This blog entry at Anderson Cooper’s 360 blog makes me want to puke. There’s nothing like self-righteous broadcast journalists who can’t be bothered to align their principles with action.
The post refers to the Lord’s Resistance Army, one of the most violent and detestable insurgent movements in the world. The LRA is half guerilla outfit, half millenarian movement — it is notable for the fact that it specifically targets children for kidnapping. Sometimes the children are brainwashed and forced to serve in the LRA. Female abducttes are regularly subject to sexual abuse. And sometimes the LRA simply kills the children it kidnaps (in 2003, for example, its members bludgeoned to death 9 children it had earlier kidnapped).
On the 360 blog Jeff Koinange writes (emphasis added),
Word of mouth is still an effective tool in the 21st century. The next step is to write to your congressman, your senator, your elected leaders. Tell them of this horror that exists in our time and make some noise. Lots of noise. That’s the only way to keep stories like this on the “front burner.” Otherwise, people quickly forget once the “kids” are off the evening news.
WTF? When is the LRA ever in the evening news? When was the last time you turned on CNN Headlines News or CNN and the lead story — or any story — about the LRA? Most Americans have never heard of the LRA because a guerilla movement that targets kids just isn’t as newsworthy as Lindsey Lohan.
In fact, I would bet $100 that CNN spent more hours covering the Dick Cheney hunting accident than it has spent in total coverage on the LRA in the news network’s 27 years.
But then I guess even CNN has to have priorities. The only way to make people take action against the LRA is to tell the world about their crimes — just don’t expect anyone to do it on CNN.
I was doing some research this weekend when I came across this BBC news story about recent allegations that Sudan is still aiding the Lord’s Resistance Army — one of the most brutal paramilitary groups anywhere in the world. Their brutality is especially chilling because they so frequently target children in their ongoing war against the government of Uganda.
Numerous leaders of the LRA are wanted by the International Criminal Court, but this hasn’t stopped Sudan from aiding the LRA numerous times over the years, and according to the BBC,
. . . the International Crisis Group says there are credible reports that elements of the Sudanese military are still aiding the LRA.
And yet despite this and the ongoing genocide committed by Sudan in Darfur, a resolution to do something about Sudan’s crimes against humanity cannot make it through the UN Security Council thanks to opposition from China.
When he visited Rwanda in 1998 to apologize for his administration’s sabotaging of efforts to prevent the genocide there, U.S. president Bill Clinton said that, “And never again must we be shy in the face of the evidence.” He would have been more accurate to have said that the international community would again and again ignore evidence of mass murder and genocide.
Sudan military ‘still aiding LRA’. Karen Allen, BBC, January 11, 2006.
Clinton meets Rwanda genocide survivors. CNN, March 25, 1998.
Lord’s Resistance Army soldiers attacked a camp for displaced persons near Lira, Uganda, this weekend. According to the BBC, 190 of the estimated 4,000 people living in the camp were killed in the attack and many more were injured.
The BBC quoted MP Charles Angiro describing the attack,
The rebels came with sophisticated guns… and grenades. When they arrived at the camp at 5.30pm, they approached it from three fronts – from the north, east and south and left the western side for their exit. . . They bombed the camp… and overpowered the local defence forces and then started burning the huts.
Angiro complained that the army has not done enough to protect civilians in the area from the LRA, and that it had tried to downplay the extent of the casualities.
Angiro told the BBC that he counted at least 500 huts burned to the ground by the LRA.
Uganda rebels ‘burnt my family alive’. The BBC, February 23, 2004.
The Ugandan Supreme Court this month agreed with the arguments of two journalists who claimed they had been unconstitutionally prosecuted under an Ugandan law making it illegal to report “false information.”
The Supreme Court decisions led to the dropping of some charges against three journalists who had reported in 2002 that the Lord’s Resistance Army downed a government helicopter. The journalists are, however, still being prosecuted for “publishing articles that are contrary to national security.”
Threats to Press Freedom Remain Despite Striking Down of Repressive Legislation, Says CPJ. Press Release, Committee to Protect Journalists, February 13, 2004.
At the end of January the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court announced that the court would take on leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army in its first cases.
ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said that the court would collective evidence and issue arrest warrants against leaders of the Ugandan rebels who have kidnapped as many as 20,000 children during the last two decades.
First International Criminal Court Case Targets Uganda’s Rebels. UN Wire, January 30, 2004.
Kamapala newspaper New Vision reports that Lord’s Resistance Army rebels ambushed a World Food Program truck. The truck was returning from a relief mission to deliver food to people displaced by LRA attacks.
The truck was burned and six people in it were kidnapped by LRA soldiers. Two other passengers escaped.
LRA Rebels Burn UN Truck And Abduct Six Passengers. New Vision (Kampala), December 3, 2003.