Can You Remain Silent For 25 Hours To Speak Out About Uganda's Invisible Children?

By Karen Bliss 4/22/11 |

Uganda's Child Soldiers
Some 31,470 people have signed up for Invisible Children’s 25 campaign, asking for an individual donation of $25 and a pledge of silence for 25 hours, beginning Sunday night, April 24 at 7 p.m. and lasting until Monday April 25 at 8 p.m. Why, you ask? There is an invisible war in Africa: one man, Joseph Kony, terrorizing four countries, it states. The soldiers are abducted children forced to fight.

"For 25 years, the Lords Resistance Army has been committing terrible atrocities against innocent people in central Africa. After the LRA was driven out of northern Uganda in 2005, they have been occupying some of the most remote and isolated territory in the entire region. They are attacking communities that have virtually no way to communicate to the outside world. The cries of the victims go silent. Therefore, on April 25th thousands around the world will go silent, to speak out without speaking," a statement from Invisible Children explains.

So far, the pledges amount to $1.258 million for the protection fund, the non-profit organization’s work to protect innocent civilians from LRA violence. The money helps fund life saving communication, rehabilitation, and protection projects in the LRA-affected regions in central Africa.

With this being a family weekend, for Easter, and a work or school day for most on Monday, remaining silent for 25 hours might be difficult, if not impossible, but the originators of the idea offer some suggestions on the web site. Simply put, just try telling people you might come into contact with during those hours — family, friends, boss, teachers, coaches and co-workers — in advance, so they don’t think you are mad, playing a game, or being rude.

"However, if during the period of silence you encounter a situation where you are required to speak (a teacher demands it, your boss, a government official, etc) then use your voice," it says. "The point of this event is to be personal and peaceful, not combative or disruptive.

"If you work in an office and your boss/ co-workers are not willing to go silent for 25 hours, then maybe you could see if they would all go silent for 25 minutes or even 25 seconds. Any way that we can spread the word and get others involved would be great. Let your silence be heard."

Invisible Children also asks you to spread the word about the 25 Campaign via text, Twitter and Facebook.

In addition to the individual 25 campaign pledge, in the U.S., there are 18 cities holding two-hour events, with musical guest and a Ugandan speaker, where everyone breaks their silence en masse. To attend, one has to raise the $25 through a personalized fundraising page.

Californians Jason Russell, Laren Poole and Bobby Bailey co-founded Invisible Children when they were college students. The three filmmakers traveled to Africa in search of a story in the spring of 2003 and encountered the northern Ugandan child soldiers and child "night commuters" who walked all night to avoid getting kidnapped or killed by the LRA. The returned home and assembled the documentary Invisible Children: Rough Cut. The film ended up being viewed by millions of people and many wanted to help. The result was the creation of the non-profit Invisible Children, Inc. It is now a massive and effective movement with many more initiatives and goals beyond the 25 Campaign.

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