April 2, 2012 in
Recently, a video detailing atrocities committed by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which he heads, caused an Internet sensation. The LRA is a vicious militia group founded in Uganda that has terrorized communities in multiple central and east African countries. The video makes a pointed case for U.S. military intervention to capture Joseph Kony and dismantle the LRA.
While there’s been a great deal of controversy regarding the video, one fact is indisputable: more people now know about the horrors endured by the people of Uganda than ever before.
The Jesuits have worked in Uganda for more than 40 years. The Society’s Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has conducted peace-building workshops, run schools and economic development projects and ministered to refugees in Uganda. In 2005, the Jesuits of the Eastern Africa Province began planning for a secondary school in northern Uganda, the Ocer Campion Jesuit College in Gulu. The co-educational high school admitted its first students in early 2010 and is already having a tremendously positive impact in a region devastated by over twenty years of civil war. The school will grow to a capacity of 1,200 students and includes agricultural and vocational training as well as rigorous academic formation in the Jesuit tradition, religious formation and peace education.
In November, 2011, Father A. E. Orobator, the Jesuit provincial of Eastern Africa, spoke about Uganda and the Obama Administration’s recently announced plan to deploy U.S. military personnel to the region to help fight the LRA. His remarks were delivered at Georgetown University, at the annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network.
Father Orobator discussed the progress made in Uganda in recent years and suggested the U.S. government can help Uganda’s people – “by sending teachers, doctors, engineers, experts in agriculture and development – not more soldiers, guns and ammunition.
To read the full message, view an interview with Father Orobator, and learn more about Jesuit works in Eastern Africa, visit the Jesuit Conference website here.
For more information about the peace and reconciliation efforts being made to bring peace to Uganda following the civil war, please watch Mato Oput, a film by Creighton University students recently nominated for a Peace on Earth Film Festival Award