In the same vein, three college kids from San Diego took a video camera and went on a journey to Africa that eventually landed them in northern Uganda. They were overwhelmed by the phenomenon of "night commuters," tens of thousands of boys and girls who would trek for miles every evening from their homes to sleep in the streets of town centers to avoid being abducted by the LRA and used as child soldiers or concubines. The three students made a documentary called "Invisible Children,"fanning out all across the United States showing their movie at any college or church that would have them. Their effort has spawned a mini-movement of college students across the country who have dedicated themselves to helping make the lives of the kids in northern Uganda a little better.
Though crucial, it isn't enough just for American citizens -- whether college students, churchgoers or Hollywood actors -- to send aid and moral support. The U.S. government must step up and respond to this moral outrage by making peace efforts more effective than they currently are. The missing ingredients in the current process are leverage with the parties and a focus on the real security issues that sustain the rebellion. U.S. engagement could make a huge difference in the lives of millions of Ugandans.
We don't have to send U.S. troops or billions of dollars in aid. Dispatching a senior American diplomat --
Ryan Gosling, nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in "Half Nelson," plans to make a movie about northern Uganda. John Prendergast, senior adviser at the International Crisis Group, is co-founder of the Enough Campaign. The two visited Uganda in February 2007. with the blessing of the White House -- to work all the issues necessary to end the conflict would give the Ugandan president a peace partner that would help motivate him in the peace process, and give the LRA the confidence that its adherents wouldn't be hunted as terrorists if they signed and implemented a peace deal.
A 20-year war won't be easy to resolve, especially with a killer like Joseph Kony at the helm. But this is the best chance the people of northern Uganda have had for peace in two decades. The woods will be set on fire again if the LRA abandons the cease-fire. The extreme suffering of northern Uganda's children is a 911 call. The United States must respond.
Ryan Gosling, nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in "Half Nelson," plans to make a movie about northern Uganda. John Prendergast, senior adviser at the International Crisis Group, is co-founder of the Enough Campaign. The two visited Uganda in February 2007.