Last night, as part of the Global Youth Partnership for Africa’s July Student Global Ambassador Immersion on youth, development and peace-building, I got the chance to hear Steven Okello speak.
Steven is the Country Director of Resolve Uganda, an advocacy organization that evolved out of the Uganda Conflict Action Network. He is an Acholi, and last night he shared his personal experiences and perspectives of the conflict. Steven is an incredibly eloquent, passionate speaker, and what struck me most as he was talking last night was that he was undeniably angry.
A year and a half ago I attended a lecture by Dr. Stephen Schwenke on development ethics in Uganda. During his talk, he asked the audience, “Where is the rage?” He wanted to know, and wanted us to be curious about, what the prevailing attitude towards the conflict is in Uganda. He was surprised that more people hadn’t taken to the streets to scream and yell and demonstrate. They have so many reasons to be angry — why isn’t that anger more visible?
As Steven spoke last night, I could sense his rage, and in some ways, it was refreshing. He is exactly the kind of passionate young leader Uganda needs, and his talk resounded with the Immersion participants. I can’t wait to see the range of emotions they will display over the next two weeks of this conference, and I hope that they (and I) have the courage to be angry about the last two decades of violence in this country. I believe that anger will motivate us to find new solutions and to keep working for peace.