Friday, April 1, 2011

To Free a Child - Child Soldiers

Many Americans base their lives on a quality passed down by their forefathers: freedom. Some ancestors fought shoulder-to-shoulder to defend freedom, while others escaped tyranny to find it. Men and women continue to preserve this foundational quality for their children.

Freedom does not embrace the lives of all around the world. In Uganda, too many children have no concept of freedom. They awaken each day to pain, addiction, hatred and death. They cannot escape. These children are known as Joseph Kony's Child Soldiers, members of his Lord's Resistance Army. This post gathers information to illuminate this modern form of slavery.

The Matsanga leader of the LRA Peace Delegation and Chief Negotiator, David Nyekorach, wrote an article that describes the conditions of Kony's child army. The article, entitled Another Town in Africa - "Lira," explains how children become enslaved in the malicious movement.

Most northern Uganda's countryside remains depraved of human life since the children have migrated to villages to escape abduction. Children seek the safety of towns, where the government and the clergy offer protection.

In the unfortunate case of being taken captive by the Lord's Resistance Army, an innocent child is transformed into a murderer. Nyekorach indicates in his article that the abducted must kill in order to save their own lives.

"Children 10 years old are taught to kill, often beginning with their own families," Nyekorach says.

Some have made efforts to rescue the children, as seen in this clip, The Rescue.

Nyekorach says that about thirty thousand children in Uganda have become victims of this army in the past 20 years. The native villagers attribute an evil spirit to Kony. They think that he functions out of demonic possession.

Nyekorach describes the emotional immunity that Kony's soldiers adapt to death. Repeated brutality and overwhelming hatred numb the soldiers to pain. They are mechanically trained to kill.

"If children do escape, they will never be the same again," Nyekorach says.

The child soldiers of Uganda have no voice of their own. They are forced to be murderers. As I type this post, every clicking of the keys reminds me of machine gun rounds that could now be exploding in Africa. Some child will murder his entire family today. I will not simply cringe at the thought of this cruelty. I will intercede for these little ones. I will pray for their freedom.