GUEST COLUMN: Worth the fight to stop Joseph Kony

May 18, 2012

He has been capturing children of Uganda since 1987, when he formed the group called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Now, this isn’t the usual “army” that you would probably picture getting put together. This man will turn the boys he captures into children warriors and the young girls become sex slaves.

We, as Americans, need to convince our congressmen to commit our troops and resources to arrest Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and bring this long-time child murderer to justice.

I know of many crimes. There is assault, battery, drug possession, burglary, theft, arson, forgery, fraud, vandalism, embezzlement and many others. But what Joseph Kony is doing doesn’t have a label. He is doing one of the most unthinkable and inhumane crimes possible. He is ensnaring young children, children just as the ones we are around everyday, and he forces them to become ruthless, cold-hearted killers.

This guy will take a child, a pure and innocent child, and force them to do the implausible. These kids will first kill their parents, and then become one of Kony’s yes-men.

Out of every problem in the world, none is as dreadful than the one that takes the lives of children.

The LRA hasn’t just been put together in a few years here. Joseph Kony has been putting this rebellious organization together for more than 26 years, and his numbers are definitely growing. If Kony thinks he can get away with this, he will keep broadening his numbers and become even more emboldened.

Since 1987, Kony is believed to have recruited 60,000 to 100,000 children soldiers and he has dispossessed more than 2 million people. If a deranged man here in the U.S. were taking the lives of young children and their families, would we let his numbers continue to grow?

One could easily assume that, since the alarm in Uganda doesn’t affect the financial and security in the United States, we shouldn’t help at all. And really, when you take a step back, we have no need to help. It would probably end up financially hurting us more than anything, right? The issue is in Uganda, not here, so we should let them handle what is their own problem.

What this argument fails to demonstrate is how we, Americans, understand morals. Shouldn’t we, of all people, be able to see the separation of good and bad?

We have been the target before. The terrorist group al-Qaida once did very terrorizing things to the United States, and to this day makes Americans carry an unnecessary fear. Adolf Hitler once caused the Jewish people to live in fear. The United States did get involved to help others then, though. Oh, wait: We only wanted to help after Pearl Harbor was bombed. We waited until we got the threat to offer a helping hand. Having over 6 million Jews killed off wasn’t enough?

If we do not stop the sneaky, evil, sickening Joseph Kony now, when will we? Will we wait until he and his army turn on the U.S.? Maybe this time we’ll jump in when around 5 million children have been killed after years of torture. It’s time to prove that America will lend a humble, helping hand.

You can look at this situation any way you please, but it is just flat-out wrong. Even though this issue isn’t threatening the United States' security or financial being, doesn’t mean it is all right to let continue. Joseph Kony is real, and he’s out there, torturing children. We must stop him before it’s too late.

I know it may be hard to help, but there are a couple of very simple and free things that anyone can do to help. First, you can research Kony. It will sicken you, the things you will find. But at least you’re seeing him through a computer, opposed to being face to face with the guy.

Second, just get his name out there. Mention it to people close to you or even blog, Facebook and Twitter about him. Lastly, and most importantly, you must call and convince your congressman and tell him that you want to commit troops to Uganda to help stop the world’s most inhumane crime! Ten minutes of your time may help save the lives of thousands and thousands of lives.

Brave enough?

— By Anika Pitcher, 14, an eighth-grader at White Pines Middle School in Grand Haven.

 

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