Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Old horrors, young victims (Part II)
I'm humbled by the sheer volume of responses to my blog post, partly because many of you were responding even before you'd seen the TV version of this story about the horrors inflicted on the children of Gulu in northern Uganda. I'm particularly touched by your humanity, in a world where inhumanity seems to be the order of the day.

Someone asked whether my heart bleeds every time I cover one human tragedy after another. The answer is yes. I lay awake many nights trying to find answers to seemingly intractable questions -- Why have we become so cruel to ourselves? What makes us revert to our basic "animal" instincts of killing our own without guilt or remorse? Why, in the 21st century, are so many of us living like our medieval ancestors?

The Joseph Kony's of this world are everywhere, like many of you pointed out -- in Kosovo, in Chile, in Cambodia, in Congo. I, like many of you, have my own ideas of what I'd want to see done to Kony and his ragtag group of rapists, murderers and pedophiles. But alas, it's not for us to decide their fate. That would make us like them -- animals that kill for the sake of killing.

Many of you asked the fundamental question -- what can be done to help these children? I say you're already doing it. By speaking out, by blogging, by letting friends and family know. These are always good first steps. Word of mouth is still an effective tool in the 21st century. The next step is to write to your congressman, your senator, your elected leaders. Tell them of this horror that exists in our time and make some noise. Lots of noise. That's the only way to keep stories like this on the "front burner." Otherwise, people quickly forget once the "kids" are off the evening news.

For those that want to contribute monetarily, there are a number of credible non-governmental organizations (NGOs) doing a yeoman's job out there. UNICEF, World Vision, others. Their websites are easily accessible. Make sure you indicate the monies are specifically for the "Night Commuters" of Gulu, otherwise the contributions could get lost in some huge, bureaucratic blackhole.

Finally, I'll continue to highlight "my" peoples' plight as long as you continue to show interest. I feel I was born to tell the African story, without fear or favor. Sometimes, it's painful, other times it's fearful, most times it's rewarding for me as a journalist and as an African, especially when I get responses like the ones from this last story. They make me realize I'm doing what I was meant to be doing.

Thanks to all of you for getting involved. Now let's go out there and make some noise.
Posted By Jeff Koinange, CNN Africa Correspondent: 7:46 AM ET
Thank you for saying that. Several people on my college campus are actively seeking to do something (though we don't yet know what) about the situation in Uganda after viewing the documentary film "Invisible Children". As a journalist myself, I wholeheartedly agree with you on the plight that what really needs to be covered in this world is viewed by so many media outlets as "back-burner" news. They don't want to tell the stories that can change the world because they're boring? That's inhumanity for you.
Posted By Anonymous Justin Lonas, Boone, NC : 8:47 AM ET
You state "But alas, it's not for us to decide their fate. That would make us like them -- animals that kill for the sake of killing." But it wouldn't be killing for the sake of killing. It would be justice, something there is far too little of in the world. The whining by the people in California about lethal injection causing pain have never seen a crime scene with all its horror or looked into the lifeless eyes of a young girl who has been brutalized and tortured and had to die in a state of terror, just as people do around the world every day. If someone had the guts to do what needed to be done, i.e. we saw you killing this village, there is no defense for what you did, you are sentenced to death, BANG. That's it. Until the perpetrators of these horrors have something to fear themselves (and jail isn't scary to most of these people), they will continue.
Posted By Anonymous Dean Maloney, Ft. Meade, MD : 8:52 AM ET
Beautiful, Jeff. Like so many others, I was moved by your story. I brought my two boys, ages 11 and 15, over to watch it with me and clutched them to me saying, "Look boys...look and listen and know what these children have to endure each day..." I want them to know that, however imperfect things may be here in the US, they are nonetheless blessed to be here...and I want them to know that with that blessing comes a responsibility to aleviate the sufferings of others. May your work there in Africa continue to be a blessing for those who suffer and may you stay safe always so that your work may inspire others to become the change we want to see in the world around us.
Posted By Anonymous Pat, Mendon, VT : 8:55 AM ET
Jeff, I don't have a TV, so my only exposure to your collective live reporting is on this blog. I just read your small article on Kony, and I'm sorry to say the following: it has been this way since time began. There have always been people who are destroyers, fouling everything they touch, and in a continent where life and death are much more potent and fickle, so too are their madmen.

