.S. troops aiding the Ugandan army helped organize an attack on the LRA but failed to capture its major leaders. The result was catastrophic. Bent on bloody vengeance, the LRA metastasized, carrying out hundreds of raids against isolated villages, not just in Uganda, but across the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and the Sudan as well.

No one seemed to give much of a damn except the usual NGO representatives, trying desperately to cope with the situation in the field, often at the risk of their own lives, and trying to get the attention of world leaders who claim to be in an all-out war against terrorism. Problem is, the LRA are not the right brand of terrorists.

If their leader was a radical Muslim instead of a wacky Christian fundamentalist, things would be different. Predator drones or gung-ho mercenaries and Special Forces killer teams would have taken him and his cronies out long ago.

Instead, U.N. peacekeeping forces have more than 80,000 troops stationed in the area trying to end the chaos that has tormented Central Africa for decades. It’s the largest U.N. contingent anywhere, but only 850 of them are in the area where the LRA is active.

As Marcel Stoessel, the Swiss head of Oxfam for the Congo, told me by phone, “Those figures show that the priority is not here, and it should be here, because the LRA is the most active and deadly of all the groups active in this region.”

But it’s hard to blame the U.N. commanders. Their troops are poorly armed, mostly poorly trained (and themselves often feared by the local population) and woefully underequipped. For instance, they lack a modicum of helicopters to patrol a huge region where decent roads are virtually nonexistent. Their annual budget is more than $1.3 billion, which sounds impressive until you consider that the U.S. spends about that much every four days in Afghanistan.

The International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Joseph Kony’s arrest more than five years ago, and world leaders have at various times pledged to take action. Yet Kony and his ragtag forces are more feared and deadly now than at any time in the LRA’s 20-year history.

Perversely, Christmas is the season when the LRA has carried out some of its most barbarous acts.

According to a news release just put out by Oxfam and other NGOs operating in the region: “On Christmas Eve 2008 and over the following three weeks, 865 women, men and children were savagely beaten to death and hundreds more abducted by the LRA in northeastern DRC and southern Sudan. ... Between 14 and 17 December 2009, LRA commanders oversaw the killing of more than 300 people. These attacks have largely gone unnoticed by the outside world.”

Says Stoessel, “It is unbelievable that world leaders continue to tolerate brutal violence against some of the most isolated villages in central Africa and that this has been allowed to continue for more than 20 years.”

Fortunately, over the past few years, the depredations of the LRA and the plight of young people in Central Africa have stoked the outrage of thousands of high school and university students in the U.S. who, through two organizations—Invisible Children and Resolve—launched a massive lobbying campaign. In response, the U.S. Congress last spring called for the Obama administration to develop a plan to deal with the LRA scourge. Just this past November, a special task force announced a plan of action.

But so far, it is just a plan, long on promises, short on funding and action.

And now it’s Christmas again.


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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, December 20, 2010 at 6:21 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 3:45 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 3:10 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 2:32 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 9:01 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 1:24 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 1:05 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?’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 12:44 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 11:15 am 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 11:09 am 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 11:05 am 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 10:48 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 9:27 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 8:36 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 8:30 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 4:21 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 3:21 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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