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Life Beyond the Bubbles: Cognitive Dissonance and Humanitarian Impunity in Northern Uganda



Humanitarian agencies in northern Uganda have been prone to cognitive dissonance and impunity. They were drawn into anti-insurgency procedures, and implemented various policy that ignored evidence, usually driven by normative agendas. This article explores reasons why they act in that way..
Chapter 5
Life Beyond the Bubbles: Cognitive
Dissonance and Humanitarian Impunity
in Northern Uganda
Tim Allen
International humanitarians work within bubbles. There are bubbles within
bubbles and multiple overlapping bubbles. Humanitarians rely on rules and
norms—from laws or principles, to religious and biomedical values, to best
practice and ethical guidelines. The rules and norms create apparently
coherent and predictable spaces. They are reassuring and sometimes
empowering. They are the basis of what Nicholas Stockton, the former
emergencies coordinator of Oxfam, has called the humanitarian ‘‘confi-
dence trick’’ of neutrality (Stockton 1997). They also allow for thinking
that lessens individual responsibility for impossible decisions, ones that can
mean the difference between life and death. For humanitarians in the field,
they establish spaces in which the horrors they sometimes witness can be
observed from a distance or even—sometimes—not be seen at all.
That latter tendency is reinforced by life in compounds, in which a
strange semblance of life at home is replicated. I recall a Me
´decins Sans
`res (MSF) base in northwest Uganda in the 1980s with fences inside
fences. As one moved within, one passed from a place where Madi and
English were spoken to somewhere very French. I visited once with a Madi
friend and he heard a lively exchange between two French nurses. He was
amazed. ‘‘Is that language?’’ he asked me. Inside the house at the com-
pound’s center was a large room made to look like a bohemian Parisian
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Uganda: Life Beyond Bubbles 97
bar. It was an appealing refuge from a world beyond—a world populated
by very hungry, sick, and desperate people. However, as the MSF staff rec-
ognized, it set more than physical barriers. There was little connection
between them and their patients except in ward rounds at the local hospital
or at the end of an immunization campaign needle.
This is not meant to sound cynical. To work in the war zones of central
Africa requires drawing a line between empathy and self-preservation. In
many ways, the issue is even more acute for an anthropologist who wants
to be accepted as a social person by people experiencing extreme—and
maybe extremely violent—circumstances but certainly does not want to
share in all of their suffering. The MSF compound was a place of welcome
respite for me, too.
Humanitarians will always need to institutionalize engagement and, in
effect, excuse disengagement. That is acutely so for those promoting health
and well-being where such things are close to impossible goals. The com-
pounds and expatriate bars, like the rules and norms, set necessary limits to
altruism. However, there are obvious dangers. As Zoe Marriage has argued,
humanitarians can have remarkable levels of cognitive dissonance, whereby
they explain their actions and interpret events in ways that may be strangely
separated from observed realities (Marriage 2006). Often this is recognized
by humanitarians themselves. Yet they still do it. In practical terms, empha-
sis is placed on the intention to assist, and that can be at the expense of
engagement in local complexities or assessment of what exactly is being
achieved. As a consequence, humanitarians may become counterproduc-
tively imbued with a sense of probity and moral authority and, on occasion,
benefit dangerously from what Alex de Waal has termed ‘‘humanitarian
impunity’’ (de Waal 1998: 179). Cognitive dissonance and humanitarian
impunity in the war zone of Acholiland in central northern Uganda are the
focus of this chapter.
Returning to a Place Transformed by Spirit Cults, War,
and Humanitarian Assistance
In 2004, I returned to northern Uganda for the first time in more than a
decade. Arriving at Gulu, the largest town in the region affected by the
Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), I found the place almost unrecognizable.
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98 Allen
The lodge where I had stayed in 1989 was still there, although it was
now rather smarter. I had traveled with a Madi friend, Ronald Iya, and we
had shared a room with single beds, much to the annoyance of the man-
ager, who had also wanted to provide us with sex workers. The big Catholic
hospital and mission complex of Lacor, a few miles outside of town, where
I had slept in 1988, was still there too, but now it was the site of a large
night commuter center run by MSF. Each evening there was the extraordi-
nary sight of thousands of children walking from nearby internally dis-
placed person (IDP) camps to sleep there, fearing abduction from their
homes by the LRA during the night.
Despite my best efforts, however, I could not locate the house in town
where I had spent Christmas in 1984. It had been rented by a development
project that was somewhat quixotically promoting self-reliant farming and
marketing groups. I also failed to find the place I had slept two years before,
where I had drunk hot millet beer through long straws with a Iteso priest.
We had listened to the continuous sound of drums from nearby se
run by possessed healers known as ajwaki, and he had much to say about
the local Acholi people and their spirits. At the time, neither of us could
have anticipated the role some of those spirits and their ajwaki were going
to play. Two years after our conversation, events had taken everyone by
Following the takeover of the Ugandan government by Yuweri Musev-
eni in 1986 and the attempt to pacify the northern part of the country with
an army from the south, several ajwaki took on a different kind of therapy.
Most notably, Alice Auma, a young woman whose father was a possessed
Anglican catechist, had become possessed herself and had called for social
healing and purification through resisting Museveni’s forces. She proved to
be a highly charismatic figure, linking ideas drawn from Christianity and
biomedicine with Acholi notions of ritual cleansing and metaphysical reali-
ties. Her spirits taught through her that war was a means of purification.
Those who followed her commandments, which were adapted from those
in the Bible, would be saved (Allen 1991).
That year Museveni’s forces encountered hundreds of naked people
walking toward them, glistening with the oil with which Alice Auma had
anointed them. Bullets, it was believed, would not affect them as long as
they had truly adopted the new life they had been offered. Those who died
were the impure. Those who remained would inherit a better world. War,
Alice is reported to have proclaimed, is a means of removing ‘‘wrong
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Uganda: Life Beyond Bubbles 99
elements’’ on both sides. Alice came to be known as lakwena, the messen-
ger, and her followers the Holy Spirit Mobile Forces.
