Archive for Uganda

Kony 2012: Viral video tries to take down Lord’s Resistance Army Leader

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , on March 8, 2012 by loonwatch

Joseph KonyA former Catholic altar boy from northern Uganda, Joseph Kony has waged war in central Africa for more than two decades.

A video campaign launched by San Diego-based nonprofit, Invisible Children Inc., attempts to harness the power of the Internet–and especially social media, including Twitter, YouTube and Facebook — to stop Joseph Kony, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The Uganda-based militia is infamous for killings, kidnappings, mutilations and torture in several African nations.

A 30-minute viral video exposes Kony’s enslavement and abuse of 30,000 children in Uganda, and has received over 10 million views since Monday. The documentary has garnered support from major celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, Rihanna and Justin Beiber.

Kony attempts to justify his crimes in the name of Christianity, which is clearly a reflection of his own madness rather than a divinely inspired religion. However, the story begs the question: What if he were Muslim? 

Joseph Kony: Profile of the LRA leader

From the BBC

He claims that his Lord’s Resistance Army movement has been fighting to install a government in Uganda based on the Biblical 10 Commandments.

But his rebels now terrorise large swathes of the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, and he is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Regional armies are trying to hunt them down with the help of 100 US soldiers.

Mr Kony was due to sign a peace deal with the Ugandan government in 2008, but peace talks fell apart because the LRA leader wanted assurances that he and his allies would not be prosecuted.

Born in the early 1960s in Odek, a village east of Gulu, Mr Kony is remembered as an amiable boy.

“He played football and was a brilliant dancer,” one of his former classmates said, recalling the rebel leader’s days at Odek primary.

The LRA’s aims were heavily influence by the Holy Spirit Movement, a 1980s group that represented the Acholi people of northern Uganda.

Teen LRA VictimThis teenager had her lips, nose and ears cut off by the LRA

The movement was formed by Alice Lakwena, a former prostitute who was believed to be Mr Kony’s cousin.

They felt excluded from power after northern leader Milton Obote was overthrown in a military rebellion, and eventually replaced by current President Yoweri Museveni in 1986.

Ms Lakwena promised her followers immunity from the bullets of the Ugandan army, but Mr Museveni’s troops defeated her movement in 1988 and she fled to Kenya.

After this defeat, Mr Kony founded his own rebel group which over the next 20 years has gone on to abduct thousands of children to become fighters or sex slaves.

Mr Kony himself is thought to have at least 60 wives, as he and his senior commanders take the pick of the girls they capture.

He sees himself as a spirit medium.

“They will tell us what is going to happen. They say ‘you, Mr Joseph, tell your people that the enemy is planning to come and attack’,” he has explained.

Young abductees who have escaped from the LRA say Mr Kony would tell them he got his instructions from the Holy Spirit and would often preach in tongues.

“I will communicate with Museveni through the holy spirits and not through the telephone,” he once said.

He has created an aura of fear and mysticism around himself and his rebels follow strict rules and rituals.

“When you go to fight you make the sign of the cross first. If you fail to do this, you will be killed,” one young fighter who escaped from the LRA told US-based Human Rights Watch.

“You must also take oil and draw a cross on your chest, your forehead, and each shoulder, and you must make a cross in oil on your gun. They say that the oil is the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Mr Kony appears to believe that his role is to cleanse the Acholi people.

He uses biblical references to explain why it is necessary to kill his own people, since they have, in his view, failed to support his cause.

“If the Acholi don’t support us, they must be finished,” he told one abductee.

Christmas massacre

Six years ago, Mr Kony broke his silence and was interviewed on camera in his jungle base at the time in north-eastern DR Congo.

He was surrounded by some of what he estimated were his 3,000 heavily armed fighters, and insisted he was not the monster he was portrayed to be.

“Let me tell you clearly what happened in Uganda. Museveni went into the villages and cut off the ears of the people, telling the people that it was the work of the LRA. I cannot cut the ear of my brother; I cannot kill the eye of my brother.”

