27 May 2010

we did it

We did it. The LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act has finally been passed by Congress AND signed into law by Obama! Thanks be to God! I can't believe it has finally happened. When people are passionate and stubborn enough and make enough noise, the government listens. Here's a summary from Resolve Uganda of what the act is designed to do:

"For over twenty years the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has terrorized communities in central Africa, attacking civilians and abducting tens of thousands of children in four countries. The bipartisan LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, which passed Congress May 13, 2010 will help stop the immediate violence and end one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts by:

1.Stopping the LRA, by mandating President Obama to devise an interagency strategy to prevent LRA violence, which should include a multilateral plan to apprehend top LRA leaders, encourage defections of rebel commanders, demobilize child soldiers, and protect civilians from rebel attacks; and

2.Investing in sustainable peace, by targeting US assistance to recovery and reconciliation efforts in northern Uganda, which are essential to rebuilding and healing war-affected communities and preventing future conflicts."

It's good. The United States government has finally publicly acknowledged that this is a massive issue and that it is our responsibility to be active in multilateral efforts to stop the violence, protect the innocent, and invest in healing the region. And now that it's law, there are plenty of well-equipped, passionate organizations that are going to hold them to their word.

And did you read that part about "apprehending top LRA leaders"? That's right, it is now LAW to pursue Joseph Kony, that man who has abducted 66,000 children into his rebel army and forced them to commit alongside him horrible atrocities against innocent civilians, including their own communities. Let the search begin.

If you want to read the full text of the act, you can find it here.

Oh, and I am proud to say that my senator, Sam Brownback, was one of the original five bipartisan cosponsors. By the time it was passed, the original five had been joined by 65 cosponsors in the Senate and 201 cosponsors in the house (including every Kansas representative). Obama had a special signing ceremony for the act and released a great statement about it that you can read here.

"Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard." Isaiah 58:5-8

"When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan...
By justice a king gives a country stability,
but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down." Proverbs 29:2, 4

"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

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