After incidents around Gulu in which Museveni’s terrified soldiers ran
away at the sight of Alice’s followers, the Holy Spirit movement began to
attract large numbers, including veterans of the former Ugandan army who
had previously been fighting Museveni in the region just north of Kampala
called Luwero. In 1987, Alice marched south with perhaps as many as eight
thousand. In October, they reached the swamps close to shore of Lake Vic-
toria, not far from Jinja. I was in Jinja at the time, having been asked to
attend a conference funded by the Libyan government on the future of
education in Uganda. In the course of the meeting we could not help notic-
ing that the population appeared to be leaving the town, although informa-
tion about Alice’s proximity was not shared with the Libyan delegates. In
the ensuing battle, she and her followers were pinned down and largely
wiped out. Alice herself escaped and spent the rest of her life as a refugee
in Kenya.
Museveni declared victory, but things proved more complicated and
much more intractable. Other spirit mediums continued to resist. Alice’s
father, Severino Lukwoya, possessed by God the Father, led a campaign,
until his capture, and a young man called Joseph Kony, who claimed to be
a cousin of Alice and who came from a family of male ajwaki, continued
to operate in locations close to Gulu. Several of the former Ugandan army
veterans who had been attracted to Alice or had fought in more secular
rebel factions joined this latter group, which toward the end of the 1980s
came to be known as the LRA.
The lessons of Alice’s defeat had been learned, and right from the start,
Kony’s followers operated more strategically, using small groups of combat-
ants to devastating effect in hit-and-run tactics. Always more violent than
the Holy Spirit Mobile Forces, Kony nevertheless drew on similar ideas
from Christianity and later Islam, mixing these with more traditional
Acholi notions, including ideas relating to the fearful or amoral qualities of
olum, the bush and forest, the realm beyond the home (gang).
As time passed, and especially after its main bases were relocated across
the border in what is now South Sudan, the LRA used terror ever more
readily, including against Kony’s own Acholi people. Collaboration with
Museveni was a crime to be punished. As Kony explained during a brief
period of peace talks in the mid-1990s: ‘‘If you picked up an arrow against
us and we end up cutting off the hand you used, who is to blame? You
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100 Allen
report us with your mouth, and we cut off your lips. Who is to blame? It is
you! The Bible says that if your hand, eye or mouth is at fault, it should be
cut off’’ (Allen 2006a: 42). Persistently underestimating the LRA, Museveni
found it impossible to crush the group once and for all. It became a per-
sonal issue for him. He asked his brother to take a lead in the mid-1990s,
and he even took command himself at one stage during the Iron Fist cam-
paign of 2002. These operations help explain the extraordinary transforma-
tion of Gulu.
The reason why it was so hard to recognize places in Gulu in 2004 was
because the town had been invaded by international aid agencies, the vast
majority with a humanitarian focus. They had been falling over each other
to find accommodation for their expatriate staff and to create compounds.
From a low-key engagement at the time I visited in the early 1990s, the
humanitarian presence had become overwhelming. In 2003, the coordi-
nated appeal by relief organizations working in the region had resulted in
more than US$120 million. Over a hundred agencies had been involved
in that process, and most of them had a presence in Gulu (UNOCHA
2005). In addition to the main UN agencies, there were religious organiza-
tions, countless international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)—
including MSF, Caritas, the Association of Volunteers in International
Service (AVSI), Save the Children, World Vision, War Child, and Oxfam—
and numerous internally funded Ugandan civil society and human rights
Gulu was also now the site of multiple night commuter centers, in addi-
tion to the one at Lacor, as well as reception centers, ostensibly for the
thousands of children who had spent time in LRA captivity. In addition,
Gulu appeared to have become a major center for programs dealing with
HIV/AIDS. Indeed, it proved impossible to discover how many institutions
were engaged in projects responding to HIV/AIDS. There were signs every-
where advertising different initiatives, and there was a spectacular new
multistory building under construction for The AIDS Support Organisation
All around town, new bars and restaurants had opened to cater to a
clientele with money to spend. Several boasted satellite television. The most
expensive hotel was owned by an army commander and was the main
hangout for UN officials, ambassadors, and visiting journalists. The profits
were being plowed into the construction of a swimming pool and a well-
equipped gym. Whereas back in the 1980s and early 1990s the only means
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Uganda: Life Beyond Bubbles 101
of communication with my family was through the rather haphazard postal
service, now I was able to talk to my wife on my mobile phone. I could
report on the action in an Arsenal football match taking place close to
where we live in London, because it was being shown on televisions in the
towns of northern Uganda’s war zone to enthusiastic local football support-
ers. It seemed bizarre and became more so as I investigated further.
Population Displacement and ‘‘Moral Outrage’
When I had traveled to Gulu in 1988, it had been by motorbike from Moyo,
the Madi-speaking district west of Gulu. I was accompanied by an MSF
logistician. For much of the journey we were surprised by the lack of peo-
ple. From Atiak, near the border with Sudan, we saw hardly anyone except
at the small township of Pabbo. There was no sign of the Ugandan army
until we reached our destination. Even Lacor hospital, located just outside
of Gulu, was left unguarded, and we were told that the LRA would some-
times arrive there at night in search of medicine, as well as new recruits.
The reason for the absence of soldiers along the route was apparently
because the LRA had attacked the barracks at Bibia (near the border town-
ship of Atiak) a few weeks earlier. They had put the garrison to flight and
had carried away a large quantity of weapons. When we arrived in Gulu we
were promptly arrested by two men in dark glasses who turned out to
be army security officers. We were taken to the barracks where we were
interrogated for several hours, accused of being Red Cross spies. Apparently
no one was driving on the road to the Sudan border except the Red Cross,
who were alleged to be assisting the LRA. In the end we were released, after
offering motorbike driving lessons to the commander.
Later in 1988, the army carried out a series of anti-insurgency opera-
tions in the course of which people still living in their villages were abused
by soldiers, and ever larger numbers were encouraged or compelled to take
refuge near Gulu or one of the other large towns. However, by the time I
returned to Gulu in September 1989 with my Madi friend, the troops had
returned to their urban barracks and had been roundly criticized in the
Ugandan press because the LRA had managed to launch an attack in Gulu
town itself and release prisoners from the jail. The road was again largely
empty, although we did come across a small group of soldiers at one point.
We also encountered a huddle of people standing by a car parked in the
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102 Allen
middle of the road. They flagged us down with obvious relief. It turned out
to be a senior district official and his staff. Their car had run out of fuel
and it was already late afternoon. They were frightened about being stuck
on the road at night, anticipating that they would be an LRA target. We
provided them with gasoline from a reserve supply we were carrying. Per-
haps, as a consequence, during that visit we had no problem with the army,
and we were able to spend time interviewing staff members of agencies
involved with relief and assistance activities.