It is up to reporters to illustrate their case, and up to countries (and people of their countries) to change for the better, violently if necessary. With people like Kony, there is little other choice.
Posted By Anonymous Daniel, Rochester, NY : 12:00 PM ET
Yet another way to absolve the criminals, ever so slightly -- by using "WE" (your link asks "Why have WE become so cruel?" There's no "WE." THEY are cruel murderers and rapists, not I. I do not take responsibility for their crimes, although yes, WE should take responsibility for helping their victims, as much as we can.
Posted By Anonymous Marja, Chicago, IL : 12:02 PM ET
William Golding (Lord of the Flies ) wrote a short piece called "A moving target," in it he wrote "...After it (WW II) I saw what man can do to man, what the animal can do to his own species." Things really do not change do they!
Posted By Anonymous Paul Tedeschi, Norwell, Massachusetts : 12:06 PM ET
I think many of us ask the same type of question. The fact is that without the rule of law, an evenly applied just law, it is all to easy for predators to gain power. I see no easy answer, but at least we need to support those who fight for minimum standards of conduct.
Posted By Anonymous Robert Turner, Rome GA : 12:13 PM ET
I, too, felt moved by their plight. This payday, I will make a donation. The children will hopefully hear the support from Texas and elsewhere.
Posted By Anonymous Imelda P. Rivera, San Antonio, Texas : 12:14 PM ET
Yes, I agree with keeping stories like this on the front pages. Let the major media outlets know that you want to see more stories on human suffering in Africa. It's just not right to ignore horrors like these.
Posted By Anonymous Luciano - Los Angeles, CA : 12:27 PM ET
1990 just called and said "Welcome". It's about time you in the media turned your very selective eyes towards the horrors of Uganda.
Posted By Anonymous John Blumpkin Portland, OR : 12:29 PM ET
Bravo! I have worked in humanitarian aid in Africa for the last few years. Some of the things I've seen are horrifying. Then again, the things we do to each other in the US are also absurd.
I like to stick to the policy of Ghandi, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Peace starts with me.
Posted By Anonymous Kelli, Tempe, Arizona : 12:39 PM ET
The fact is that most people don't wish to be inconvenienced in order to help others. Some are even annoyed having to listen to the reports of the situation. Also, a lot of people (too often correctly?) feel the situation is hopeless and that pumping in money only worsens the problem. To counter this, stories of hope/progress in African or other regions need to be shown. God hasn't written us off, and we shouldn't write anyone off. With our prosperity we have the burden and responsibility of freeing the oppressed. People need to be encouraged to take action that would help the situation even if it is as simple as writing a govt. representative or publicity /fundraising. I don't subscribe to the theory that there are unsolvable problems (many regions of the world that are stable and peaceful today were at war for centuries). In fact even the israel/palestine area was had periods of peace for centuries in the past. I think what has to happen is those with knowledge of engineering, economics, and other sciences need to get more involved in educating the people of the less developed countries so they can have an improved quality of life by building modernized national infrastructures themselves. Furthermore, this Joseph Kony gang is not "the norm" in Africa. For every child that isn't abducted, there are many who weren't.
Posted By Anonymous Johan S, Albany, NY : 12:43 PM ET
In what way are those who defend the weak and helpless like the criminals who prey on them? Criminals commit murder and much more unspeakable crimes upon thousands every day. People who stop them, even if it takes lethal force, are merely trimming the human genome of some unneeded genes.
Posted By Anonymous Louis, Chesapeake VA : 12:50 PM ET
Why hasn't the government done anything to protect these people and bring the criminals to justice? The continuation of lawlessness only breeds contempt for the rule of law.
Posted By Anonymous Julie, Seattle, WA : 12:51 PM ET
We have not become more cruel, we're just the same as we always have been. It's an arrogance of any time to suppose that somehow, because of "progress" humankind has changed in its nature and tendency towards wrong-doing. Medieval ancestors did not live in a uniquely cruel era.
Posted By Anonymous Becky, Beaver, PA : 1:03 PM ET
There are the Mother Teresas of this world who minister to illness and injury. And then there are the Jeff Koinanges who help us all to understand and offer our one small word to hopefully build up like grains of earth into mountains. Whenever I feel helpless in the face of all this, I think of that mountain and hope that I am helping to build it for the world to see. Thank you for helping me also to do my part. Carol
Posted By Anonymous Carol Duff, Red Wing, MN : 1:05 PM ET
I agree with all the things you said that we can do.But the main thing in the can do list is this....Prevention.
Block the sale of guns and ammunitions to these lawless people first.The US can do much in accoplishing this by putting a sort of embargo on all arm sales by US companies who by the way are the major suppliers.Also we should ask U N member nations to do the same.