He gave the interview at the start of delicate peace process brokered by the authorities South Sudan.

But the negotiations saw splits in LRA ranks and Mr Kony’s deputy, Vincent Otti, who played a key role in the talks, died in mysterious circumstances.

It is believed he may have been murdered on the orders of Mr Kony, who refused to sign the deal.

The LRA later went on a major offensive, carrying out a massacre on Christmas Day 2008.

On that day and over the following three weeks, the LRA beat to death more than 800 people in north-eastern DR Congo and South Sudan, and abducted hundreds more.

Gay Africans Flee Persecution

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2011 by loonwatch
Anti-gay sentiment in Africa is creating a new kind of refugee  (Credit: Reuters/James Akena)Anti-gay sentiment in Africa is creating a new kind of refugee (Credit: Reuters/James Akena)

Can you imagine if they were fleeing because of the insidious and all encompassing horror of Sharia’? It would be international news and the Islamophobes would be all over it, their silence on the matter is quite telling. (Hat tip: Daniel Bartholomew)

Gay Africans flee persecution

by NAOMI ABRAHAM

As Uganda revives anti-gay legislation, gays seek haven in other countries

I first met Fred at a prayer service for gay men in an industrial part of Nairobi where even on a Sunday morning, the noise was deafening. The service was part biblical study and part support group. The other men who were worshipping with Fred in the dingy and cavernous room that day were Kenyans, but he was not.

Fred, a lanky Ugandan, became a refugee in December 2009 after he was brutally assaulted by a mob in Kampala for being gay.

Fred, who asked that his last name not be used, bought a one-way ticket to Nairobi days after the assault with the intention of never returning. “It’s OK to kill me,” he said. “People would be happy to see me dead, even some of my family.” I asked what he meant by OK, and he explained that no one would ever have to pay a price for his murder.

Within the last decade, rancorous anti-gay rhetoric has infiltrated public discourse in many African  countries. Just last week, the Ugandan parliament revived a proposal to legalize capital punishment for people who engage in homosexual acts. This is new for Africa. In the past, homosexuality was rarely brought up privately let alone in the public sphere. The new acrimonious tone against homosexuality espoused by politicians and religious leaders has percolated across all strata of African society including the media. It has also given rise to increasing homophobic and transphobic violence, which for a growing number of gay Africans has meant that life in their own countries has become untenable.

Fred’s journey from Uganda to Kenya followed the same logic as that of other Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) African refugees I spoke to. They move to urban centers in neighboring countries not necessarily because these places are any less hostile to homosexuals but for the anonymity that comes with being a newcomer in a densely populated area.

Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, went on record last May saying that anti-gay hate crimes are increasing around the world and now account for a high percentage of all reported hate crimes.

Homophobia is not necessarily a new attitude for most African societies. Being gay is a crime in 38 of the 54 countries in Africa. Many of these laws have been on the books since colonial times. But it’s a stretch to think, as some have claimed, that homophobia is simply a vestige of colonial times.

However, some pundits believe that the shift to a more sinister form of homophobia in many African countries over the last decade has its root in conservative religious indoctrination. Some reports suggest that U.S. evangelical groups have had a hand in creating the venomous anti-gay attitudes and violence that have swept over the continent and pushed gay Africans out of their countries.

“It wasn’t until the late 1990s that we saw Africans with the help of American conservative religious groups using this issue (homosexuality) as an organizing tool,” said Rev. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia who has studied the U.S. evangelical influence on African societies.

Fred, who looks a decade or so younger than his 48 years, said that for most of his life he had guarded his sexuality with the utmost care for fear of social retribution and becoming estranged from loved ones. He lived his life relatively undisturbed until 2009 when the “Kill the Gays” bill, which sought to legalize capital punishment for homosexuality, was first introduced. Fred says it was during this time that he started to fear for his life.

His neighbors began to suspect he was gay and threatened to turn him in to authorities or to kill him themselves. On the night of his near fatal assault, he says, a large group of people from his neighborhood stood outside his bedroom quietly waiting to get the final proof they needed to confirm their suspicions. When they had heard enough, they broke his window and attacked him and his partner.