Alice Auma’s father, Severino Lukwoya, had recently been captured,
and in expectation that Kony would also soon be defeated, efforts were
being made to encourage thousands of displaced villagers, dependent on
food handouts around Gulu, to return home. The few aid organizations
working in the area at the time were active in encouraging such a return by
cutting rations and supplying seeds. In retrospect this was connected with
the tragedy that followed, turning northern Uganda into what Jan Egelund,
UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency
Relief Coordinator, was to call in November 2003 ‘‘the biggest forgotten,
neglected humanitarian emergency in the world’’ and ‘‘a moral outrage’’
(‘‘War’’ 2003). When I was conducting research in northern Uganda in
2004 and 2005, it was not hard to see why he had been so appalled.
By that time, a policy of encouraging the population to leave Gulu and
return to their farms had become a massive operation. In 1996, the Ugan-
dan government adopted a policy of compelling the population to settle in
these camps. Beginning in September that year, numerous serious abuses
were reported by human rights groups, including the bombing of villages
and the burning of homesteads and granaries (Amnesty International
1999). However, cultivation of land around the camps proved to be unsafe
so, far from resolving dependence of food relief, an international humani-
tarian role had become ever more essential. This was recognized right from
the start by humanitarian agencies on the ground. A UN Department of
Humanitarian Affairs report noted in December 1996: ‘‘ ‘ Whether or not
protected villages develop over the coming weeks will also depend on the
ability of aid agencies to provide the services which are lacking, and cer-
tainly beyond the means of the local authorities’ ’’ (‘‘Uganda’’ 1996, quoted
in Branch 2008, Branch 2011: 93).
The choices aid agencies made at that point and the continued assis-
tance provided to these so-called protected villages over the coming years
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Uganda: Life Beyond Bubbles 103
are what made the mass forced displacement of over a million people a
possibility. In essence, humanitarians were drawn into an anti-insurgency
strategy by the Ugandan government and its army. That strategy combined
discouraging settlement in the bigger towns with removing the population
from their homes so that they could be contained and controlled. It would
appear, too, that leading humanitarian agencies, including the UN Depart-
ment of Humanitarian Affairs, were well aware of what was happening and
decided to go along with it. At that time, President Museveni’s Uganda was
viewed very positively by international aid donors, and there was doubtless
reluctance to draw attention to problems in the north. In addition, the LRA
was easy to demonize.
By late 2004, the road north of Gulu to Atiak, like other parts of the
war-affected region, was dotted with what were now termed IDP camps,
including an enormous one at Pabbo. As predicted in 1996, the provision of
services by aid agencies was crucial to sustaining them. They were entirely
dependent on regular distributions from the World Food Programme
(WFP). It had become a huge logistical exercise. The language of protected
villages had been set aside, as had the circumstances of their origin. For aid
agencies and for the government, the camps were explained as a direct
result of LRA atrocities. Each was supposed to be allocated an armed guard,
usually of local defense units rather than formally recognized soldiers and
mostly made up of very young men with little interest in actually fighting.
In effect, the camps were internment centers, and residents found outside
of them were at risk of being treated as LRA sympathizers.
The vast majority of IDP camps were located far from Gulu town. They
were also not easy to reach without army escorts. The international aid staff
members that went out to them had to travel in convoy, with expatriates
mainly in cars provided with ballistic blankets. Visiting some camps
required the use of bullet-proof armored vehicles, helmets, and flak jackets.
It was considered dangerous to be outside of Gulu at night, and interna-
tional staff were strongly discouraged from doing so. This meant that the
IDPs tended to be reached for brief periods in the middle of the day. Food
and other supplies were delivered, and then the humanitarians would
quickly return to base. If the original military strategy for establishing set-
tlements was to forcibly isolate the Acholi people from the LRA and prevent
the rebels from assessing food, it failed. After a distribution, the LRA would
be expected to come for their share during the night. They would also
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104 Allen
recruit, often by force. Thousands of children and young adults were taken
away, many of whom were never seen again. The consequences of not
collaborating could be dire.
In May 2004, for example, an FM radio broadcast from Gulu about the
welcome given to former LRA combatants who had surrendered at Pagak
prompted an LRA response. During the night, approximately twenty young
mothers were taken to the edge of the camp with their babies tied to their
backs. They were made to lie in rows, facedown in the bush scrub, and then
had their heads smashed, one after another—their babies, too. This was
one of the incidents investigated by the International Criminal Court
(ICC), resulting in warrants for the LRA leadership the following year
(Allen 2006a: 182–195). No warrants, however, have been issued for those
responsible for establishing the IDP camps in the first place or sustaining
their existence. Many have asked, why not?
By 2004, there were more than 200 of these camps, concentrating more
than 1.3 million people in dreadful conditions. Several were truly appalling
places. Indeed, reported mortality rates were higher than I had encountered
anywhere in my years of working in African war zones. Surveys conducted
by MSF in five IDP camps found a crude mortality rate (CMR) of 2.8
deaths per 10,000 people per day for the general population (MSF 2004).
The mortality rate was even more alarming among children under five years
of age: 5.2 deaths per 10,000 children a day, with the rate as high as 10.5
deaths per 10,000 children a day in one location where people were living
side by side with overflowing pit latrines. I visited that place myself; people
were covered in their own excrement. The MSF survey found that the three
main causes of illness were malaria/fever (47 percent), respiratory diseases
(28 percent), and diarrheal diseases (21 percent). At some camps, such as
the huge one that had sprung up at Pabbo, cholera was a constant threat.
In 2005, a larger survey was carried out in collaboration with the World
Health Organization (WHO) that was designed to be representative of all
IDP camps. The report confirmed the seriousness of the situation, describ-
ing excess mortality as ‘‘staggering.’’ The overall CMR was assessed to be
1.54 per 10,000, and CMR for children under five was 3.18 per 10,000
(WHO 2005).
The response among most of the humanitarian personnel based in
Gulu, as well as by the Ugandan government, to the publication of these
data was skepticism. The MSF survey in particular was dismissed by most
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Uganda: Life Beyond Bubbles 105
of those government officials and aid staff interviewed in Gulu as exagger-
ated and not based on appropriate sampling. The camps, it seemed, were
not viewed as that bad. After all, a host of agencies were providing them
with food and other items. However, whatever the merits of criticisms
about the survey methods used by MSF, this seemed an oddly confident
point of view, given the brief visits that most urban-based government
officials aid workers made to locations outside of Gulu. Because staying the
night in a camp was generally viewed as too risky, the perceptions of almost
all international humanitarian workers were based on daytime encounters
and on stories circulating in the Gulu bars that took on the status of obvi-
ous facts. What follows are three examples of the ways in which readily
available evidence and humanitarian perceptions diverged.
