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A light in the darkness

The slow pace at which the world is moving to stop the death and violence in Darfur and northern Uganda is utterly maddening. While world governments loiter (or, at best, slowly plod), men, women and children are being raped, killed and herded into refugee camps as a result of a bloodbath that world governments can stop—if they act.

A recent NY Times op-ed (Fiddling While Darfur Burns) expresses this frustration well. It’s opening sets the tone for the short editorial: “It is enormously distressing to watch the sausage-making that passes for the world's attempt to do something about the carnage in Darfur.” The editorial exposes what’s holding things up (U.N. “dawdling” and “diplomatic cover to Sudan” by some Security Council members) as well as some of the things being accomplished (like the Bush administration’s push on the U.N. and an upcoming April 30 rally in Washington), but the last word is one of infuriating aggravation: “Rwanda should have taught us all something; it's tragic that it apparently has not.”

So, when Invisible Children releases a video promoting their upcoming April 29 Global Night Commute, it is a bright light in a rather miserable darkness. Invisible Children is an organization moving powerfully at the grassroots level to publicize the plight of and provide financial resources for children in northern Uganda. One of the ways they're doing this is through a powerful documentary they filmed, edited and produced themselves. Another of their efforts is the Global Night Commute, when thousands of people in (at last count) 136 cities will walk to a designated location and sleep outside to draw attention to the 44,000 plus children who do this every night in Uganda to escape abduction by the Lord’s Resistance Army. To date, the LRA has abducted, tortured and forced 30,000 children—as young as five—to be soldiers, laborers and sex slaves.

One of their recent press releases includes this quote from Jan Egeland, the U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs:
“It’s a moral outrage to see thousands of children that have been abducted, that have been maltreated. They are going through the most horrendous torture by the rebel movement and that same group is now being neglected by the whole international community. . . I cannot find any other part of the world having an emergency on the scale of Uganda with so little international attention.”
Through this event—which is attracting notice from celebrities and legislators—Invisible Children hopes to draw more attention to these children and the crisis in Uganda and hopefully move governments forward at a much faster pace. Watch their video and visit the site to see how you can get involved in either the Global Night Commute or various other ways to help draw attention to and stop the bloodshed and violence.

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