Being aware of Kony is great, knowing about Shukri….. even better.

And ‘Kony 2012’ becomes the most viral video in history….

The filmmaker, Jason Russel may have lost his sanity  and ended up in a mental health facility following a bizarre ‘underwear incident’,  but he gets a ‘thumbs up’ from me for doing a great job of bringing Kony to the readers of magazines, newspapers and to internet users of the world. I do believe that awareness leads to bigger things and I am hoping that it will happen sooner than later.

Joseph Kony is a Ugandan guerrilla group leader of Lord’s Resistance Army, who has forced and abducted estimated 66,000 children, children who are treated brutally and forced to fight a war that they do not believe in. Kony received a surge of attention in early March 2012 when a thirty-minute documentary titled “Kony 2012” was released to increase awareness. Thanks to the film made by this American- based charity, Invisible Children, Joseph Kony has become a household name now and with an increased awareness,  they hope that the man will be arrested by the end of 2012.

Having worked with children, including those who have seen more than their share of pain, I am partial to children’s causes. Child soldiers and their plight had already become a part of my book, Sia and so  Kony 2012 resonated with me even more. My book might be a work of fiction, but the child soldiers are not, their pain is not and their situation is not. None of that is fictional. While researching on these child soldiers, I had come across great stories of courage. One of them stood out. It was about an amazing lady who went by the name, Shukri Ismail.

Moved by the image of a nine-year old boy manning a check point with a gun equal to his size, she had vowed to save these children and had founded the non-governmental organisation called, ‘Candlelight’. Through this organisation, she and her friends hoped to  better the health, education and environment in Somalia. She had seemed a ‘hero’ to me. If Kony and his likes were the problem of the world then Shukri and her likes were the solution. Instead of criticising, lamenting and despairing about the situation, she had done something worthwhile. She gets a double ‘thumbs up’ from me because she represents ‘hope’ and she represents ‘solution’.

I am heartened  to see  Shukri’s name included in Newsweek’s list of 150 ‘Fearless Women of the World’. As I say, being aware of Joseph Kony is great as the first step is being aware of the problem, but knowing Shukri Ismail is even better, since the next step should be being  inspired to be part of a solution.

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