Feature/Uganda/Africa : Kofi Akosah-Sarpong ponders the evil of Uganda’s horrific rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, which ritual of mass killings every Christmas has awakened the world to its malevolence expected this Christmas
Much feared for its horrendous killings of innocent people across east and central Africa, the northern Uganda based rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), as Christmas approaches, is preparing to carry out its annual rituals of mass human sacrifices.
What philosophical and theological gist drive the LRA’s exercises so much so that every Christmas they undertake mass ritualistic killings? The LRA is a bizzare mixture of sectarian Christian religion, occultism, African juju spiritual practices, tribalism, witchcraft and militarism. It was formed in 1987 and since then has emerged as one Africa’s longest and brutal rebel groups. The LRA leader Joseph Kony superstitiously believes he is the “spokesperson” of God and a spiritual channel for the Holy Spirit that manifest itself in diverse ways in him.
The LRA has the strong impression of itself that is based in apocalyptic Christianity. Confusingly, it blends all these believes with Western mystecism and African traditional occultism (or juju). In its twisted visions, the LRA aims to establish “a theocratic state based on the Ten Commandments and Acholi tradition” in Uganda. The LRA’s unspeakably devilish conducts come from its befuddled state of mind, fed constantly by gloomy visions and messages allegedly from God, the Holy Spirit or their many juju mediums. Students of evil will describe the LRA as stupid and shallow, an aspect of evil that aren’t normally considered when we discuss evil.
As the African enlightenment gains momentum, those who believe evil spirits influenced them to commit crime are seen today as unintelligent and small-minded. Human agency and not evil spirits causes crime. The LRA’s criminal enterprises, of deaths, killings, abductions, mutilations, sexual enslavement of women and children, and forcing children to participate in hostilities and jamborees of human sacrifices, make it stupid, and pychiatrically disordered.
Lance Morrow (formerly of the USA-based Time magazine and former Professor of Journalism at Boston University), author of Evil: An Investigation (2003), explained how Hannah Arendt’s study of the Nazi big-wig Adolf Eichmann trial resulted in her coining the eminent phrase “the banality of evil.” According to Morrow, Arendt wasn’t satisfied with the term and later wrote in a letter to an acquiantance that, “It is indeed my opinion now that evil is never ‘radical,’ that it is only extreme, and that it possesses neither depth nor any demonic dimension. It can overgrow and lay waste the whole world precisely because it spreads like a fungus on the surface.”
For the past 23 years the LRA’s evil have spread like fungus; from Uganda to Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic, and now control an area estimatedly the size of United Kingdom. Scientifcally, the LRA’s evil isn’t caused by any demons or visions from Satan but the groups’ human nature. All their mixed bag of prophesies, occultisms, juju, the Bible and witchcrafts are all secondary. Everything has got to do with the LRA’s human normality. Morrow will says “the normality of evil.” Morrow quotes W.H. Auden as saying, “Evil is unspectacular and always human,/And shares our bed and eats at our own table.”
It is this state of believes that has prompted aids agencies, nervous by LRA’s mass human sacrifices annually, appealing to the world to some sorts of force the rebel group not to undertake their annual Christmas mass murders in 2010. How will a group that says it draws its inspiration from the Christian Holy Bible entertain such evil thoughts? They call themselves the Lord’s Resistance Army, what in the name of the Lord are they resisting that necessitates mass killings, especially at Christmas? What actually will they achieve by undertaking mass killings every Christmas? Does the LRA know they are evil? How do they feel when they kill? How can a group be so primitive, scary and atavistic?
Such questions reveal the elusiveness of evil, how it is difficult to comprehend it, and an intellectually unmanageable issue. Regardless of these difficulties in attempting to grasp the LRA’s evil, evil is still there. The BBC, quoting aid agencies, reports that “On Christmas Day 2008 and over the following three weeks, LRA beat to death more than 800 people in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Southern Sudan, abducting hundreds more.” This isn’t the mystery of evil but the actual physical manifestations of evil, where rationale and daylight evaporate, and replaced by the LRA’s darkness. This is how evil exist; this is how evil works.
Whether in African cosmology or Judeo-Christian tradition, both of which the LRA draws its deformed values from, the group’s evil operations are stalled in extremely mysterious interpretations of both cosmologies. In African cosmology and Judeo-Christian tradition there are no injunctions for mass ritualistic killings, especially at Christmas. In this sense, the LRA resonate from the gloomy side of African cosmology and the Judeo-Christian tradition that see far-reaching evil embodied in fearlessly diabolical figures.
The Lord’s Resistance Army is the embodiment of diabolically valiant body, where Satan is comfortable at home roasting human meat for diner and washing it down with human blood, especially at Christmas where there are mass killings and human meat and blood are aplenty. In its long-running evil customs, the LRA has greatly acquired the vicious esteem of Milton’s audaciously defiant Lucifer.
Nevertheless, despite being pursued simultaneously by Uganda People’s Defence Force, Sudan People’s Liberation Army, Military of Democratic Republic of Congo and United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), the LRA, grounded in fiendish apparitions, has emerged as menacingly powerful in Africa that has embolden it to ostensibly undertake annual rituals of mass killings every Christmas.