When I first found out that I was going to be going to San Diego to work for Invisible Children, I didn’t know that they would be giving us homework to complete before we got there.
A lot of the homework was watching cute videos and writing about how they made me feel, or how much power lies in the art of storytelling, or even how, though we’re young, we believe that we can change the world.
That was back when I really believed that I could change the world. I guess I’ve evolved some since then.
One of the homework assignments was reading the text of the LRA Disarmament & Northern Uganda Recovery Act, since it had just been introduced in Congress. I remember reading it and just thinking, “Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no! What if the price of ending the LRA is a mass grave of child soldiers?”
Looking back, I realized that I had a very distorted view of what “Military Action” looks like. I guess when we don’t know any better, we immediately think one of two things:
2) Rambo: First Blood: Part 2
I know I did.
When I first arrived in San Diego, I remember really struggling over it. Could I, in good conscious, really go on the road and ask people to call their Senators and Representatives to ask them to do something that didn’t really sit well with me?
It was a fight. A struggle. A lot of learning, and a lot of thinking, some dialogue, some yelling. But eventually, I came around. I saw that military action had to be part of a bigger strategy to end the LRA. We had to make sure that civilians were protected. We had to make sure that these kids were able to come out. And we had to make sure that people pursuing the LRA were really well trained, and that they didn’t screw it up (again)!
And then I heard about The Voice Project, and my thinking shifted again. Why isn’t it possible to completely draw out the LRA members peacefully? They’re abducted, they don’t want to be there. They’re held in the LRA through a mixture of fear of the local population and propaganda from LRA commanders. Many of their mid-level commanders are Ugandan, but they’re abducting people from Congo and CAR. They come out of the “bush” when they hear messages telling them it’s okay to come out. That they’re forgiven.
And, oh my God, there’s something so insanely right about music being the tool to bring about this change. As a musician, I can’t think of a better way to use art than to offer forgiveness to children in your community and ask them to come home.
So, the question I throw out is this:
If we can end this war without a gun…
If we can draw them all out until none are left…
Well, we’ve got to try, don’t we? We’ve got to support these women who are singing their children out of the bush.
This launched today, and it makes so much sense.
I am so thrilled to be a part of this organization, and this cause, and this movement.