The Example of HIV/AIDS
An issue raised by some of those wanting to dismiss the MSF (2004) survey
was the fact that HIV/AIDS morbidity and mortality were not emphasized.
An almost universally accepted view among humanitarians in Gulu was
that the pandemic was out of control because of the LRA and the Ugandan
army. This was also reported in the international media as well as in aid
agency reports (e.g., Wallis 2004). A BBC report at the time stated that
‘‘doctors say’’ about half the girls who escape from the rebels are found to
be HIV positive (BBC 2004). Such concerns about HIV/AIDS were men-
tioned to explain the presence in Gulu of so many organizations with a
focus on the disease. But it appeared that very few of them were doing any
systematic monitoring, and even staff interviewed at TASO had no clear
idea about local incidence or prevalence rates. Most mentioned a World
Vision report, and this was also cited in some of the media accounts.
World Vision had been working in Gulu for many years and ran one of
the two largest reception centers for people returning from periods with
the LRA. An investigation of their records in 2005 suggested that approxi-
mately ten thousand former abductees and former combatants, a high pro-
portion of them children, had been processed at the World Vision center.
Most were said to have been reunited with their families. In 2004, World
Vision published a substantial overview on the situation in northern
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106 Allen
Uganda, highlighting the role they had played in providing care and assis-
tance. With respect to HIV/AIDS it made the following claim:
protracted civil war threatens to unravel the country’s dramatic
improvements as AIDS rates skyrocket in the country’s northern
region. . . . [T]he 18-year war between the Ugandan government
and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) . . . has increased the
HIV rates in parts of the north to 11.9%—nearly double the rest of
the country. . . . Many women, especially those in the displacement
camps, find that they can only get food, soap or money in exchange
for sex. Girls who are abducted by the LRA are often given to com-
manders as ‘‘wives’’ and sex slaves. Those who ‘‘night commute’’
and sleep in the cities to avoid abduction are often raped there.
(World Vision 2004)
However, the World Vision reception center had no testing facilities for
HIV/AIDS and had not collected any prevalence data. So where did this
information come from? An author of the report, based in the United
States, was passing through Gulu at one point, so I asked her. She seemed
annoyed when I raised the issue. When pushed, she admitted that she had
found it on the Internet. I observed that it seemed to be a problem that
international media organizations were now making statements about HIV/
AIDS in northern Uganda, based on a World Vision report that itself was
derived from an unreferenced Internet source. She robustly disagreed. She
was not an academic researcher but someone trying to deal with real issues,
and it was perfectly acceptable to use statements about HIV/AIDS for fund-
raising purposes.
An alternative perspective was that it would be better to be more cautious
about foregrounding HIV/AIDS, not because it was unimportant but because
it deflected attention from other acute health problems in the camps and led
to misleading ideas about the LRA and the war. People were obviously dying,
but equally obviously AIDS was not the main reason. My visits to the IDP
camps made me wonder why cholera was not more commonly reported than
it was. There were repeated outbreaks in Pabbo, but elsewhere there appeared
to be inadequate monitoring of what was happening. What was obvious,
however, to anyone who was willing to see was that people were being forced
ditions. Mortality rates were shockingly high, but it was hard to understand
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Uganda: Life Beyond Bubbles 107
One Italian humanitarian medical program, AVSI, was doing its best to
counter the established views, although it seemed to have little effect on the
approaches of the other NGOs. AVSI, which is aligned with the Catholic
Church, has a long-term commitment to the region and was doing rather
more serious work on HIV/AIDS. It was working closely with HIV-positive
people and in particular attempting to limit mother-to-child transmission,
which was a relatively new approach at the time. AVSI activities were linked
with various hospitals, including the Catholic mission hospital at Lacor,
which was also collecting information on the HIV status of its patients.
World Vision’s figure of 11.9 percent was doubtless derived in some way
from antenatal surveillance at Lacor, where that rate had been recorded in
2002. This was slightly higher than at other sentinel surveillance sites in the
country during that year and double the national average for all Uganda’s
sentinel surveillance sites. However, the 2002 Lacor rate actually indicated
a dramatic decline from the rate of 27.1 percent recorded at that site in
1992 (Allen 2006b). In addition, antenatal surveillance carried out by AVSI
at hospitals elsewhere in the region revealed that the rates recorded at Lacor
were not the norm. Data collected between 2002 and 2004 indicated preva-
lence rates from 4.6 to 9.9 percent (Ciantia 2004).
There was, moreover, little to suggest that rates of HIV were directly
connected with the LRA. The LRA certainly did terrible things, and
abducted adolescent girls were given to commanders as ‘‘wives.’’ However,
there were also rules about sexual behavior within the LRA, which seem to
have been followed most of the time. Although the reception centers in
Gulu did not carry out systematic testing, one based in Lira town did do
so. The rate of those found to be HIV-positive was less than 1 percent.
Overall, the readily available evidence suggested that although atrocious
sexual abuses had occurred, military activities and rape were not leading to
a rise in HIV/AIDS rates. On the contrary, the mass forced displacement of
the population in camps had coincided with a recorded decline in infection.
Anti-insurgency strategies were actually containing the spread of HIV and
the most serious risk factor was not abduction by the LRA but proximity
to urban locations. An implication was that rates might be driven up by an
end of the war, and the resulting movement of IDP populations toward
towns (Allen 2006b). Additionally, all available evidence indicated that the
most immediate and serious public health concerns related to living condi-
tions in the IDP camps. However, those issues appeared not to be a priority
for medical humanitarian activity; indeed they were in practice largely
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108 Allen
ignored. It was hard not to draw the conclusion that the proliferation of
humanitarian agencies running HIV/AIDS projects, most of which seemed
to be doing almost nothing, was a product of the availability of funds and
only marginally related the immediate and very acute needs of the popu-
The Example of the Really ‘‘Invisible Children’
Another example of humanitarian cognitive dissonance was perhaps the
most sensational aspect of the situation, at least in terms of media coverage.
