Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"North of Uganda and God" - Compassionate Inquiry as Response

The following arrived in my inbox as a response to Monday's blog post about the recent massacre in the Congo. I found it particularly powerful in the complex and compassionate questions that my friend is posing. He writes from his perspective as a Ugandan residing in Minnesota. I share anonymously with his permission, and with much gratitude for such correspondence. You will see my response below.

Melissa, is this why some people choose to stay within their areas of comfort, environments they understand, situations they can interpret? Sometimes our quest to expand our horizons can be a nightmare in itself! Sometimes its better to stay within the confines that make sense. I have reached a point in my life where I do not fault those who are not traveled (not even beyond their state of origin). Sometimes one is better off knowing so little but, at the minimum, in position to make sense of the little. More knowledge, of and about our world can be overwhelming. It can be confusing. It can be hard to reconcile human nature and humanity.

Obviously, as you state in your writing, you are conflicted by what you read and what you experienced in your travels. How do you reconcile that? The terrible truth is that you reconcile by digging deeper into the details, into the history, into the propaganda and guess what....... sounds like even more confusion as you uncover the background noise.

For example, the bitter truth about the LRA atrocities over the last 16 years is that more than half have been committed by the Ugandan army. Remember all this has happened in the North of Uganda and God..... does the government have such spicy hatred for the people of the North........ Wanna know why?..... read some more*...... Its terrible........!! Those people have suffered at the hands of our government!

In Uganda not many people would pay attention to a 'Church Burning' story by the LRA. Suprise!!! ....... Well yeah.. Because no one believes that it either happened or it was at the hands of the LRA.

Enough for now..... Its a terrible world.

Its a beautiful day out here, in MN...., in the US of A.

Too bad for the Iraqis or Palestinians who can't say the same......

Well, if you have a headache blame it on the winter!


*For more information on the Lord's Resistance Army, here's a link to the International Criminal Courts Investigations. This is provided by the Global Policy Forum, which monitors Policy -Making at the United Nations.


Queen Mab said...


Thanks for this response. I think I love, more than anything, the conversations about such things, you know? Just your level of engagement in the questions is what keeps me ticking, and connected with humanity, Mr. -------. So THANK YOU!!! It's like the pulse of life and the heart of love and God for me, tapping into any of it...(The darkness, the light, the horror, the love, the possibility of transforming any of it...Transforming it: first and foremost, by simply seeing, ACKNOWLEDGING what occurs, and then asking about it all... I get exactly what you are saying, and appreciate it deeply, guy.

"Sometimes our quest to expand our horizons can be a nightmare in itself! Sometimes its better to stay within the confines that make sense."

"Sometimes one is better off knowing so little but, at the minimum, in position to make sense of the little."


And there is no judgment, no matter what way a person chooses to go...(limited, close to home, or large and away, or some semblance of in-between.) Nope. No judgment. Again: my passion is simply about raising the consciousness to CHOOSE to be aware...And we are all at different places there, (in awareness) which is what makes us all gloriously human and evolving, on our particular path.....(We could talk about Karma now, but hey....another topic.)

Anywho, I'm at my family's reading this. I opened your email in close proximity to my brother-in-law, whose email in Kampala sent me reeling (initially), about similar themes....

I found the timing glorious, in the way the themes and proximity to rocking-thinking-men (the two of you) corresponded.

Whether either of you ever meet, I'm the fuller, richer for such conversations that inspire or trigger the questions and further information, research....But, maybe, someday you all might meet. And that will tickle me...

In the meantime, your presence and thinking influences me, and one another, subtly, and that kind of rubbing, connection, friction, is pure fun and delight in my teacher, spirit, writer/ contemplative mind....

I turn now to my niece is ready to play!

Love! Winter headaches and glorious days to you!

Peace, Love, Joy, Questions,

Brian said...

Okay, so it's tough trying to work it all out. So? Isn't that why we're here, to at least try and understand why someone would carelessly cut someone else down? Or burn them out of their church or shoot them all down and then burn down the church they ran to for haven? I have often sat in church (not so much recently but that's 'cause I hate the cold and I'm not so much in love with living in MN. right about now, but give me some lotion and a few 30 degree days and I'll be alright) so I sit and church and I let the week's events run through my brain as the Pastor leads us through this week's sermon or the Praise team sings a song or caresses a melody that speaks to my heart and I wonder...why can't it always be this way? Why is it so easy for other people to snuff out the potential in others? Why is war the only answer? What is about us (men) that we can't sit down and talk? Is it about the penis? Was Freud right? Do we all have penis envy? Have we passed through a portal and moved beyond that place where we have to answer every slight with blood or blood-letting? Do we need to carry around a satchel of leeches so we can throw at anyone who offends us?

Just the other day (I hope you don't mind, but I'm musing right now) there was a young girl, 15, and pregnant. She was found in an abandoned garage over on the North side of Mpls. There was a press conference with the Police and the Councilman from that district standing a few feet away from where someone snuffed out her life. And it pained me to think that her story didn't lead the day's newscast. It wasn't important or didn't rise high enough to demand we all take a few seconds to stop and think about who we are and where we can go if we'd just take some time and think, for a change.

In that same edition of the paper, there was another story, about 10 pages in, about the numbers of black men, young black men who are killing each other. It sat next to a huge advertisement for bedding or furniture or makeup pick. Again, it's another heartbreak that we have become used to carrying. It isn't news or it doesn't rise high enough on her meter of concern that we stop and think about the potential that gets snuffed out, daily.

And so, this weekend I will go back to church and pray for the family of that little girl found in the garage, and for my nephews and for the children who carry guns and rifles and get high before they are forced to go out into the bush and burn down another church in Uganda and I will pray that someone besides me takes a few minutes to also pray and then try to find out a little more about the conflict and then talk about it to friends. Let's agree to shake 'em all up, just a little bit and move 'em out of their comfort zones, for just a little while.

It says in my bible that God has provided us everything we need right here and right now. If we work on it we can change it. We just have to be willing to do the work and get a little sweaty.

Okay, enough. Tired of to you! Glad you're back!

later, me

Colette DeHarpporte said...

such power. gorgeous acknowledgment of each journey's unique and precious path and the gentle strength that comes from grounding in the here and now.

its a terrible world, its a beautiful day. wow.


Justice Gumbochuma said...

Hi Melissa, hope I find you in good health. I was so encouraged as I went through your articles. They really moved me in such a way that it reassured me as an African that - though it is still in the 3rd world - Africa has significant history which, when searched, defies the view that God left the continent long, long ago. I really appreciate your perception of Africa and I hope your travel across the continent was a fulfilling time in your lifetime perhaps acquainting with the contradictions of life and that social strata from an African perspective.

I will keep in touch with you and will in turn post my articles to you. Wish you a fruitful 2009. Read your bible from Jeremiah 29:11

Justice Gumbochuma,
Johannesburg, South Africa

Sr. Rafael Tilton said...

Dear Melissa,
My heart goes out to you experiencing what must be some kind of excruciating pain. There are times when all I can do and say when i hear this kind of news is try to remember that what I suffer in mind and heart on hearing, Jesus in His Mystical Body must know as pain inflicted on the bone of His bone and the flesh of His flesh. Can I do more, I ask, than acknowledge that I am willing to feel it with him. And try to love equally all and not to lay blame, only to try to understand what is going on.

Love and peace and in new year.
Sr. Rafael
Rochester, MN