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South Bend GuluWalk raises awareness

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, November 1, 2006

On Oct. 22, more than 150 people from the South Bend community gathered near the campus of Indiana University South Bend to walk in solidarity with children in northern Uganda.

These so called “night-commuters” are the victims of a 20-year civil war between the government of Uganda and rebel forces known as the Lord’s Resistance Army. They walk up to 12 miles every night to locations which are safe from rebels who abduct children and force them to serve as soldiers. Participants in the GuluWalk are likely feeling enlightened about the humanitarian catastrophe in northern Uganda but uncertain about their potential to take further action. They will be encouraged to hear that there is a lot of good news. The number of night-commuters is drastically down due to improved security conditions in northern Uganda. Even more important, historic peace negotiations are taking place in Juba, southern Sudan, which offer the best chance for peace northern Uganda has seen in the last 20 years.

While the talks are promising, peace negotiations are fragile processes and the Juba talks have faltered in the last few weeks. A jolt of public support for the talks from the international community, especially the United States, could rejuvenate the process and provide a catalyst for its successful resolution. Support for the talks can come in the form of logistical and financial aid, but the most urgent need is a public statement by a senior Bush administration official supporting the Juba peace talks. By supporting the GuluWalk, people have made it clear that they believe the silence by the United States on this crucial issue is unacceptable.

We are asking you to take one step beyond the GuluWalk by calling your Congressional representatives and telling them to encourage Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to release a public statement in support of the Juba peace talks. Peace is within reach in northern Uganda. Let us be sure that we do everything we can to help achieve it.

Patrick Corrigan

President of the Africa Faith

and Justice Network

Lindsay Hero

South Bend GuluWalk Coordinator

Oct. 31