The Invisible Children YouTube documentaries have provided emotionally
charged images of children coming into Gulu for the night, and every jour-
nalist who visited the town wanted photographs of the phenomenon. In
2004, an estimated twenty thousand children were taking refuge nightly in
eleven of the biggest commuter centers, including the one mentioned ear-
lier run by MSF at Lacor hospital. They were a primary focus of interna-
tional humanitarian activity in the town even though there was awareness
among those running them that fear of the LRA in the immediate vicinity
of Gulu was not the only factor prompting these nocturnal migrations and
not necessarily the most important. Adults wanted privacy in cramped liv-
ing spaces at home, and electricity at the centers meant that children could
do homework there and socialize. However, there was something else that
made the concentration on night commuting as a strategy very peculiar
indeed. It was manifestly obvious that there were hundreds of thousands of
children living in camps too far from the town to walk. They remained
isolated in the dark, surrounded by olum (the bush), that haunt of the LRA
who might arrive at any moment. There was a curious lack of interest in
these children, perhaps because they were less easy to see. They were real
invisible children.
Also in Gulu were the reception centers mentioned earlier. More of
them were located in other towns in the region, notably Kitgum, Lira, and
Pader. They were funded by international aid and in most cases run directly
or indirectly by international NGOs. Data collected from all these reception
centers in 2005 established that approximately thirty thousand returnees
from the LRA had passed through them (Allen and Schomerus 2006). The
majority of the reception centers, and the two biggest in Gulu, were meant
to deal specifically with children. This was because so much funding was
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Uganda: Life Beyond Bubbles 109
available for children, particularly for child mothers—the abducted girls
given to LRA commanders as wives. Partly as a result of the night com-
muter issue, the LRA war was perceived as a conflict largely involving very
young people who had been forced to take up arms or who had been
viciously abused. In fact, as already noted, there were old army veterans in
the LRA ranks and, according to readily available UNICEF data collected
from local councils, most of those abducted or choosing to join the LRA
were young adults. The majority of these never passed through a formal
reception center, which proved to be a complication with respect to issuing
amnesty certificates. In addition, even the reception centers that were sup-
posed to deal only with children in practice received numbers of adults,
too, some of whom still asserted their LRA rank among the inmates.
According to those reception centers’ own records, the average age of arriv-
als was eighteen.
Nonetheless, there certainly were thousands of children passing through
the centers, and there is no doubt that a considerable portion of them had
been forced to perform dreadful acts. It was common for those who had
survived and returned to have severely beaten or killed their own close
friends and relatives. One boy told me that when he refused to do so, the
heads of LRA victims were cut off and hung around his neck. More were
added until he agreed to kill someone himself. A few described being made
to beat their own parents to death.
During the reception process, the army handed returnees over to the
staff of the walled centers. They could not leave without permission and
were prepared for a return to the ‘‘community.’’ They were fed and clothed
and given ‘‘psychosocial’’ support, usually for a few weeks (Allen and
Schomerus 2006). The type of psychosocial treatment that returnees re-
ceived varied from center to center. At the World Vision center in Gulu, it
involved regular group meetings where inmates were encouraged to talk
about what had happened to them. It also entailed quite a bit of collective
praying. At other centers, there was an emphasis on externalizing trauma
by reenacting events and drawing pictures. However, in almost all cases,
psychosocial treatment was not administered by trained therapists. Once
the children and adults were deemed to have adjusted adequately, the policy
was to take them home and reunite them with their families. I was told that
this was usually the right thing to do because family reintegration was ‘best
practice’ according to the Cape Town Principles (UNICEF 1997). A few
returnees resisted this prospect, particularly child mothers whose children
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110 Allen
were the offspring of senior commanders in the LRA, including Joseph
Kony himself, but most had no option.
In practice, reuniting returnees with their families meant taking poten-
tially very disturbed people to one of the IDP camps and leaving them
there. In 2004, at the World Vision center alone, records for about ten
thousand returnees were found. They were stored in cupboards, some of
which were locked and the keys lost. They had never been looked at since
being collected, and there had been no individual follow-up. Thousands of
similar records were found at the other centers. In the overwhelming
majority of cases there had been no follow-up at all. Vulnerable young
people, including children, had mostly been left in the IDP camps to fend
for themselves, surrounded by relatives who might well know what they
had been made to do. Was this really ‘‘best practice’’? Perhaps it could be
argued that thousands of returnees could not be housed at reception centers
in Gulu and the big towns indefinitely, but did that justify dumping them
in locations that were too dangerous to visit except in the middle of the
day and with a military escort?
I was able to find a few such returnees (Allen 2006a). The boy who had
been burdened with severed heads was living with his mother in a camp
near the South Sudan border. A few feet away lived a woman. At each
corner of her cramped compound was a grave of one of her children. Sitting
with her as it became dark, I asked her if she forgave those who had mur-
dered her babies. She said she did. I told her I would not be able to do that.
We sat quietly for a while. Then I noticed she was crying. She murmured,
almost beyond hearing, that she could not look on people with bad eyes,
but she knew who had done those things. That night there was an LRA
ambush on some soldiers nearby. The gunfire made some cry out. They
said it made them remember things. It was at that moment that the boy
who had been made to carry the severed heads told me that he, too, had
killed people. In 2005, I led a team that tried to systematically track down
a 10 percent sample of those who had been sent out to the camps from the
reception centers (Allen and Schomerus 2006). We found many living like
this boy, next to bereaved neighbors. Others had disappeared without trace.
The Example of Mato Oput
There are many other examples that could be used to highlight how the
humanitarian agencies in Gulu seemed to operate in a self-reverential and
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Uganda: Life Beyond Bubbles 111
contained space in which realities were kept at bay. However, what struck
me as the weirdest example of all was the obsession with a certain ritual
called mato oput.
One reason I returned to northern Uganda in 2004 was to investigate
the implications of the formal referral of the situation in northern Uganda
to the ICC by President Museveni’s government. This had occurred in
December 2003 and had opened up the possibility of international criminal
prosecutions in The Hague for individuals accused of the most serious
crimes perpetrated in the region. I was amazed to find almost all the
humanitarian agencies on the ground opposed to that process (Allen
2006a). Some were vociferous, arguing that to impose formal judicial proc-
esses would only endanger those most vulnerable, notably abducted chil-
dren. Among other things, it was suggested that the LRA would have no
incentive to release the children, because they might end up testifying
against the group’s commanders. The way forward, it was proposed,
involved drawing on Acholi customs of forgiveness, healing, and cleansing.
