Invisible Children: A Trip That Changed Their Perspective
When most people go on a trip, they bring back souvenirs for their friends and family to enjoy. But for Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey and Lauren Poole, their trip to Uganda stirred a passion in them. They would eventually start Invisible Children an organization committed to ending Africa’s longest running conflict led by Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army. In 2012, they continued their efforts with a viral video, Kony 2012 that garnered 100 million view in just six days and 3.7 million citizen pledges calling for the arrest of Joseph Kony. We interviewed Jason Russell and Bobby Bailey in 2007 and talked with the differences they see in the kids from Invisible Children as compared to American children and if they would kill Joseph Kony if the opportunity presented itself.
Russell shares on what he believes the differences are between the kids from Invisible Children and the average American kid.
“My first thought is that there’s very little difference. That what’s so compelling- they laugh when you fart, they love to dance, they love making fun of you, they love games and magic tricks. In a war where 10-year-old children are abducted, the international community and the UN can say, ‘Well it’s Africa.’ If American children were being taken from their homes nightly, it would be stopped within 24 hours. As much as we like to think we see Africa as equal, we really don’t I can hear people say, ‘Well isn’t that their problem; shouldn’t they take care of their own continent?’ Hopefully, with our full-length feature film, we can pick apart what role we’ve played in the greed and corruption and the good will. On the surface it seems that this crazy man, Joseph Kony, is going all this. The fact that Osama Bin Laden trained Joseph Kony leads it back to the same source. Wars are fought over oil, diamonds, gold, and land. When the Quakers wanted to abolish slavery, they started with consumerism, telling people to stop buying sugar. That got the politicians to notice. Our cell phones are powered by cobalt which comes from Congo. To ask Americans to give up their cell phones is like cutting off their right arms.”
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.” 1 Peter 3:8-10
Bobby Bailey and Jason Russel reflect on if they would kill Joseph Kony if they had the opportunity.
(Bailey)“This war is political. There have been a lot of grievances that Northern Uganda has endured because of the south. Some of the reasons they’re fighting would go on without Joseph Kony. What we want to see stopped are the horrendous approaches he has to waging war.”
(Russell) “We’ve all spent time with people who say, ‘This war cannot end with a gun.’ We reunited Jacob, the kid who cries at the end of the movie [Invisible Children] with the commander that abducted him and killed his brother. At the end of their time together they were laughing and hugging. I asked, ‘Jacob, what was going on?’ and he said, ‘You have to forgive, that’s the only way the war will end.” That’s the outcry of the people in Northern Uganda and it’s a very different paradigm than the Western way. It’s not an eye for an eye, really. They’d rather just have peace. But no, I don’t think I’d kill Joseph Kony.”
Repay evil. If someone has done something to hurt or harm you or a loved one, repay evil by forgiving them. Forgiveness does not mean you are condoning what they did. There still might need to be correction or consequences for their actions. But it does mean that you do not hold a grudge or are bitter towards them. This can be difficult. Pray and ask God to help you forgive the person and extend grace to them like He would. It can help to process circumstances or situations that are difficult with a trusted advisor. Consider going to a counselor or meeting with a pastor at your church for guidance and wisdom.
Be a world changer. Whether you travel around the world or across your city, there are people all around you that need to hear the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray and ask God to direct your trip and give you the words to share with the people that you meet. It could be sharing the story of how you came to know Christ, encouraging them in their faith, or being a catalyst for change.
Support global efforts. Whether it is Invisible Children or the missionaries at your church, pray how God wants you to support his work around the world. It could be through prayer, donating resources, or even going on a mission trip. Be open to how God leads and trust that He will provide for you as He directs.
To read our entire interview with Jason Russell and Bobby Bailey of Invisible Children, click here.