Told through the voices of those who have suffered, this illuminating exposé examines how a forgotten region of one of Africa’s most promising nations—Uganda, dubbed "the pearl of Africa" by Winston Churchill—has been systematically destroyed by a bloody, senseless, and seemingly endless war that has gone largely unnoticed by the rest of the world. For the past 20 years, the Lord’s Resistance Army has ravaged northern Uganda and has been led by the reclusive Joseph Kony, a former witch doctor and self-professed spirit medium. Through the large-scale abduction and manipulation of children, Kony transformed his army into an efficient killing machine that has murdered nearly 100,000 and displaced two million people. Kony utilized the society's pervasive belief in witchcraft to instill cultlike convictions in his fighters. This insightful analysis delves into the war’s foundations and argues that, much like Rwanda’s genocide, international intervention is needed to stop Uganda’s virulent cycle of violence. This updated paperback edition includes a new afterword by the author that discusses developments since 2008, including failed attempts to capture Joseph Kony and the controversial Kony 2012 video.
Eichstaedt (If You Poison Us) offers a heartfelt if sometimes lopsided look at the consequences of prolonged civil war. Northern Uganda has been under siege by the rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army, or LRA, for 20 years, leading to death tolls rivaling those in Darfur, Sudan, which has garnered considerably more media attention. The LRA is known for employing brutal techniques, including mutilating community members who inform on them, kidnapping children to serve as male child soldiers or female "brides," sex slaves for rebel soldiers. Interviewing victims of these crimes, as well as perpetrators, government officials and non-governmental actors, Eichstaedt weaves a story of a decimated culture caught between merciless violence and the chaos of refugee camps. The result is a close analysis of this underreported crisis, which has only recently shown signs of abating. However, some of Eichstaedt's conclusions seem uninformed at best, including his one-sided look at religious views in Uganda, which prompt his remark, "There is no moral center of gravity here, no spiritual compass that one can hold against the horizon to escape the clamor and chaos."