IN HER OWN WORDS: LARA ROSENOFF, PHOTO-JOURNALIST
We were always taught to say "Never Again". When I began researching this crisis, I found out what that phrase really means to me as a photographer: Never Again to allow catastrophic suffering to continue in secret, Never Again to afford the international community the alibi of ignorance.
Called by Jan Egeland, the United Nations' Special Advisor to the Secretary General on Humanitarian Affairs, as " the world's greatest neglected humanitarian crisis", the 19-year war in Northern Uganda (Acholiand) has killed, abducted, disfigured, terrorized, displaced and starved over 1.6 million people. I saw that the symptoms of this war have actually become a daily part of Acholi life and culture as a second generation is born into its horrific legacy.
Although the numbers are in the hundreds of thousands, there is no official count of the death total in this war, and although the numbers are in the tens of thousands, there is no official count of the number of children that have been abducted and abused. In reality, no one is counting. If the totals are ever counted, and the world wakes up to the tragedy, the claim that we didn't know will not help the children, women and men of Northern Uganda. That claim didn't help my family, nor did it help the Rwandans ten years ago.
What could I answer when I was asked by Abraham, an Acholi man, why the world did not know about them? He wanted to know why when one person is killed in Israel or Iraq, the whole world knows, but when thousands are killed there, no one knows. Questions like "Are we not miserable enough?" and "Do we not count?" have haunted me since the moments they were asked. Appeals from kids such as "The children of Uganda are calling on the world to help" and "What kind of world are we living in? Please, as you have a willing heart to help, please do!" kept me intent on telling this story.
Rosenoff traveled to Northern Uganda for 12 days in September-October
2004 with a film crew from Mindset Media, a new non-profit organization.
She returns there in March to hear more from the Acholi people and to
continue communicating their stories to you.
Her presentation for the 2005 Kleinmann Family Holocaust Symposium:
"Never Again"? 19 years of Horror in Northern Uganda
PRESENTATION DATES AND LOCALES:
Visit Lara Rosenoff's website.