Too much of the civilized world attention is so focussed on trivial issues , that real issues like this go unnoticed.
Posted By Anonymous Mat,Garden city ,New york : 1:08 PM ET
It is critical that we try to learn about what is going on and try to feel for these people - only then can we truly help these people.
Posted By Anonymous Steve, Huntington Beach, CA : 1:11 PM ET
There was actually an amazing documentary made called "Invisible Children" about the children soldiers in Uganda. It is extremely powerful. I've watched it a few times now and everytime it is still really difficult to watch. I highly recommend it.
Posted By Anonymous Jessica, Austin,TX : 1:20 PM ET
I,too, am moved by this story. Yet, like so many other stories like it, I am left impotent. We send money that obviously never gets to people because of all the middlemen/women who must be paid. We can not adopt because that too cost outrageous amounts of money. The costs outside of the actual charity are too high. Is there an alternative? Many of us would adopt but for the then sale of these children. We would send more money if it actually got to the children. Can we take these extra costs away?
Posted By Anonymous Beverly McCloud, Chicago, IL : 1:20 PM ET

Heartbreaking story. I'm so grateful that somebody's telling it. Having lived in a less-developed country for several years, I know how trying it can be on the soul. So much despair. Keep up the good work. Also kudos for your use of the phrase "doing a yeoman's job". It's always been one of my favorites.
Posted By Anonymous smith, indianapolis, indiana : 1:25 PM ET
Sending money isn't as important as changing their beliefs to focus on peaceful cooperation and wholly reject fierce survival and murderous competition.

Ultimately, the people there suffer from a widespread belief in scarcity, but the more crucial problem is that there are specific individuals--namely dictators and militants--that have chosen to resort to violent means to ensure their survival.

These persons will continue to steal from their fellow people as long as they exist, and our charitable funds enable many of these dictators to live in relative luxury. Look at Saddam's glorious palaces, built on the UN's Oil-for-Food program.

And yet abundance and prosperity is so easily within these peoples' reach by simply deciding to switch to a cooperative process. Look at how rapidly the highly-cooperative Amish can rebuild after natural disasters and then look at how terribly the competitive survivors of Hurricane Katrina fared.

If a natural disaster should strike Los Angeles where I live, how many people would start looting and how many would start banding together and helping each other out? It takes a belief in community, and such a belief stems from the courage to reject fears of scarcity and personal harm.

And ultimately, such courage can only come from self-reliance, self-sufficiency and self-respect, because if one relies on others' charity for their survival, it is extremely difficult to stay confident about the "supply lines."

"Giving them fish" rather than "teaching them how to fish" is not sustainable and simply won't work in the long run. These peoples will simply have to rise up on their own and develop themselves into prosperous peoples--otherwise, our charity holds them down.

