You know, don’t you, that you have to invite vampires into your home or they are not capable of entering, or better, they are forbidden to enter by some kind of law that governs the undead. (It’s important to have rules in the necromantic realms as it shows that there is order in all of God’s creations, even the evil ones.)
I was put in mind of this “rule” when I read the “School Diary” column in yesterday’s local paper. It was penned by a Bloomington South High School student and was headlined, “School diary: Rights of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness are far from universal.” It’s nice to see we learn the proper way to start a piece of propaganda in our high schools.
I have been less than amused by this feature of our newspaper as I find it a cynical form of “market capture.” However, with this piece yesterday I have discovered that it has at least one benefit to the citizens: it serves the function of putting on display not only the minds of students (products of education systems!) but also opens a door to the ways they are being instructed or indoctrinated, directly and indirectly. This cannot be measured by the NAEP, or ETS, or any of our corporate schemes called “testing services.” And so I thank the Herald-Times.
Now, like most polite adults when confronted with a simple response to the world I usually just smile, nod, and keep moving. This is especially true when confronted with the words of children (forgive them, Father) as they attempt to mimic the world they are being asked to inhabit. I cringe, sure, but that’s the extent of my response. Not so with this piece.
Okay, enough of prefatory apologetics. I will reproduce in full and comment within.
School diary: Rights of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness are far from universalBy Holly Hays InSchool columnist
November 22, 2011, last update: 11/22 @ 1:03 am
As Americans, we are given the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Each day, we are living in a relatively free country, where we are able to take those basic rights for granted and close our eyes to the fact that many others in this world may not get to enjoy them.
Do we take this “rights” for granted anymore? I hope not, because you don’t have them: the death penalty has been applied preemptively by our President and his CIA army with only accusation as “evidence”; we hold citizens in detention under conditions of torture, indefinitely, without even filing charges; oh, we do the “pursuit” thing quite as a matter of addiction. This is perhaps the truest thing Jefferson ever wrote. Of course, we actually take away freedoms from all other nations if we get the chance. We have lots of obfuscating terms for this action. Mostly we call this “national interest.”
Take, for instance, many Central African civilians. Recently, a nonprofit organization by the name of Invisible Children visited my school and for the second time shared stories of Ugandan refugees who are being tortured by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army. Each day, Kony and his army destroy villages, burn homes, rape women and kidnap their young sons so they may arm them and turn them into machines of war.
Sure, let’s take that as a for instance. What do we know (what does a BSHS child know) about Central Africa? Me? Virtually nothing. How do I learn? I read the newspaper sometimes; I look up international newspapers for information; I look to foreign press reports (no way to “trust” US journalism about, well, anything, but especially foreign affairs). But we’re not going to learn about Central Africa. We’re going to be introduced to a group that has declared themselves and filed as “nonprofit” for tax reasons (exemptions, and enriching membership): Invisible Children. This group with the heart-rending name appears to have been to the school twice (all the schools in the MCCSC?) in order to share stories of torture perpetrated by a particularly vile man and his “army”. It’s important to get the full name in there in order to place the blame in the right place! Do you and I know the facts on offer? Nope. Does Holly Hays? Nope. Does BSHS? Nope. Does MCCSC? Nope. But that’s okay, we can propagate what this group is saying as fact anyway!
According to material provided by the Invisible Children group, the LRA has displaced 110,011 innocent civilians and killed 1,270 since December 2009. It has also abducted 1,177 innocent civilians since January 2011. Furthermore, United Nations estimates say that more than 25,000 children have been abducted since the LRA started in 1986. Even though the world population is now at a staggering 7 billion, these numbers should never be looked at as just drops in the bucket — and that is what the Invisible Children group is trying to say.
According to this group X bad things have happened. According to the UN (USA) X child abductions have occurred “since” the LRA “started” (what does that even mean?). So the UN doesn’t say the LRA has abducted children? Since ’86! What in the world has the world been doing since then to intervene? Anything? Holly? Here’s a snippet from a report by ZNet,
Ugandan Spring?: “Instability” Spreads to East Africa:
The U.S. cable expressed hope that the February 2011 presidential election would “reinforce Uganda’s image as an African success story.” It is important to point out that when the cable was written, Museveni was serving his third term since coming to power in 1986. Were Museveni an official enemy of Washington, his rewriting of the constitution to enable him to rule for life would have received harsh condemnation or even a U.S.-sponsored coup attempt, as in the case of Huge Chavez of Venezuela. But Museveni’s client-status earns him hundreds of millions in “aid” annually—a significant portion of which comes in the form of military assistance—as well as propaganda support.
Who is the LRA? Who is this Joseph Kony, kin to bin Laden or Qaddafi or Saddam or Pol Pot or Stalin? He is perhaps a Marxist?
