Can a song conquer hate?

Since 1986, Joseph Krony and his Lord’s Resistance Army have been fighting a civil war against the Ugandan government. It is Africa’s longest running conflict and has been marked by atrocities on an unfathomable level – among them the forced abduction of child soldiers. These children are often made to commit brutal acts, even killing their own friends and family members. If they are able to escape, they often continue to hide in the bush, afraid to return home to face reprisals and recrimination for their crimes.

But the women of Northern Uganda, courageous survivors of this carnage, are banding together to form farming cooperatives and communities, and singing songs to beg the children to return. To come home. To tell them they are forgiven. It’s a peace movement that started with the women’s songs and been amplified by artists around the world through The Voice Project. (Click here for the great video!)

Moving from the women of Gulu, and musician to musician, artists cover each other’s songs, video the performance, and pass the love along in a chain of hope that grows ever louder and more powerful in support of the people of Uganda who are working to wage peace and rebuild their communities. It’s not a charity, it’s a chorus of partners pitching in to fund The Voice Project’s Livelihood Programs, Micro-loans to foster individual economic empowerment, Vocational Schools to train and reintegrate former child soldiers into the community, and Legacy Scholarships. And the movement has swept up artists from Dawes to Billy Bragg, Peter Gabriel to The Submarines, and Steel Train to Babaluku – which makes for some great listening!

In fact, The Voice Project is all about listening: listening to the women’s songs, listening to the programs they’re trying to implement and what they need as a community, and engaging people around the world to listen and pay attention to what is happening there.

It’s a beautiful thing to see artists using music and dance to celebrate the Peace & Reconciliation process and contribute to the economic empowerment that will sustain it. I’m donating $100 today to the The Voice Project and the mother warriors for peace in Uganda. To join me, click here

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What Gives News Flash!

The awesome dudes who are participating in the Mongol Rally, driving a Front Line Ambulance this summer from Goodwood, England to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia (see post 3/23) are almost there! They’ve raised tons of money for Mercy Corps and have had a helluva journey — read their blog right here!

2 thoughts on “Can a song conquer hate?

  1. What a disturbing thing it is to see children carrying rifles. I was completely unaware of what was going on in Uganda, so once again you have given me an effective slap in the head. We so easily lose perspective, mesmerized by our own lives and circumstances. But you’re making a difference, on so many levels.

    • The sad thing is, it’s been going on for 26 YEARS … and now, instead of terrorizing Uganda, Krony & the LRA have moved into northern DRC and Central African Republic, as well as the Sudan…. an excellent book on this subject is The Worst Date Ever by Jane Bussman — funny, tragic, completely unexpected. Charles Taylor’s current trial for war crimes in Liberia has a lot to do with his abducting child soldiers as well —

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