I have personally tried both approaches: "giving a man a fish" and "teaching a man to fish," and it is the latter that truly works. The former only resulted in utter failure.
Posted By Anonymous Dennis Chang, Seal Beach, CA : 1:26 PM ET
When I first read the headline of "Why have we become so cruel" I thought you were referring to our country. And then in dawned on me that as we go so goes the rest of the world. When the United States is moving forward, working on world peace, supporting issues like Uganda, getting involved, the rest of the world takes out lead. But lately it has seemed like the whole world is starting to careen out of control and it seems to be reflecting what is happening to us. The benevolent country that was always the one to emulate has turned its back on the rest of the world. We have become everything we have berated others about. Secretive. Suppressive. Hostile. Bullies. And I am ashamed of my own country's behavior. So how do we ever help others if we can no longer help ourselves? How do we help the children in a far away land when we can't help the children of Katrina? We have lost our way and we must find a leader that can heal us before we can help others to heal.
Posted By Anonymous Susan Smith, Batavia, IL : 1:33 PM ET
Keep at it, Jeff! Your work is extremely important. Thanks for being there.
Posted By Anonymous Chris Mesker RPCV Burundi/Cameroon, Portland, OR : 1:41 PM ET
Unfortunately humankind is flawed and thus such tragedies occur. We were given the right of free will and far too many of us humans make the wrong choice by trying to inflict hurt upon others. What a shame.
Posted By Anonymous Mike from NYC, NY : 1:51 PM ET
"But alas, it's not for us to decide their fate. That would make us like them -- animals that kill for the sake of killing."

No, someone who kills innocent people for the sake of killing is an animal.

Someone who kills psychopaths like that so the Ugandan people can live in peace and without fear would be doing the world and the people of Uganda a huge favor.

Too bad the U.N. and other groups would rather hand out food to his future victims than prevent them from being victimized.

After all, who are we to judge?

Of course, this "enlightened" morality only applies in Africa. If Joseph Kony were killing white people, he'd already be dead. It's only when innocent black people are being slaughtered that notions of "non-interference" and "sovereignty" and the other terms for geopolitical indifference come into play.

That's why Stealth bombers were used to drop bombs on Kosovo, but the Rwandans, Ugandans, Congolese, Sudanese, etc., etc., continue to be slaughtered, starved, and raped.

Joseph Kony could be taken care of in less than a week if the rest of the world cared one whit about the fate of the average African.

Unfortunately for the Africans, we don't.

But hey, let's keep sending money to the aid groups. That way, Ugandans can be raped and murdered on a full stomach.

That's much better than letting a U.N. deputized group of the Green Berets, French Foreign Legion, or Special Air Service go in and take the problem out at its source.
Posted By Anonymous John, Los Angeles, CA : 1:53 PM ET
"But alas, it's not for us to decide their fate. That would make us like them -- animals that kill for the sake of killing."

This kind of attitude is part of why these kinds of people are allowed to do whatever they want with impunity.

Of course it's for us to decide their fate. Getting rid of someone like this is not "killing for the sake of killing", and doesn't make us like them. It's precisely the opposite. It's killing with a clear purpose - to save the lives of many, many others - 30,000 in this case.

And animals actually kill for food.

All that said, I agree that the only real thing regular folks can do is bring light to the issue... and hope that people with real power will make this guy dead ASAP.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff, Los Angeles CA : 2:06 PM ET
Thank you Jeff for bringing this horrible crime to the open. I wish the news publishers would give us (the readers) more credit and start publishing more of these stories and less of the celebrity gossip. I can't stand to see the celebrity gossip competing with real news. How are we suppose to make this a better world if we are all worrying about the next big celeb breakup instead of the "REAL" issues going on in the world. I hope your work gets priority over the work of any correspondent covering the lives of the celebs. And as long as we have such injustices going on in the world, there should be no room for gossip.
Posted By Anonymous Marina, Philadelphia, PA : 2:23 PM ET
I've not watched your story. I've only read your blog. But it is very moving. Yes, you were born for this purpose, but it takes all of us to change this. We do live sometimes like our midievil ancestors, but some of us should have enough humanity to go in and protect these people.
Posted By Anonymous Mary, Houston, TX : 2:24 PM ET
"How have we become so cruel? Why, in the 21st century, are so many of us living like our medieval ancestors?"

It seems to me that the question has already been answered by the question itself. Nothing has really changed over the eons. I'm convinced there have always been humanitarian peoples in the world and misanthropists.

My husband and I have had this discussion many times as it pertains to depictions of past times on television shows. Most recently the TV show "Rome" which had much depicted much violence man to man.

We, as a people, would like to think that we are what we call civilized, therefore, we do not do violence to our fellow man. However, as witnessed by the events in all the places mentioned in your article plus the events we see take place on a daily basis here in our own country, pedofiles, murderers, rapists, thieves, etc., this is not the case.

