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Church of Uganda questions accuracy of Kony 2012 video: The Church of England Newspaper, March 30, 2012, p 6. April 3, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Uganda.
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Joseph Kony

The social media campaign to focus the world’s attention on Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army may be well meaning, but misrepresents the facts on the ground, the Church of Uganda said last week.

In a statement released on 15 March 2012, the Church of Uganda said the Kony 2012 video released by the California-based nonprofit Invisible Children paints an out dated picture of Uganda. Joseph Kony and the LRA “left Uganda in 2006 at the beginning of the Juba peace talks and haven’t been in Uganda for more than five years,” Canon Alison Barfoot said.

“Since then, the people of Northern Uganda have been returning to their homes and have begun the long and difficult process of healing and rebuilding their lives, their families, and their communities. The Church of Uganda has been deeply involved in that process at every level. While there are the normal challenges of any country, Uganda is a country at peace, working hard on development, and takes pride in its description as the ‘Pearl of Africa’.”

The situation was not as simple as described. The Church of Uganda “has consistently advocated for peaceful means of conflict resolution,” Canon Barfoot said, noting that in a January 2006 editorial in Christianity Today, Archbishop Henry Orombi wrote: “When you read reports of a certain number of LRA rebels killed by the Ugandan army, remember that these rebels are our abducted and brainwashed children. When reading about LRA ‘rebels,’ always substitute the word ‘children’ for rebels. The military solution has failed for 20 years; only genuine dialogue and negotiation has come closest to ending the war.”

With over 100 million hits on the internet, the Kony 2012 video appears to mark a new phase in on line advocacy. However, the enthusiasm the video and its marketing campaign have generated has not effectively impacted the supposed beneficiaries of its good will, the Church of Uganda argued.

Invisible Children has been a “good partner with the Church of Uganda,” Canon Barfoot said.

“We thank them for standing with us when we were working to keep the need for a peaceful resolution to the war before the government. We also thank them for standing with us in the long and still ongoing process of rebuilding families and communities in Northern Uganda. They have helped us rebuild schools, send children to school, and build capacity among our teachers through training and exchange trips. It is unfortunate, however, that there was not a wider consultation with the local community on how to portray the current challenges facing the people of Northern Uganda and to accurately let them speak in their own voice.”

She said the “successful use of social marketing to get out a message is commendable and we urge Invisible Children to empower Ugandans with these tools and skills to enable their voices to be heard and appreciated.

But Invisible Children is not the “only organization working in Northern Uganda. The Church of Uganda, through its dioceses working in the affected areas, has a number of programmes related to rebuilding educational infrastructure, improving health services, providing water and sanitation services, orphan care, and community development projects. The Church is in every village with schools and health centres, is in touch with needs at the grassroots, and has a solid accountability structure.”

Canon Barfoot urged those who wanted to help address the needs of Northern Uganda in the aftermath of the depredations of Joseph Kony and the LRA to work with established aid agencies such as the “US-based Anglican Relief and Development Fund.”

In a statement posted on its website, Invisible Children conceded that it had not been clear that Joseph Kony left Uganda in 2006, and that its video had received a mixed response from Ugandans. “We have found that many Ugandans welcome the film’s message of stopping Joseph Kony, but some take offense at how the message was delivered. Admittedly, KONY 2012 was geared towards young, western audiences in an effort to raise awareness of what began in Uganda, but is currently taking place in DR Congo, Central African Republic, and South Sudan,” the charity said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 32, March 12, 2012 March 14, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican.TV.
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Kevin and George discuss a wide range of topics from the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan to the recent marketing of the Kony Franchise. We also have news from Australia and London with the Ould brothers and Alan Haley talks about the beginning or the end of the Anglican Communion — You will have to decide! http://anglican.tv/ https://geoconger.wordpress.com/ http://davidould.net/ http://www.peter-ould.net/ http://accurmudgeon.blogspot.com/

Sudan Synod plea to stop the fighting: The Church of England Newspaper, December 11, 2011, p 6. December 13, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Persecution.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The General Synod of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) has called for an end to the government campaign of terror waged against civilians.

Meeting at All Saints Cathedral in Juba from 13-16 November 2011, the ECS Ninth General Synod denounced the war along the border between north and south Sudan as well as the guerrilla war waged by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) of Joseph Kony in the country’s Western Equatoria State along the border with Uganda, the Congo and the Central African Republic.

“We strongly condemn the persistent aerial bombardment of civilian territories, summary executions of innocents, and combat in civilian areas” in the border regions, the 16 November statement said.

“The bombs that fall are indiscriminate; they kill and maim young and old, man and woman, Christian and Muslim. In short, innocent civilians have become a target and their suffering has become political currency” in the hands of the government of President Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist-backed National Congress Party in Khartoum.

The ECS “categorically” denounced these “crimes against humanity” and called for the governments in Juba and Khartoum to “return to the negotiating table and discuss national issues in a way amenable to peace and stability. We urge both governments to resolve any differences peacefully and not to resort to war and killing of the innocent civilians who yearn for peace.”

The Church also called attention to the ravages of the LRA. Driven from their bases in Uganda, the LRA has retreated into the bush terrorizing villagers in the Sudan. The “cancer of Western Equatoria State, namely the Lord’s Resistance Army, persists and requires immediate and committed international mediation for the most equitable solution for peace.”

The Church called for “peaceful methods of engagement” to be used to end the fighting – which has seen the deployment of 100 US soldiers to Uganda to coordinate operations against the rebels.

While the Sudan had been divided into two countries — north and south – the ECS would remain one and continue to work for peace, the statement said.

“In the area of advocacy for peace and reconciliation, the ECS will remain committed to its national and international partners but particularly to the Government of South Sudan, the relevant state governments and the United Nations in order to collectively implement a peace process throughout Sudan and South Sudan.”

It pledged to continue to “proclaim the gospel” and “continue its efforts of high-level political and grassroots evangelisation in order to reach all the communities of the Sudan and South Sudan. The ECS will also continue to adhere to the traditions of the Anglican Communion through use of the Prayer Book and training to new and existing pastors on the meaning of Anglicanism.”