Monday, December 29, 2008

Questions on the Congo, LRA, Uganda - from Omaha, Nebraska

What is the Lord's Resistance Army?
How much do I want to really want to know about warring factions in Africa?
What is the relationship between colonization in the Congo (and Uganda and the Sudan and....) and anyone called "Lord"?
Who is Joseph Kony and what might my Congolese priest, Fr. Jules, have to say about him? How am I connected to any of these details about a place so far away, when I'm so happily present with family in Omaha, Nebraska?
Why ask questions?


These are some of my queries this Monday afternoon, in no particular order, as I peruse today's headlines and wonder aloud about this recent atrocity in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

What is going on?

I arrived home a week ago today from my six week sojourn through six countries in Africa, and still my mind and heart and spirit persist in staying connected to this other continent.

I am in Omaha. It's after Christmas. I'm visiting family. I am tending to my nearly three year old niece Izzy today, and taking in this news from the BBC that sort of staggers me.
"Women and children cut in pieces,
45 civilians in a Catholic church hacked to death
Uganda's army has accused the Lord's Resistance Army
LRA leader Joseph Kony again refused to sign a peace deal.
He lives in a jungle hide out in the DR Congo.
The South Sudanese government hosts peace negotiations."

And I wonder. I sit in Omaha, and marvel at it all: What I don't know. What I do. What I have experienced, what I am currently experiencing.

Seventeen days ago I sat in the Kampala Club across from Ishaka Mawanda, who slipped me a note saying that the second in command of the Ugandan Army was seated two feet to my right. Now I'm reading about members of this General's military operation who are working to restore some kind of peace and order to a place where children are being killed, and it gives me pause. I tend to a child, who is breath-taking, beautiful in her innocence, and I believe she cannot be much different from the babies who are caught in the middle of this mayhem in Central and Eastern Africa.

What is going on?

Izzy is coloring. Her father is in the next room with a small team of contractors, working to remodel the living and dining area of their humble Omaha abode, and I'm in awe at the juxtaposition of war of development, family and faith, questions, curiosity, seeming contentment.

What is going on?

What do any of us really know about what goes on in the world? What makes us care?

I sit, wonder, and something in me is deeply stirred. I am not angry, but am moved toward a kind of outrage at what I know of the beauty of Africa, and what gets reported. I am moved toward a kind of outrage over the complexity that exists in trying to hold circumstances outside me with the immediacy of what my heart knows in loving family here, and a larger family abroad. I am not biologically related to anyone in Africa, but my body, heart, spirit knows a connectedness that transcends blood. And it all begs attention and inspires questions.

What is going on?

In peace, discomfort, contemplation,
Melissa

1 comment:

Olga said...

Now I know why I had this dream last night. In my dream, people were being sliced and stabbed all over the place. I was in the dream too. I kept running for my life, but got stabbed a few times. Miraculously all the times I was stabbed, I did not bleed. (I wondered if this was a metaphor for my recent times of hardship.) My heart was beating fast when I awoke from the dream. Needless to say, I woke up in a cold sweat and realized I was in America. Many times I dreamt of the war experience I had in Uganda, I thanked the Lord that I am in America.

On the other hand, the dream seemed so real that I started to ask myself if that was going to happen here. Mostly because my dreams tend to come true or have a real life situation tied to them. From this, I now know where the reality of my dream lies.
At this time, I think about my family, friends and those I don't know, but are still living in the war torn parts of the world. I cry because I ask myself, “is it better to feel safe here, or die with those that I love?”
I hear your heart, your contemplation, your discomfort...

Let's pray for those we left behind.
--
Love and Blessings
~Olga~