Northern Uganda . . . Here We Go Again

Until recently northern Uganda, the area around Gulu, was involved in a horrible internal conflict with the Lord’s Republican Army (LRA).  The rebels were notorious for using child soldiers (do a Google search on Gulu walk).  On a trip to Gulu 2 years ago, our group made a short presentation to a large group of former rebels that the government was trying to reprogram.  The conference room that we sat in was surrounded by military guards.  Luckily, all went well.

On this trip to Uganda, we were advised not to travel to Gulu.  Some areas east of Gulu (an area where we had hoped to work) are having an outbreak of the pneumonic plague (lung variety, airborne), with those contracting the disease having a high mortality rate.  The CDC and WHO both aparently have travel advisories out for the region. 

In February of next year, Southern Sudan which abuts northern Uganda, is holding a referendum on independence from Sudan.  It is projected that Southern Sudan will vote for independence.  Because the area is oil rich, there is fear that such an election result might precipitate a war.  This could cause refugees to pour into northern Uganda.

Northern Uganda (and southern Sudan) could use a break.

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3 Responses to Northern Uganda . . . Here We Go Again

  1. dorothy deasy says:

    May God be with you and your team. May your trip be blessed so that your efforts expand exponentially in the days and years to come. May the love and peace in your heart infuse all those around you and the work. May God’s will for peace and love grow and become manifest in Uganda and Sudan. Amen.

  2. roger hansen says:

    The following was written by Matthew Lee (Associated Press) and published in the SLTrib (29 Dec 2010):

    “A group founded by American actor George Clooney said Tuesday it has teamed up with Google, a U.N. agency and anti-genocide organizations to launch satellite surveillance of the border between north and south Sudan to try to prevent a new civil war after the south votes in a secession referendum next month.

    Clooney’s Not On Our Watch is funding the start-up phase Satellite Sentinel Project that will collect real-time satellite imagery and combine it with field analysis from the Enough Project and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, organizers said.

    The data will point out movements of troops, civilians and other signs of impending conflict. The U.N. Operational Satellite Applications Program and Google will then publish the findings online.

    “We want to let potential perpetrators of genocide and other war crimes know that we’re watching, the world is watching,” Clooney said in a statement. “War criminals thrive in the dark. It’s a lot harder to commit mass atrocities in the glare of the media spotlight.””

  3. rogerdhansen says:

    The following is from an article written by Mark Benjamin (Time magazine 10 Jan 2011):

    “Starting Dec. 30, the Satellite Sentinel Project–a joint experiment by the UN’s Operational Satellite Applications Programme, Harvard University, the Enough Project and Clooney’s posse of Hollywood funders–will hire private satellites to monitor troop movements, starting with the oil-rich region of Abyei (southern Sudan). The images will be analyzed and made public by http://www.satsentinel.org within 24 hours of an event to remind the leaders of northern and southern Sudan that they are being watched. “We are the antigenocide paparazzi,” Clooney tells Time. “We want them to enjoy the level of celebrity attention that I usually get. If you know your actions are going to be covered, you tend to behave much differently than when you operate in a vacuum.

    You don’t have to be a spook to have an eye in the sky any more. Private firms with names like GeoEye, DigitalGlobe, and ImageSat International have a half-dozen “birds” circling the globe every 90 minutes in low earth orbit, about 297 miles up. The best images from these satellites display about 8 sq in. of the ground in each pixel on a computer screen. That is not enough granularity to read a car’s license plate or ID a person, but analysts can tell the difference between cars and trucks and track the movements of troops or horses. “It is Google Earth on lots of steroids,” says Lars Bromley, a top UN imagery analyst.

    But you need money for it. A hurry-up order of what Bromley calls a “single shot” from a satellite covers an area of about 105 sq mi. and costs $10,000. A rush job on a “full strip” image of land roughly 70 miles long and 9 miles wide could run nearly $70,000. Sentinel is launching with $750,000 in seed money from Not On Our Watch, (a human rights organization) . . .”

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