Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Invisible Children

”A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

In 2011 many in the world discovered the truth in Ms. Mead’s oft restated quote. For the first time since the 1960’s U.S. citizens discovered the power of their voices. Protests at the Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, and the Occupy Wall Street movement set forth a new course of political awareness and banished apathy from the political landscape. Last year the world watched as citizens in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya rallied and significantly altered the leadership in their countries; Syria continues its bloody struggle.

Each town, state, and country faces economic, social, political issues that beg for change. Change that can be had when people share a vision, collaborate, voice their demands, raise funds, and relentlessly work for their beliefs. These people no longer say, “I’m too busy.” They no longer expect others to carry the burden of a movement. These people understand that being an activist is a positive and that activism takes many forms: making phone calls, going door to door, entering data, writing letters, raising/contributing money, participating/leading protests, promoting discussions on social networks. Most people in my social circle are involved in the recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Activism is a new experience for most of them and it is gratifying to see this interest in working toward a change.

However, there is a young woman with whom I am acquainted who is working on a different cause at a different level. It isn’t a local cause and it isn’t one that is well known. It is a cause that involves a murderous African leader, innocent children, and a seemingly apathetic world. Now, many say that we in the U.S. have enough severe problems and should just worry about ourselves. Why would any of us want to dedicate our time and resources to people in other countries when we need solutions to our own issues?

That isolationist viewpoint has validity. We do face serious challenges in the U.S. and we do need to focus our time and energy to fix those. But I believe we live in a global community, and if we do not work to solve the ills of others we will never totally fix our own because we are so internationally connected. I am not talking about military involvement as we have seen how ineffective that has been. I am not talking about donating money. I am talking about awareness and involvement.

Jaime Landsverk is a 20-something Minnesotan who is currently working at an internship for Invisible Children at the main offices in San Diego, California. She is working to raise awareness about the horrors of the Joseph Kony led LRA (Lord’s Revolutionary Army) in Africa and to bring about his arrest. In brief, Kony kidnaps children and forces them into sexual slavery, into murdering their families and random others, and mutilating people for no other reason than to maintain his power. Jamie spent a month in Kenya last year working with children of Nairobi and volunteered in Haiti in 2010 so she is no stranger to acting on her beliefs.

My purpose in writing this blog is to raise awareness of the evil of Joseph Kony and the horrors inflicted on over 30,000 children. They are not American children, but they are children who suffer in a way no person, let alone children, should suffer. After continued contacts from members of Invisible Children the United States government is finally putting pressure on Kony. The ICC (International Criminal Court) lists him as the #1 war criminal for crimes committed against humanity and war crimes against the civilian populations including murder, rape, and abductions. Without continued attention, pressure, contacts from Invisible Children it is possible Kony will fade from concern and be allowed to continue his butchery.

Please watch the video. It is 27 minutes long, but I ask that you make the time to watch it. While I have known about the Invisible Children and have previously contributed money to the organization, since watching the video I am motivated to do more. Writing this blog is the first step. I ordered the bracelet so when people see it and ask about it I can share the story. I plan on writing to my political representatives to help keep the issue alive so Kony can be brought to justice and children in Africa can live unafraid of his brutality.

After viewing the video your awareness will be raised. That is a beginning.