Is it possible for humanity to develop a kind, compassionate, caring world community? I don't know. It is a goal worth trying for, but I'm not sure I believe we will ever reach that high ideal. The hope I see is that we keep trying, no matter what happens to the contrary, to do the right thing by our fellow humans. You guys keep reporting the evil, we keep responding by being outraged. Sometimes the outrage is accompanied by a real effort to help, sometimes it is accompanied only by words such as these.

I would like to believe as Anne Frank did that "people are really good at heart." But I think I believe that only some "people are really good at heart."
Posted By Anonymous Susan Sawatzky, Spokane, WA : 2:25 PM ET
Thank you, Mr. Koinange, for your bravery and dedication to efforts to keep us informed of the fear and uncertainty in which so many innocents live. These are the reminders we need as we obsess over the rather pithy problems in our own lives. My heart is with you and all those who suffer, and pray that indeed, the meek shall one day inherit the earth.
Posted By Anonymous K3, Minneapolis, MN : 2:39 PM ET
"Why have we become so cruel to ourselves". Fact of the matter is we have not, such atrocities have been going on since the dawn of time. The fact is, now we have far better ways of making the world aware of what is going on via the news media and the internet. The sad part is we see what the news media wants us to see not what is actually there. No doubt, there are people being abused, tortured, and killed as I write. There are also people out there helping by defending those who cannot defend themselves, people feeding the homeless and victims of some civil strife going on. Medicine being adminstered and countless other actions happening right now that never get reported. Why, because it is not as newsworthy as the horrible situations in the world. Indeed, if you are going to report the news report all the news good, bad, or indifferent.
Posted By Anonymous Scott Jenkins Zellwood, Florida : 2:40 PM ET
Any why should the American people bear the burden to help these people? Aren't there other governments that can help? We don't even help our own homeless and helpless, but we should rush out to help others? Fix the problems at home first, then worry about the rest.
Posted By Anonymous Bill, Savannah, GA : 2:42 PM ET
I'm tired. I'm so tired of reading about horror, donating money and not seeing real cahnge. The world has become such a small place and there are millions of people like me. People who would like to do something other than give our children an extra hug or buying another goat for a somalia village family. How do we organize ourselves into a voice of change? We know that European or US money only gets into play when there is an economic threat. Can't we all organize and boycott petroleum or some other "hot economic button" until the government reallocates a billion or so from the Iraq budget to the night commuter project? I don't mean to sound simplistic, I have an MBA but in the age of access to millions via the internet,I just can't believe this is rocket surgery. I wonder how many of us would have to get together and boycott something "precious" to get notice - money and resources... I'm in!
Posted By Anonymous Tracy, Toronto : 2:44 PM ET
Mr. Koinange:
Thank you for these stories about the plight of "Night Commuter" children. I'm continually ashamed at humankind's inhumanity to itself especially in terms of our treatment, whether directly, like the armies of Mr. Kony or indirectly by the indifference that we may have to the plights of the most vulnerable among us - children. Perhaps what I have appreciated most is that you are a reporter with passion, you ACTUALLY have an opinion and are not just an automaton telling a story and moving on. By telling this story and by giving every day people critical information, even a call to action, it helps people break away from feeling helpless -- and forces us to do what we can. I am truly grateful for your work.
I would also like to hear more about the seemingly insurmountable crisis in Darfur and now Chad, as well as more about the people on the ground in Uganda who are doing such incredible work. They should be highlighted in terms of their labors of love to make the world a better place. Thank you again for your bringing this story out of the darkness and into the light.
Posted By Anonymous Stephanie H., Brooklyn NY : 2:45 PM ET
Jeff, if it is animalistic to want to see such a monster forever unable to harm another child, then so be it. Three cheers for maternal instinct.
Posted By Anonymous Rebecca, Portsmouth, Ohio : 2:47 PM ET
Thank you, Jeff, for reminding us of
what our true purpose on this earth is.
That it is not okay to think only of our
selves while children run in the night
from unspeakable horror. I am forwarding your site to everyone I know.
Posted By Anonymous Jodene Perrin-Gill, San Jose, CA : 2:59 PM ET
In response to your blog, let me first say that I commend what you are doing in bringing such atrocities to the attention of people across the world. Madmen such as Joseph Kony must be brought to justice for their crimes; and efforts must be made to ensure that such barbarism never again afflicts these people, or any people. However, talking about such problems only highlights the need to take action; talking, in and of itself, is no action at all. And, unfortunately, men such as Joseph Kony do not respond to diplomacy or negotiations. These men must be actively hunted down and brought to justice (and taken away from any ability to wield power or harm)--by police action, or if police action is not possible, then by military force. I, myself, do not believe in killing those who kill unless absolutely necessary. But, I do believe in severe and just punishment, and that is exactly what must be brought to bear on people like Kony. Talking and protesting only spread the word, but to actually solve a problem such as this, swift and decisive actions must be taken.
Posted By Anonymous Matt, Tallahassee, FL : 3:06 PM ET
punishing the guilty does not make us equals of those who take advantage of the innocent.
Posted By Anonymous Ryan, Los Angeles CA : 3:11 PM ET
I read your post regarding Uganda and have a little different take on it. People have been "making noise" about the attrocities in Africa for decades and to my knowledge it never improves. When I was growing up it was the starving in Ethiopia...we sent money, had benefit concerts and suffered through Michael Jacksons "we are the world". Now it is Uganda and the Sudan. I don't think talking about it or donating to Unicef (who probably only gives like 10% of the donations to the actual needy)is going to solve anything. The only way to fix that horribly corrupt and dangerous continent is with brute force. Which won't ever happen because Africa is a total hell hole that really doesnt have any resources that anyone wants. I have a great idea...the people of these 3rd world countries need to stand up and make a change!
Posted By Anonymous Chuck, Atlanta, Georgia : 3:15 PM ET
Thank you for doing this story - this is journalism at it's best. By telling the story of these almost forgotten children you make it our story and our responsibility.