“People don’t leave their countries on a lark seeking more gay bars,” says Cary Alan Johnson, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.  He adds that in places like Uganda it is because of an overwhelming sense of fear for their lives.

Kaoma says Uganda is unique only in that it has gotten more international attention. Other African countries continue to take steps to criminalize homosexuality. This, he says, will increase the flow of LGBT refugees if the international community doesn’t put pressure on these governments.

Also, because some gay African advocates have chosen to become more visible in their fight for equality, anti-gay factions have become more vehement. Some gay rights advocates have been driven  into hiding.

Larry, a leading Kenyan gay rights advocate who now lives in Texas after being granted political asylum, was forced to relocate to Uganda in 2007 after he appeared on Kenyan national television as an openly gay man. “I left for Uganda because I needed to go undercover since there were multiple threats to my life.” He says he chose Uganda because of its proximity to Kenya and because he had friends there.

Neil Grungas, executive director of Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration, a San Francisco-based organization assisting LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, says that while there is no way of knowing exactly how many LGBT African refugees there are, it is a growing problem. “We know that it’s an enormous issue in Africa because the continent has the most concentrated persecution against gay people,” he said in a phone interview.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the U.S. State Department do not track refugees who are displaced because of their sexual orientation. But even if those numbers existed, Duncan Breen, senior associate at Human Rights First, a D.C.- and New York City-based human rights organization, says the numbers would be grossly inaccurate given how many of these refugees might be afraid to reveal their sexuality.

But those working on refugee issues believe that the flow of LGBT refugees is on the rise. They point to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees issuing guidelines for working with LGBT refugees and providing sensitivity trainings to its field staff. Also this past summer, the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services funded the very first LGBT resource center, at Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, a Chicago-based organization that provides services to immigrants and refugees. Under the grant, the group is to come up with best practices for resettling LGBT refugees in the U.S.

Still, advocates and some U.S. politicians say the U.S. government should do more to expedite the resettlement process for refugees fleeing antigay persecution.  In a February 2010 letter addressed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and  Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) urge Clinton to take decisive steps to protect LGBT refugees, who are targets of violence in the countries they have escaped from as well as the ones they’ve escaped to.

Danny Dyson, one of the first African refugees to be resettled in the United States because of the anti-gay persecution he faced in Uganda, went back and forth between Uganda and Kenya before his arrival in San Francisco. “It was a nightmare in Kenya,” he said. “At first I didn’t have any help, and I had to leave the refugee camp I went to because other refugees started harassing me for being gay.”  Dyson finally found help with a U.S. nongovernmental refugee assistance group, which asked that it not be named because they feared recriminations for their work with LGBT refugees.

Dyson and Fred met in Kenya as refugees. Fred awaits a decision from the U.S. government on his application for resettlement. Having heard about Danny’s successful resettlement in America, he asked me, “Is it true there are lots of us there and I don’t have to hide?”

Naomi Abraham is a multimedia journalist in New York City. She reported from Kenya and Uganda as part of a project sponsored by the International Center for Journalists. The Ford Foundation provided funding for this story. More Naomi Abraham

Rush Limbaugh Endorses the Lord’s Resistance Army

Posted in Loon Radio with tags , , , , , , on October 21, 2011 by loonwatch
Lord's Resistance ArmyLord’s Resistance Army

Rush Limbaugh the terror supporters.

Rush Limbaugh Endorses the Lord’s Resistance Army

I don’t have a really strong view on whether or not it’s advisable to dispatch a small number of US combat troops to help fight the Lord’s Resistance Army. My instinct is to be skeptical. I want to see less military intervention, not more. But Rush Limbaugh’s instinct is to embrace brutal murderers:

Now, up until today, most Americans have never heard of the combat Lord’s Resistance Army. And here we are at war with them. Have you ever heard of Lord’s Resistance Army, Dawn? How about you, Brian? Snerdley, have you? You never heard of Lord’s Resistance Army? Well, proves my contention, most Americans have never heard of it, and here we are at war with them. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. It means God. I was only kidding. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them. That’s what the lingo means, “to help regional forces remove from the battlefield,” meaning capture or kill. […]

Lord’s Resistance Army objectives. I have them here. “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people.” Now, again Lord’s Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out. The objectives of the Lord’s Resistance Army, what they’re trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty, and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology.” Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting, or who are being fought and we are joining in the effort to remove them from the battlefield.