In particular, there was a focus on mato oput, a ritual in which someone
who had committed a terrible crime would drink a concoction made from
bitter roots and a slaughtered sheep, together with a representative of the
victim’s family. Numerous humanitarian agencies were funding these cere-
monies as well as supporting the performance of other rituals, such as one
that involved stepping on eggs, which were sometimes confusingly grouped
under the same name. They were also funding the establishment of a coun-
cil of traditional chiefs to implement these processes and were involved in
the selection and eventual crowning of an Acholi paramount chief, a posi-
tion that had never previously existed.
Although I was fascinated by the rituals and the debates about their
meanings, much of this struck me as absurd. I had lived among Acholi
people for two years in the mid-1980s, and I had never come across mato
oput. It seems to have been linked to specific clans and had been fore-
grounded in a report written by the anthropologist and Christian activist
Dennis Pain in the late 1990s (Pain 1997). Pain had argued the following:
Acholi traditional resolution of conflict and violence stands among
the highest practices anywhere in the world. After factual investiga-
tion, it requires acknowledgment of responsibility by the offender,
followed by repentance and then payment of compensation, leading
to reconciliation through mato oput, the shared drinking of a bitter
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112 Allen
juice from a common gourd. This practice of reconciliation lies at
the heart of a traditional approach to ‘‘cooling’’ the situation and
healing the land and restoring relationships, far beyond the limited
approaches of conservative western legal systems and a formal
amnesty for offences against the state. . . . All Acholi know that
because of atrocities, particularly against children. . . . all involved
must go through mato oput reconciliation.
By no means was everyone convinced about this approach (Bradbury
1999). Nevertheless, Pain’s assessment proved appealing to humanitarian
organizations and even to some human rights activists. Following Pain’s
advice, a system of alternative governance was promoted, grounded in ideas
about patriarchal chiefs known as rwodi. By the time I returned to the
region in 2004, these rwodi and the paramount chief elect were performing
various public rituals with funding from international agencies. It proved a
popular idea with journalists. As an article in the New York Times reported:
‘‘The International Criminal Court at The Hague represents one way of
holding those who commit atrocities responsible for their crimes. The raw
eggs, twigs and livestock that the Acholi people of northern Uganda use in
their traditional reconciliation ceremonies represent another’’ (Lacey 2005).
These performances, mostly paid for by international agencies, were
intended to lead to a welcoming back of abducted children, alongside the
LRA commanders who would be ritually cleansed and forgiven. At one level
it was hard to take the idea very seriously, but some of those supporting it
were passionate about it and did not take criticism lightly. Even drawing
attention to earlier literature on Acholi culture was considered provocative.
As I have pointed out in detail elsewhere, there was a great deal of what
Hobsbawm and Ranger called the ‘‘invention of tradition’’ occurring
(Hobsbawm and Ranger 1992, Allen 2008). Cognitive dissonance on the
issue was extreme, or at least seemed to be.
Although there were certainly a few activists who thought that institu-
tionalizing and formalizing a particular ritual was the best chance of draw-
ing the LRA out of the bush, it is hard to believe that most were genuinely
convinced. It did not take much probing to find other reasons for promot-
ing the strategy. One explanation, which a few of those interviewed were
willing to state openly, was that there was a need to have some sort of voice
for the local population that was not mediated by the Ugandan govern-
ment. Another was that the LRA emphasized its own version of Acholi
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Uganda: Life Beyond Bubbles 113
traditions, and so traditional authority figures might draw them into nego-
tiations. To some extent that proved to be the case. The Acholi chiefs,
including the newly created paramount chief, were much involved in the
negotiations with the LRA that commenced in 2006. So was Ronald Iya, the
Madi friend who visited Gulu with me back in 1989. One fallout of the
funding to establish traditional systems among the Acholi was that some
neighboring groups were also drawn into the process. Iya became the equiv-
alent of the Madi paramount chief and was in the group that met Kony
during the peace talks, including the last meeting, just before the U.S.-
backed attack on the LRA base in the Democratic Republic of Congo in
However, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that there was another rea-
son why many humanitarians in Gulu were enthusiastic about a concocted
hybrid form of traditional justice and were hostile to the ICC. That reason
relates to the practical implications of the ICC’s mandate to end impunity
for the worst of crimes. For some of the agencies on the ground, there were
things they had done that would not stand up to scrutiny if rigorously
investigated according to such a criterion, particularly if the ICC turned its
attention to how the situation had come about. Mass forced displacement
of the kind that occurred in northern Uganda potentially falls under the
ICC’s jurisdiction, and humanitarian agencies had been involved in facili-
tating it for years.
Conclusion: Life Beyond the Bubbles
Describing life beyond humanitarian bubbles can be threatening to those
living within them; many have found my analyses presented in this chapter
controversial. The reaction of the World Vision author mentioned was a
mild example. Others have been furious. When my book on the ICC was
published (Allen 2006a), an article in New Vision, the main government-
owned newspaper in Uganda, noted: ‘‘He has not got it yet, but many in
Gulu believe London School of Economics researcher Tim Allen, deserves
the title of most unpopular foreigner in town’’ (Were 2006). However, I am
by no means the only one making these points, and some have gone much
further than I have.
For instance, Chris Dolan has described the IDP camps as a ‘‘social
torture’’ (Dolan 2011) and Sverker Finnstro
¨m has called them ‘‘enforced
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114 Allen
domination’’ (Finnstro
¨m 2008). Both have been scathingly critical of the
ways in which humanitarian agencies effectively ended up supporting and
funding systematic and large-scale abuse. Dolan describes in detail in his
book ‘‘interventions with the stated intention of doing good and the
observed impact of doing considerable harm’’ (Dolan 2011: 18). Adam
Branch has documented the process through which humanitarians became
complicit in doing such harm (Branch 2008, Branch 2011: 92–98). He
shows how in 1996 the World Food Programme and other agencies, includ-
ing MSF, Oxfam, World Vision, and UNICEF, were well aware that the
camps had military objectives and knowingly, if reluctantly, became
involved. He and Dolan also show how, in the course of time, the LRA
atrocities allowed humanitarian agencies to ‘‘rewrite’’ events. No longer was
the need for IDP camps questioned, but it was accepted as a fact and
blamed on the rebels. Ideologically, violence and death were reframed as a
purely humanitarian problem to be solved by foreign aid agencies (Dolan
2005: 335, Branch 2008: 157, Branch 2011: 99). Branch argues that humani-
tarian impunity in such circumstances is unacceptable and that ideally there
should be criminal prosecutions (Branch 2011: 112–113).