Since its start, the Invisible Children organization has attempted to bring peace to places that the LRA has ruled, such as Uganda, Sudan, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They have implemented the Schools for Schools project, which allows Ugandan refugees to receive schooling and mentoring. They have constructed rehabilitation facilities for defecting LRA soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Now, they are launching a new project: the construction of radio towers in Sudan, CAR, and DR Congo to transmit warnings of LRA sightings as well as “come home” messages to defecting soldiers.
The angels of the IC have been trying so hard to stamp out the LRA! The LRA is everywhere and it alone is responsible for the horrors in not only Uganda but so many other poor and undefended places. And the IC has “projects” in place to help even those horrible perpetrators of evil, the LRA soldier who “defects.” Now, now, now, they will set up beacons of messaging, radio towers of hope! Come home, dear defectors, come home to…well, to what…what is home in this context, Holly?
However, these programs are all suffering from the same problem that many American households are experiencing: money. The lack of funding is hindering all these programs that are helping areas ravaged by war. That’s where we come in. Donations of even $1 have the ability to make huge improvements in the lives of civilians who are being denied the basic rights that we take for granted every day.
Uh oh, IC needs your help! Uganda needs your help! Transmission towers need to be built (who owns these?)! Just $1 to share our basic “rights”. I’ll give you a dollar if you give us our rights back, IC, please and thank you.
In this thankful time of year, it is important to be grateful for the rights we have. Because the people in Central Africa deserve better than what they have. They do not take those FM radio towers for granted. They do not take for granted a safe place to sleep. I encourage all of us to stop taking our basic rights for granted, and instead use them to make a difference. Please visit www.invisiblechildren.com to find out how you can make a difference today.
Ah, yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Maybe Wal-Mart can set up a Help Uganda sign for Black Friday? Or pledge $1.00 of every purchase to this front group (it slipped, sorry). But NO! Do not shirk your duty to make Africa a better place the IC way. Give now and give often.
Seriously, HT? Seriously, BSHS? Seriously, MCCSC? Does no one ever do any research into anything before they spout off?
First of all, I’m angry that this “diary” is simply a fund drive and second I’m angry that this is a fund drive instigated through our schools. Who vets this stuff?
Yes, I know nothing about this that I can remotely call certain, but what I do know is that you don’t either, and that this is a ridiculously impossible thing in which to find truth. I’m not saying the LRA is wonderful or that Joseph Kony deserves the Nobel Peace Price for his crimes (ehem) but I am saying I am sure there’s much more to this and I am incensed and disgusted at our schools and this group for its underhanded schemes to raise money for who-knows-what.
What have I heard about Uganda?
Homosexuality is illegal and there is currently a bill “in committee” that would actually make it an act punishable by death. You can read it about this even on the Wikipedia, Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Did the LRA do this? Joseph Kony? Here’s a report on Democracy Now! about the ties of US Evangelicals to this as well.
Here too is a “headline” story, also from Democracy Now!, about the Obama administration’s involvement in the “struggles”–I have highlighted the “reveal”:
President Obama has deployed about 100 “combat-equipped U.S. forces,” including special operations personnel, to central Africa to help fight against Uganda’s renegade Lord’s Resistance Army and its leader, Joseph Kony. In a letter to U.S. congressional leaders, Obama wrote, “I have authorized a small number of combat-equipped U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield.” The 100 troops, primarily U.S. special operations forces, will reportedly assist forces from Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In June, it was revealed the United States would provide drone aircraft to Uganda and Burundi as part of a $45 million military aid package. Uganda is also the site of a recent major oil discovery. Researchers estimate the Lake Albert basin holds between between 2.5 and 6 billion of barrels of oil. It is the largest onshore oil discovery in sub-Saharan African in more than two decades.
There is no score card that makes sense to me, but most of the mess appears to be the work of, you guessed it, the US of A. Here’s a piece from Chris Hayes at Empire Burlesque, Leading by Example: Elites’ Apt Pupils Launch ‘Surge’ in Uganda, that does some work to try to untie things a bit.
Again, I know NOTHING about this. But further, enter “Invisible Children” as a search term and you get a page full of fund-raising and message propagation sites. No real information from a critical source…until you find Charity Navigator. The IC group apparently has loads of cash and nearly zero accountability
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There is clearly a push into “mainstream” consciousness in the US for this “charity” to serve as the humanitarian face that the US will have to protect by invading and bombing people (likely killing many of those invisible children we yearn to protect). Intervention is aggression and dispossession. It is what we do. And apparently now we sell it in our schools via dubious charities.
The manipulation of school children to serve as vehicles for propaganda is predatory and a betrayal of trust. Further proof that communities MUST protect themselves from the constant and continual dissemination of lies raining down on us.