This post is illustrated with a photo of a man who survived a Lord’s Resistance Army machete attack and has the gashes on his head to prove it. You can read more about it courtesy of Human Rights Watch:

LRA forces attacked at least 10 villages, capturing, killing, and abducting hundreds of civilians, including women and children. The vast majority of those killed were adult men, whom LRA combatants first tied up and then hacked to death with machetes or crushed their skulls with axes and heavy wooden sticks. The dead include at least 13 women and 23 children, the youngest a 3-year-old girl who was burned to death. LRA combatants tied some of the victims to trees before crushing their skulls with axes.

The LRA also killed those they abducted who walked too slowly or tried to escape. Family members and local authorities later found bodies all along the LRA’s 105-kilometer journey through the Makombo area and the small town of Tapili. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that for days and weeks after the attack, this vast area was filled with the “stench of death.”

I think reasonable people can disagree as to whether or not chasing a relatively small band of depraved mass murderers around central africa is a reasonable thing for American military personel to be doing. But let’s make no mistake—these are depraved mass murderers. And yet Rush Limbaugh is pleased to welcome them as fellow Christian allies.

Meet the Lord’s Resistance Army, Fighters for Jesus

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2010 by loonwatch

(read the whole article at WhatIfTheyWereMuslim.com)

The specter of terrorism is haunting the continent of Africa. In one of Africa’s longest running insurgencies, a rebel group is wanted for terrible war crimes. Infamous for regional atrocities including brutal massacres of innocent civilians, four African nations in conjunction with the African Union are now moving to reclassify this group, currently considered a rebellion, to the status of terrorist insurgents in an effort to bolster greater international support and cooperation.

In the last two years alone, this group of terrorists has killed about 2,000 people and displaced over 400,000 according to the United Nations. These terrorists cite the sacred scripture of a major world religion and believe they are fighting in a holy cause to overthrow infidel governments and replace them with God’s law. But who are they?

If you’ve been watching Fox News like many Americans, the answer couldn’t be easier: Muslims, of course. After all, Fox News anchor Brian Kilmeade recently proclaimed, “All terrorists are Muslims.” No doubt many in the anti-Muslim blogosphere agreed with his “factual” statement (at least before he was forced to make a half-hearted pro forma apology). But if you guessed Muslims, you’d be wrong. No, these terrorists aren’t fighting for Allah. They’re fighting for the Lord Jesus Christ (or so they claim, but we don’t think this is what Christ taught).

Meet the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)

Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports via Yahoo News.

LIBREVILLE (AFP) – Central African countries plagued by the brutal rebellion of the Lord’s Resistance Army are working to reclassify the group as terrorists, the African Union said on Saturday.

At a meeting this week in the Central African Republic aimed at promoting a joint approach to the LRA, participants agreed to take steps to have the LRA classified as terrorists, rather than rebels, by the AU.

This would give affected countries greater access to international funds and require increased levels of judicial cooperation.

The group has killed about 2,000 people in the last two years, and displaced more than 400,000, according to the UN.

Representatives from Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan met in Bangui on Wednesday and Thursday, along with Kenya, where they also agreed to step up joint military action.

“Participants agreed to the following concrete measures: the creation of a joint centre of operations, the creation of a joint taskforce to lead actions against the LRA, and the deployment of joint border patrols,” the AU said in a statement.

The LRA emerged in 1998 in northern Uganda as a rebel movement dedicated to overthrowing the east African country’s government and establishing a regime to uphold the Biblical Ten Commandments, but it was largely put down in its own country.