Perhaps this pushes the point too far. After all, the same humanitarian
agencies supported my research and that of other critics, and they have not
actually discouraged us from doing further fieldwork—far from it. Does
that mean that we as researchers are in some way accountable, too? Also
it was MSF that reported the mortality rates in the camps, highlighting
humanitarian failure and implicitly questioning the organization’s own
continued engagement. Similarly, it was another medical organization,
AVSI, that published more accurate assessments of HIV/AIDS, making
claims of other agencies look spurious, to the say the least. Mistakes were
certainly made, and apparent cognitive dissonance was doubtless partly a
defensive response to recognizing that fact. When asked in subsequent years
why things had become so tragically absurd, some of those involved talked
about the pressures of keeping donors happy and making impossible
choices on a daily basis without much space to think strategically. One
shrugged and remarked: ‘‘We meant well.’’ There was no intent to harm.
Nevertheless, it was a situation in which humanitarians working in their
bubbles and meaning well allowed terrible things to occur. Olara Otunnu,
former UN Under-Secretary General and Special Representative for Children
and Armed Conflict, is even more extreme than Branch in his criticism. His
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Uganda: Life Beyond Bubbles 115
ire is primarily directed at the Ugandan government rather than the humani-
tarian agencies, but in his view, the IDP camps and the process of maintain-
ing them constituted genocide (Otunnu 2009). The case he has made has
been largely ignored, even though it is in many respects stronger than the
case made for calling what occurred in Darfur genocide (Allen 2011). How
can it be possible that in Sudan we have a warrant issued by the ICC for the
arrest of President Bashir while in Uganda, President Museveni was able to
host the International Criminal Statute Review conference near Kampala in
2010, with hundreds of international agencies enthusiastically participating?
Is it unreasonable to suggest that part of the reason is that many of those
international agencies were directly and indirectly complicit in large-scale
abuses linked to anti-insurgency responses to the LRA?
Visiting northern Uganda now, it all seems like a bad dream. The LRA,
having lost access to their bases in South Sudan, moved to the Democratic
Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. Joseph Kony contin-
ues to terrorize, far from his home, in locations where there are many other
marauding factions. Back in Gulu, life is transforming again. There is a new
supermarket, and cafe
´s where it is possible to have a cappuccinos. The
camps outside the town have disappeared or turned into small towns.
Among the Acholi people, there is often now a reluctance to dwell on
the details of what happened—or rather a ready resort to a standardized
narrative. But most know very well what they experienced, and they have
to negotiate the consequences. Moral norms and modes of arbitration
remain issues of concern, although there is much less talk of mato oput.
The agencies funding the rituals have mostly lost interest or left. As the
population returns to old farms, land disputes are intense and social con-
trols difficult to regulate. Rape is, if anything, more prevalent now than
before. A recent anthropological study by Holly Porter found that of the
187 randomly selected women she interviewed in two villages, one located
close to Gulu town and the other in a more rural area, 76 had been raped,
several more than once (Porter 2013). Many live near their rapists, under
pressure to preserve a degree of social harmony. Meanwhile, HIV rates
have started to rise with the relative improvements in living standards and
increased migration into urban areas. According to a study of pregnant
women in Gulu, the rate of HIV infection rose from 9.4 percent in 2008 to
16 percent in 2009 (Mascolini 2010). Other studies confirm the trend
(Kitara et al. 2013). However, humanitarian agencies with a myopic focus
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116 Allen
on HIV/AIDS and the LRA during the war have mostly moved on elsewhere
or shifted priorities to reconstruction and development.
In the summer months, scores of college students arrive in Gulu from
North America and Europe. They come to understand the situation they
have seen in the Invisible Children videos and end up wondering where that
situation has gone. Indeed, unless one knows about the history of reception
centers and night commuters, one might imagine those things happened
somewhere else or perhaps simply long ago. It appears that everyone wants
to move on, including the government, which is now looking for votes in
the north with a passion. Almost all international aid staff are new. They
are mostly young, enthusiastic, eager to help, and poorly informed. As else-
where, the lived memories of international humanitarians operating in
northern Uganda are short, and institutionalized amnesia prevails. There is
impunity in that, too.
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... children who walked into the main towns at dusk and slept there to avoid abduction), were lobbying for such a response. However, humanitarian organizations providing food aid had been involved in setting up the camp system back in the 1990s, partly to avoid the population becoming concentrated near the big towns (Allen 2015;Branch 2011). Along similar lines, concerns were expressed in coordination meetings about expanding facilities for children and young adults in Gulu having the effect of attracting ever larger influxes, including families living in the camps wanting opportunities for their children that could not be met. ...
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Read intrduciton + conclusion via eDuke: Since 1986, the Acholi people of northern Uganda have lived in the crossfire of a violent civil war, with the Lord’s Resistance Army and other groups fighting the Ugandan government. Acholi have been murdered, maimed, and driven into displacement. Thousands of children have been abducted and forced to fight. Many observers have perceived Acholiland and northern Uganda to be an exception in contemporary Uganda, which has been celebrated by the international community for its increased political stability and particularly for its fight against AIDS. These observers tend to portray the Acholi as war-prone, whether because of religious fanaticism or intractable ethnic hatreds. In Living with Bad Surroundings, Sverker Finnström rejects these characterizations and challenges other simplistic explanations for the violence in northern Uganda. Foregrounding the narratives of individual Acholi, Finnström enables those most affected by the ongoing “dirty war” to explain how they participate in, comprehend, survive, and even resist it. Finnström draws on fieldwork conducted in northern Uganda between 1997 and 2006 to describe how the Acholi—especially the younger generation, those born into the era of civil strife—understand and attempt to control their moral universe and material circumstances. Structuring his argument around indigenous metaphors and images, notably the Acholi concepts of good and bad surroundings, he vividly renders struggles in war and the related ills of impoverishment, sickness, and marginalization. In this rich ethnography, Finnström provides a clear-eyed assessment of the historical, cultural, and political underpinnings of the civil war while maintaining his focus on Acholi efforts to achieve “good surroundings,” viable futures for themselves and their families.
