At school yesterday we had a special assembly sponsored by our local Amnesty International chapter. Here is the official description we were given ahead of time:
At the assembly on March 3, Thursday, the non-profit organization Invisible Children will be presenting their new documentary based on a former child soldier. Then a speaker from Uganda, a former child soldier, will share his experience and thoughts on the use of children in conflicts. There will be a brief Q & A with the audience at the end.
This calm description turned out to be something of an understatement. Both the moving documentary and the talk by the two speakers highlighted not only the role of child soldiers but also the massive death and destruction caused by Joseph Kony’s terrorists in Uganda and Congo. The audience of Weston High School students was engaged and respectful.
And yet…and yet…I have a couple of reservations. Why is Kony doing these horrible things? One of my students asked the speakers that, and did not get a satisfactory reply. Of course the Wikipedia article is not to be trusted (unlike math and linguistics, this is the kind of topic for which one needs to be suspicious of Wikipedia); saying that Kony wants to establish a government based on the Ten Commandments is bizarre at best. Second, both the festive aspects of parts of this well-made movie and the attempt to get everyone to “stay silent for 25 hours on April 25th” seem orthogonal to the problem and its possible solution. Maybe I’ve just been out of college for too long.
Finally, how does one do anything for 25 hours on a single day? Inquiring minds want to know.