The Real Curse in Africa

November 12, 2009

Night Commuters of Kitgum
Image by John & Mel Kots via Flickr

Sometimes on this blog I will whine about how my city of Schenectady is cursed to be like a third world country. I now admit that was quite an exaggeration. In fact it just goes to show how clueless we Americans can be about the rest of the world.

Take for example what’s going on in East Central Africa.  While we debate whether or not we have a domestic terrorist situation in our military, (Which IS A BIG DEAL BTW) this part of the world has already been completely overrun by anarchy and terror.

Paramilitary groups rule the countryside.

They totally disregard real international boundaries.  These armies inflict unimaginable cruelty  upon whomever they wish recruiting and preying upon children to use as soldiers and slaves.  This is the state of affairs in and around the region of Uganda and Somalia.

There’s nothing we can do about this from a military standpoint.  Perhaps it’s better that way.  We’re good at blowing things up but not so good at nation building.

Here is a link that explains it all.  From the Caanan Children’s home near Jinja Uganda.

Sixty years after Allied soldiers liberated the Nazi death camps, the world stands silent in the face of another holocaust—one so horrifying that U.N. officials call it “one of the worst human-rights crises of the past century.

The perpetrators commit atrocities with such malevolence that even the most irreligious people familiar with their acts describe them as “unrestrained evil.” The targets of the butchery are children. They rape, mutilate, and kill them with a rapaciousness that staggers the imagination. Worse, they compel children to kill one another and their own families, fighting as “soldiers” in an armed force deliberately composed of children.

Perhaps the greatest atrocity is teaching these children that they spread this carnage by the power of the Holy Spirit to purify the “unrepentant,” twisting Christianity into a religion of horror to their victims. It is spiritual warfare at its very worst, and it could not be more satanic.

Religion of Evil

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is one of the larger terrorist organizations in the world. It has killed more people than many other violent groups, yet few Westerners have ever heard of it, since nearly all its violence is perpetrated in the border region between Uganda and Sudan in East Africa.

On a continent plagued with endless guerilla warfare, where war crimes are standard fighting fare, the LRA stands apart as an especially odious group. LRA crimes against humanity are so repulsive that its only former ally, the Islamic government of Sudan, jettisoned its relationship with the LRA to improve Sudan’s international relations. (Credible sources in Uganda insist Sudan still supplies weapons to the LRA, however.)

What began in 1986 as a rebellion against the Ugandan government has metamorphosed into a military millenarian cult. Its reason for existence is to perpetuate the power of its leader, a ruthless witchcraft practitioner named Joseph Kony.

He claims to be fighting Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni‘s government on behalf of the ethnic Acholi people, who populate the nation’s three northernmost districts of Kitgum, Gulu, and Pader. The Acholi have a longstanding grievance with the more prosperous southern Ugandans, much of it rooted in 19th-century British colonial policies that favored southerners in education and business, while relegating the Acholi to army service. However, the LRA attacks the Acholi, the very people they claim to defend, far more often than the Ugandan military.

Kony, 41, envisions an Acholiland ruled by a warped interpretation of the Ten Commandments. He uses passages from the Pentateuch to justify mutilation and murder. He promotes a demonic spirituality crafted from an eclectic mix of Christianity, Islam, and African witchcraft.

Any resemblance to these religions is superficial: While the army observes rituals such as praying the rosary and bowing toward Mecca, there is no prescribed theology in the conventional sense. Kony’s beliefs are a haphazard mix from the Bible and the Qur’an, tailored around his wishful thinking, personal desires, and practical needs of the moment. Jesus is the Son of God. But instead of saving the world from sin through his sacrificial love on the Cross, he is a source of power employed for killing those who oppose Kony. The Holy Spirit is not the Divine Comforter, but one who directs Kony’s tactical military decisions.

Despite dabbling in the Bible and the Qur’an, Kony’s real spiritual obsession is witchcraft. He burns toy military vehicles and figurines to predict the course of battles from their burn patterns. He uses reptiles in magic rituals to sicken those who anger him or to detect traitors in his midst. He claims to receive military direction from spirits of dead men from different countries, including Americans. He teaches that an impending apocalypse will usher in “The Silent World,” where only primitive weapons, such as machetes and clubs, will bring victory.

Brutality, Terror

Sadly, reports of LRA savagery are not isolated incidents. The children I interviewed in Uganda and southern Sudan who escaped LRA captivity, along with thousands of documented cases, demonstrate that these monstrosities are standard operating procedure. Nearly 90 percent of LRA fighters are enslaved children, kidnapped from their families.

If there’s any real hope for this part of the world it’s from those who know where real power comes from.  What governments can’t change missionaries and churches can change one soul at a time.

Other groups besides the CCH are

Far Reaching Ministries

World Vision

and Save the Children

and as far as Schenectady goes, perhaps someday a missionary from a real third world country will come and straighten us out too!

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