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Walk for Uganda

Katie Mounts | Monday, October 9, 2006

Ninety percent of people in northern Uganda have been forced into internally displaced people’s camps where poverty, hunger, and disease claim over 1,000 lives daily. Tens of thousands of children have been abducted into the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army, which aims at the destruction of the government. Thirty-five percent of abducted girls are raped, 39 percent of all the children have been forced to abduct another child, and six percent have seen their own mother, father, brother or sister killed. Thousands more of “night commuters” walk miles nightly to sleep in towns where there is a decreased risk of abduction.

The Global Health Forum brought some awareness to campus regarding these issues in hopes of increasing dialogue and activism from Notre Dame. It brought the message that we are called as Catholics, as Jews, as Muslims or most fundamentally as members of the human community to take action when confronted with injustice. In a world of increased globalization, ignorance is no longer an excuse for inaction in the face of international or domestic atrocities.

Statistics such as the ones above are staggering and overwhelming to hear. Too often they can leave us with feelings of shock and helplessness. What are we, as individuals, or as members of a larger community – be it a university, religious group or other affiliation do to help solve problems of war and poverty?

In a way, powerlessness could actually be the easy way out. If we cannot make a difference, the concept of knowledge entailing responsibility is null. We are not morally responsible for inaction if our actions are worthless.

Recent events in northern Uganda, however, have proven otherwise. Increased mobilization in the international community, including the United States, has helped to bring both the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Ugandan government under Yoweri Musevini to the negotiating table. A fragile peace deal has been reached, leading to what is by far the best prospect for peace in over a decade.

While a peace deal at first glance seems to imply that the need for mobilization is over, international support is actually now more critical than ever. Final negotiations need to be agreed upon, the peace deal needs to be implemented and an entire society must be rebuilt.

In light of these circumstances, area students and residents will walk on Oct. 22 in solidarity with the children of northern Uganda in a GuluWalk, an event designed to increase awareness of these atrocities. Walks will be held in 75 cities and 14 countries worldwide.

If you would like to take action, join us on the Sunday after fall break. Registration is free and will begin at the Potawatomi Zoo at 12:30 p.m. Also starting at 12:30, rides will be available from main circle. For pre-registration or more information, you can contact [email protected]

Edmund Burke once said, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.” These students will refuse to stand idly by in the face of injustice. Will you?

Katie Mounts


political science and peace studies major

Oct. 9