My teenage daughter has been raising money on behalf of IC at her school for a couple of years. Last summer she was invited to the IC Fourth Estate conference in San Diego. Last fall, we hosted a team of IC "roadies (a team of young people who travel an assigned geography in a van conducting awareness sessions for schools and other organizations) for 4 or 5 days while they conducted sessions in Winnipeg. One of the roadies was a Ugandan woman, abducted and abused by the LRA who was rescued by IC.
It really makes me sick how so many people, seemingly resentful of the success of this recent campaign, are so quick to criticize. Could they do things better? Probably. Do they perhaps exaggerate the severity of the situation? Well, an editorial I read today "Maybe invisible children aren't there" criticized them for exaggerating the number of child soldiers - as if a smaller number was acceptable. The actions of the LRA and their ilk are COMPLETELY unacceptable and anything done to educate the world to their existence can't be all that bad.
(One of the facts people are quick to jump on is the 2 out of a possible 4 star Accountability/Transparency rating by Charity Navigator. While most people automatically assume that this points to financial concerns it actually is related to the fact that they only have 4 instead of 5 independent voting members on the board - a situation the organization is addressing. Their audited financial statements are published on their website and show a pretty good ratio of program costs to admin costs)
A person I know is scheduled to go to Uganda in the fall as part of his thesis work in obtaining his Masters in Mass Disaster/Crisis Management. His work will be with a group who is trying to place these once abducted children back into their communities.
When I heard where he was going and why he was going, I had no idea until these last couple of weeks the history of this mad man and the army of children soldiers he has created.
I just cannot fathom how this group of international students (adults) is going to be able to cope with the actualities of what they have read and studied about this gruesome regime.
There was a very gut-wrenching Franco-Liberian movie made about boy soldiers in Africa a few years ago. The star was a former boy soldier who had been saved. Naturally, it had no success at all because people want "entertainment" that will not upset them.
Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga guilty over using child soldiers
Judges have convicted a Congolese warlord of snatching children from the street and turning them into killers.
The ruling is the International Criminal Court's first judgment, 10 years after it was established as the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal.
Thomas Lubanga did not react as presiding judge Adrian Fulford read out the verdicts. He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The trial, which began in January 2009, is the first at an international court to focus exclusively on the use of child soldiers, and activists say it should send a clear message to armies and rebels around the world that conscripting children breaches international law.
SAN DIEGO (RNN) - Filmmaker and co-founder of the charity Invisible Children Jason Russell was detained by authorities in San Diego, CA, and taken to a medical facility after exhibiting bizarre behavior.
San Diego police say Russell, 33, was intoxicated and masturbating in public Thursday. He was "detained" by officers, who decided the best course of action was a medical evaluation, according to NBC San Diego.
Police said he was running through traffic and screaming, wearing just his underwear. At one point, he had removed that. Several people tried to intervene, but his statements indicated he may have been having health issues.
There are no criminal charges pending, according to the SDPD.
"Jason Russell was unfortunately hospitalized yesterday suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, and malnutrition," said Ben Keesey, CEO of Invisible Children. "He is now receiving medical care and is focused on getting better."
Russell's video about African warlord Joseph Kony went viral on social media websites last week. It has been viewed about 80 million times on YouTube.
Keesey said the past two weeks have taken an emotional toll on Russell and "manifested itself in an unfortunate incident."
Every time I watched a news program or a talk show over the past couple of weeks, the two men where being interviewed... I think the whole situation has overwhelmed him. I hope he gets the correct medical attention he needs.