I believe that by simply being born in the United State, our children, especially the girls are some of the luckiest women in the world. We enjoy rights and privileges that other women can't even dream of. Our children are protected by laws, agencies, a judicial system and parents who have access to amazing resources if they need it. And if the rights of our children or women in this country are violated, we can fight back. And with all this, comes responsibility - responsibility to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

Not long ago, women fought for me to have the privileges I have now, now it is my turn to do the same and teach my daughter it is her responsibility to do the same. So thank you for reminding me of my responsiblity. And thank you for your follow up piece that tells me how to help.

Please continue to tell their story so that we can continue to fight for them and let them know they are not forgotten.
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer, Seattle, WA : 3:21 PM ET
I do not think that we have "become" cruel. Humans have always been cruel, but here in the United States we have been insulated from this cruelty for many years, and seem to be just now beginning to hear about what happens outside our borders.
Posted By Anonymous Carlos Rivero, Miami FL : 3:26 PM ET
The African story has shaken the world before with its photographs, so why not retell the situation with rolling film?
It seems that, as much that is being done to help stop these events, they increase. The western world is so detached, so numb to most of this. It's time to wake up.
Posted By Anonymous Angela, Morgantown, West Virginia : 3:29 PM ET
Hello Jeff, The compassion and love from a reporter, who is determind to report their plight may be the only compassion and love that these children come to experience in their life times. It also may be the one experience that makes them determined to grow and help prevent such atrocities in the future. God bless you and keep you safe. You are their voice and it cannot be silenced.
Posted By Anonymous Judy Stage Brooklyn Michigan : 3:33 PM ET
The sad thing is that this is NOT a new story. Why do Africans allow the "strong man" to hold sway over their countries and tribes? Millions of innocents suffer, billions of dollars/euros are squandered, yet these suffering people do not rise up and overthrow their oppressors. It is no longer convenient or credible to blame Europe for Africa's ills, it is time for Africans of all backgrounds to take back their countries and move towards prosperity. Only when the people show they are tired of the abuse will the rest of the world truly support them because without active participation and sacrifice by the citizens/tribesmen there can be no resolution.
Posted By Anonymous Mike Sciales, Boise, Idaho : 3:38 PM ET
Your statement that "deciding the fate" of murderers, rapists, and pedophiles such as Kony and the Bosnian Serbs "would make us like them -- animals that kill for the sake of killing" is incorrect. Dealing out just and deserved punishment would be just, insofar as it would give the criminals their due reward; the murderers, on the other hand, deprive their victims of what is due to them, peace and human rights. There is simply no equivalence. Until good people rediscover the demands of natural justice, namely that murderers(not innocents or proxies) be killed for their crimes, life will continue to be devalued by our society. Killing murderers is not, and never has been, a problem; the problem is your sophistical equation of the murderers'crimes with the prospect of just punishment for the same. They are different, and your failure or refusal to acknowledge that and live up to the demands of justice is aiding and abetting the carnage. Please wake up and call for justice. Thanks.
Posted By Anonymous Richard Johnson, Los Angeles, California : 3:43 PM ET
Not having been where yhou've been in the world, or seeing what you've seen (except for news magazines), I cannot "feel what you're feeling" about your experiences.
The part of life that seems so inhuman to me is the befouling of our children by preditors - all over the world.
My heart aches for the ruined lives of so many of our innocent youngsters. We've sown the wind and are reaping the whirlwind, as the Bible puts it. But them all these - your experiences and mine - my heart aches.
Posted By Anonymous Bob Bell, Manchester Twp, NJ : 3:51 PM ET
I read your blog regularly and find it awesome that some big news journalist can post like this in a more intimate setting and (hopefully) gets to read and interact with his readers.