Today it is infamous for regional atrocities against civilians, including massacres, and its leaders are wanted for war crimes. Uganda launched a joint raid with DR Congo troops against it in December 2008, but failed to crush it or capture its chief, Joseph Kony.

 

Ugandan Legislation Calls for Execution of Gays; What if they were Muslim?

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2009 by loonwatch
Martin SsempaMartin Ssempa

A prominent evangelical pastor in Uganda, Martin Ssempa has proposed and received wide backing for a law which would jail homosexuals and murder “flagrant” homosexuals. He has received support for this from the president of Uganda and a large number of politicians. Ssempa, is connected to a number of American Evangelical organizations and politicians. What would happen if it were an Imam or a Muslim country proposing this legislation, you could be sure Spencer and company would be howling to the wind about it, but on this news story we hear not a peep from them.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNirBgffRkM 300 250]

From Advocates to Outlaws

KAMPALA – If Uganda?s recently tabled Anti-Homosexuality Bill becomes law, Frank Mugisha and other individuals found campaigning for gay rights will face the choice of going to jail or leaving the country.

Mugisha heads Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a leading sexual rights advocacy group that could soon be classed a criminal organization.

“I have never really considered moving out of Uganda. But if I cannot work within the country, then I will have to leave,” said Mugisha.

The bill has baffled legal experts who read it as the product of an over-zealous Evangelical community that is clueless about both Uganda?s constitution and international law.

But for the bill?s proponents, chief among them Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo, who has repeatedly alleged that there exists an organized, western-backed plot to recruit people into homosexuality, the law is necessary to confront a national emergency.

Homosexuality is spreading, Buturo argues, and if people like Mugisha aren?t stopped they will continue to lure impressionable youths into their sinful lifestyle and thereby threaten the perpetuation of the Ugandan people.

“Who is going to occupy Uganda in 20 years if we all become homosexuals? We know that homosexuals don?t reproduce,” Buturo said last year when announcing plans to table the bill.

In one of its most curious provisions, the draft law calls on Uganda to nullify any international treaty or convention that is inconsistent with the spirit of anti-homosexuality.

“You cannot as a country say we will nullify all the treaties we have ratified in the past,” Sylvia Tamale of Kampala?s Makerere University Law School told AFP.

For Tamale, the bill?s composition reveals an absence of qualified legal input and an unhealthy amount of input from people like Martin Ssempa, a prominent Evangelical pastor and internationally known anti-gay crusader who has confirmed having contributed to the bill.

“It would be political suicide for any Ugandan politician to vote against this. Leaders will have to ask themselves, do I listen to my own people, or … to top down orders coming from New York and the UN,” he added.

Ssempa seems to relish the criticism hurled at him by western rights groups, but he is concerned the proposal will create a fissure within the Evangelical Church.

“The western church is going to find itself increasingly at odds with the African church and find itself in a situation where there is a split like in the Anglican Church,” he said.

Ssempa told AFP he was disappointed by a recent statement by American mega-Pastor Rick Warren, who delivered the convocation at US president Barack Obama?s Inauguration.

Warren did not mention the Anti-Homosexuality Bill specifically, but said he and his wife ended their relationship with Ssempa, “when we learned that his views and actions were in serious conflict with our own”.

Mugisha is an unlikely candidate to be at the centre of such politically charged debate.

From SMUG?s humble three-room office in a Kampala suburb he explained he never wanted to become a political advocate.

While in university, he volunteered as an undercover health researcher, finding out which clinics could treat certain conditions and where gay men could access the things necessary for safe sex.

He distributed the information on-line and through a small support group he founded.

When SMUG?s leadership learned about his work, they lobbied him to get involved.

At first reluctant, he eventually gave in, and was appointed chairperson of the group in 2007.

He smiled when recounting his earlier health work.

“These young boys, they didn?t know anything about being protected,” he said, half-laughing.

If the new bill had been in place at the time, Mugisha?s attempts to promote safe sex could have qualified as a crime. “Aiding and abetting homosexuality” attracts seven years in prison.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.