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This thesis explores responses to rape in the Acholi sub-region of northern Uganda, based on three years of participant observation plus in-­depth interviews with a random sample of 187 women from two villages. The issues examined lie at the intersection of two ongoing discussions in scholarship and practice and contributes to each of them: wrongdoing and justice, and sexual violence and rape. Northern Uganda is at the heart of international justice debates. Fierce controversy followed the 2005 announcement of the International Criminal Court’s intervention in ongoing conflict between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Government of Uganda. Two opposing representations of Acholi society emerged: that Acholi were innately forgiving -­ able to deal with mass crime through traditional justice; or that they needed and often supported formal legal justice. But this missed crucial aspects of Acholi realities, which this study illustrates, most basically the profound value of social harmony, and a deep distrust of distanced authorities to dispense justice in their interest. Many scholars and practitioners assume that in the aftermath of crime, justice must be done. Amongst Acholi, I have found, the primary moral imperative in the wake of wrongdoing is not punishment of the perpetrator or individual victim’s rights but the restoration of social harmony. Experience of rape and harm it causes are predicated on understandings of wrongdoing related to challenges posed to social harmony. Similarly, an appropriate remedy depends not only on the act of forced sex itself, but also on the social role of the perpetrator and social context. This thesis adds empirical, locally-­grounded, and culturally-­specific evidence in support of a more complicated and nuanced explanation of rape and its aftermath than is familiar in the analytical/normative frameworks familiar in post-­atrocity justice debates or anti-­rape feminist activist discourse. It suggests reimagining the meanings of these phenomena along lived continuums: before, during and after war; and acknowledging the role of sex, power and politics in all sexual experiences on a spectrum of coercion and enthusiastic consent.
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Given that humanitarian organizations can often be responsible for enabling, prolonging or intensifying violence and conflict through their interventions into war zones, it is important that these organizations, despite their presumed neutrality and beneficence, be held accountable for the deleterious consequences of their actions. The case of northern Uganda will be used to demonstrate how humanitarian agencies have made possible the government's counterinsurgency, including its policy of mass forced displacement and internment, which has led to a vast humanitarian crisis. The Ugandan government policy will be assessed as a war crime, making aid agencies accessories to this crime. This case study is used as an example to highlight that processes which demand the post-conflict accountability of those responsible for violence may be dramatically incomplete, and unjust, if they do not include the humanitarian agencies. In conclusion it will be suggested that if humanitarian organizations built popular accountability mechanisms into their daily operations this might prevent them from being complicit with egregious violence in the first place.
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The Lord's Resistance Army is Africa's most extraordinarily persistent and notorious 'terrorist' group. Since their rebellion in northern Uganda began in 1987, the group is estimated to have abducted an estimated 30,000 children as well as committing a series of massacres and other horrific human rights abuses against the local population. Led by the mysterious Joseph Kony, who in 2005 was indicted by the International Criminal Court, they remain a group that inspires both fascination and fear. Authoritative but provocative, The Lord's Resistance Army provides the most comprehensive analysis of the group available, dismantling numerous myths and providing a wealth of information that is not widely known. From the issue of child soldiers to the response of the Ugandan government, the book looks at every aspect of this most brutal of conflicts, and even includes a remarkable first-hand interview with Joseph Kony himself.
As Director of the Refugee Law Project at the University of Makerere, Kampala, Uganda, Dolan offers a behind-the-scenes, cross-disciplinary study of one of Africa's longest running and most intractable conflicts. This book shows how, alongside the activities of the Lord's Resistance Army, government decisions and actions on the ground, consolidated by humanitarian. Interventions and silences, played a central role in creating a massive yet only very belatedly recognized humanitarian crisis. Not only individuals, but society as a whole, came to exhibit symptoms typical of torture, and the perpetrator-victim dichotomy became blurred. It is such phenomena, and the complex of social, political, economic and cultural dynamics which underpin them, which the author describes as social torture. Building on political economy, social anthropology, discourse analysis, international relations and psychoanalytic approaches to violence, this book offers an important analytical instrument for all those seeking entry points through which to address entrenched conflicts, whether from a conflict resolution, post-conflict recovery or transitional justice perspective.
Cet article examine le mouvement de l'esprit divin d'Alice Lakwena qui apparut en Ouganda entre 1987 et 1989. L'histoire popularisée d'Alice, telle que racontée par la presse occidentale en particulier, a ignoré les contextes historiques et sociaux essentiels à la compréhension des forces qui ont permis Pavènement d'Alice et de ses adeptes. La possession spirituelle révélée par Alice Lakwena prit des formes bien connues par les peuples de ces régions de l'Ouganda. Par ailleurs, les troubles socio-politiques de la fin des années 1980 eurent une influence importante sur les actions d'Alice et ont servi à déterminer un ensemble complet de questions avec lesquelles sa spiritualité allait être associée. Ces faits sont apparents si Ton examine les actions d'Alice elle-même et si Ton reconnait que d'autres médiums étaient actifs dans la même région à la même époque. Ces médiums contribuerent à établir un sens de responsabilité sociale alors même que l'Etat avait perdu sa crédibilité avant de s'effondrer. Sorcellerie et pratiques magiques étaient perçues comme la principale cause de la mortalité. Ces médiums étaient influencés par des concepts moraux Chrétiens. Comme la divination était devenue étroitement liée à PEglise cadiolique, Alice et d'autres médiums purent réunir un grand nombre d'adeptes et attirer les représentants d'une grande variété de couches sociales. Le cas d'Alice Lakwena est fascinant et riche en enseignements, non pas seulement par sa nou-veauté, mais par le fait qu'il combine des formes anciennes et récentes et assure une continuité avec le passé et avec des processus sociaux plus vastes, tout en apportant des réponses aux nouveaux troubles sociaux et à ses traumatismes.
Trial Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Lord's Resistance Army. London: Zed Books
---. (2006a) Trial Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Lord's Resistance Army. London: Zed Books. ---. (2006b) ''AIDS and Evidence: Interrogating Some Ugandan Myths.'' Journal of Biosocial Science 38 (1): 7-28.
A Hard Homecoming: Lessons Learned from the Reception Center Process on Effective Interventions for Former ''Abductees'' in Northern Uganda
  • T Allen
  • M Schomerus
Allen, T. and M. Schomerus. (2006) A Hard Homecoming: Lessons Learned from the Reception Center Process on Effective Interventions for Former ''Abductees'' in Northern Uganda. Washington, D.C. and Kampala: USAID/UNICEF.