I read the first part of the article and of course my heart broke. Even if those children survive, they are stripped of innocense. Not their's, but the view that a child should have on a world. A view that the bad guy never wins, which is very far from the truth. As we become older we realize this is just a fairytale, but every child should have the chance to live freely from the horrors of today's world.

Reading these stories makes me very grateful that I had a great childhood (which I suppose I am still living out at 21 years old) and grateful that I sleep at night worrying most about my college photography assignments and not about my life or well being.

Thank you for highlighting these issues. I have done research on Africa (mainly the Congo), which is what originally got me involved with UNICEF, but your articles have brought more issues to my attention.
Posted By Anonymous Katy, Dover, DE : 3:56 PM ET
I can't believe in the 21st century that this is going on. I sponsor a child from Uganda and am aware the proverty of this country. Maybe instead of spending so much money in Iraq and conditions getting worse maybe we should help a country which has no oil.
Posted By Anonymous Lorna Red Deer Canada : 4:00 PM ET
You ask why we continue to treat each other like animals. Agree with it or not, it's because of our sinful nature. That's one thing that mankind will never, by himself overcome. We think things will eventually get better; however, they never do. You don't have to look back very far in our past to see the horrible condition of man's thoughts and actions. The NAZIs during Adolf Hitler's reign of terror, is a prime example. You would think that the world would have learned an incredible lesson after the NAZI's were defeated. It seems nothing at all was learned. For the most part, humans are still killing each other without any hint of remorse. We will not change, because we cannot change the sinful nature of mankind.
Posted By Anonymous John Oklahoma City, OK. : 4:04 PM ET
I agree whole heartedly with your compassion and concern, however, let us not forget cruelty amongst humanity in nothing new. In fact, I would argue, value on human life is a pretty recent trend (say the last 110 years) considering Feudal societies and other totalitarian forms of goverment that flourished with out question for hundreds of years-and continue to in some instances. Maybe the question should be...when did we get so nice-so concerned. I think it is a good thing. We are kidding ourselves if we think this is a disturbing development or new trend. We are a violent animal that is just now learning to tame/restrain our most basic instincts.
Posted By Anonymous Mike R, Louisville, KY : 4:08 PM ET
Thanks for the story. We must constantly be reminded.
Posted By Anonymous Michelle, Austin, Texas : 4:18 PM ET
Jeff, thanks for the story. I will
write to my congressman, my senator, and my elected leaders. I will tell them of the horror that exists in Uganda and Sudan(again). What a shame to see the United States, the U.N and the rest of the western powers turning a blind eye on these human tragedies.
Posted By Anonymous Alessandra Albers, Deerfiel Beach, FL. : 4:24 PM ET
Dear Jeff,
I have friends who are missionaries in Uganda. You are telling the truth!
May God bless your efforts to speak on behalf of these women and children.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa Augsburger,Fort Worth, TX : 4:30 PM ET
Thank you so much for this!

It's good to read stories that let you know you're not the only one out there. Sometimes you get so beat down, thinking you're only one person who cares.

I would be interested in more views like this, especially in regards to sections of Angola, Sierra Leone' etc. I believe if people really knew where their shiny diamonds came from people might cut back on the amount of "bling" they buy.
Posted By Anonymous Amber Dallas, TX : 4:37 PM ET
Jeff, we'll see what we can do. We can't change the world sometimes, but we'll give this one a shot, as it is of a worthy cause.
Posted By Anonymous Tim, Columbia, VA. : 4:52 PM ET
I, like you, pray every night for people like you described, but it is only the tip of the ice berg. Putting them in a constant spot light is one way to expose them, but the news creators have their crews else where.
Posted By Anonymous Thomas Carrowon, Warrensville, N. C. : 5:27 PM ET
Jeff Koinange!
I am proud of journalists like you who always speak out the truth. Eventhough it is the 21sth century, there are still existing bodies in this world whose hearts are made of stone, who feel no remorse by doing bad or letting the bad happen to innocents. When it comes to senators or representatives, the tend to focus on places that brings in more to the country or the city and ignore the sufferings of innocents anywhere else.
Posted By Anonymous Mariam Arif, British Columbia, Canada : 5:39 PM ET
What is happening in Uganda is nothing short of horrific and devastating. It touches my heart particularly because I sponsor a beautiful 8 year old girl. It is rewarding to offer what I can and to recieve her letters, but I'm saddened when I recieve reports of what is happening in Uganda. Education of this problem is a must and I hope, if you can, that you would donate to organizations that are dedicated to helping them.
Posted By Anonymous Ashley, Rochester, NY : 6:28 PM ET
Oh the outrage! Such inhumanity!
It is a terrible situation.
Like the people with the "Free Tibet" bumper stickers on their cars, I have to ask: "What should we do"?
Sanctions? Then you would blame the US government for the starving and dying children because there is no food and medicine.
Military intervention? Really! If you feel that strongly about it, go join the military. It's a much more complex and difficult task than sitting around and criticizing without offering solutions.
Posted By Anonymous Al Briggs Virginia Beach, VA : 11:41 PM ET
You have helped to open our eyes. Since your report, I have written to my representatives in Congress and to the president of Uganda about this issue. I have also donated to World Vision and UNICEF. It's time for all of us to get involved to help the children of Uganda.
Please keep on telling the stories that need to be told. We do care! We need to know.
Posted By Anonymous Tim Lynch, Lancaster, PA : 9:00 AM ET
When I read stories like this "night commuters", the only thing that comes to mind is man's inhumanity to man. It's a shame, and I wonder how long this old world can go on for. Surely, this should lie in the hands of the UN. They just don't seem to be doing enough!
Posted By Anonymous Kathleen Noll, Fairfield, NJ : 9:36 AM ET
This is a horrific story that should have been brought to the publics' awareness a decade ago. I will continue to read/research this event for my own personal knowledge to pass on to friends and family. Please keep the public updated.
Posted By Anonymous Kim San Francisco : 10:20 AM ET
Dear Jeff
What a beautiful sentiment to accompany your heartbreaking story. I felt a rousing call to arms as I read it, and believe that it is in the telling of stories like these that horrific situations like that in Uganda can be solved.
Posted By Anonymous Beth, Windsor, ON : 12:12 PM ET
Thank you for covering such an important issue. I am a student at Georgetown University and after viewing the documentary "Invisible Children", I was deeply moved and saddened by the atrocities taking place in northern Uganda. I was able to participate in the Gulu Walk this year in Washington, DC to raise awareness for the atrocities committed against children in Uganda and demonstrate solidarity on the need for peace. It was a rainy, cold day, but there were still many out on the National Mall to say that the children of Uganda are not forgotten and will not be forgotten. Please continue your important work and thank you again.
Posted By Anonymous Mike Young, Washington, DC : 6:12 PM ET
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