With his permission, I'm posting a speech that Jimmy Otim was asked to give on Northern Uganda. Jimmy was one of the amazing persons I met while in Uganda who was actively working in his community of Gulu (where much of the war has taken place) to help the people affected by the war. I'm posting his speech word for word as he emailed it to me and posting his contact information at the end per Jimmy's request. Please feel free to contact him with any questions or to see how you can help! I know I found his words powerful and moving, I hope you will too.


I am Jimmy Otim, a writer and a researcher who has worked for several humanitarian organisations trying to quell the violence in northern Uganda, my native country.

I was born, grew up and now working in northern Uganda trying to make a contribution to the lives of the innocent civilian population living in the internally displaced people’s camps in this beautiful but trouble land.

As a background, the 21 year old conflict in northern Uganda could be rated as one of the worst areas of human right violations in the world history with over 300,000 people dead in Acholi sub region alone, 1.6 million displaced and living in squalid conditions and over 30,000 abductions recorded so far. The conflict has caused unspeakable suffering to the people of northern Uganda where civilians have become the principle strategic targets and victims of violence, a field upon which the conflict is fought and through which victory is sought. The conflict has interrupted the functions of every institution and left the region in ruins.

Unfortunately, many people are unconcerned about the war in northern Uganda. This attitude of many was captured by many utterances like “these people are fighting themselves”. Yes the war in northern Uganda is seen as a thing which should not concern us and unfortunately it also evokes sad memories of their own kind in many people’s mind.

My messages depart from other usual academic or political statements by individuals who always wish to theorised or win political support. It should provoke practical debate among the pundits of our time with the hope that many generations to come will not only live in peace and prosperous world. But a world with international concern which we currently lack. My message focuses on not who is wrong or right. It’s about people’s right to a decent life unmolested by the guns of war. In a sense, it is about whether we as people of the world have any human compassion left in us or whether we shall continue living like animals uncaring about the sanctity of life.

I personally believe that what is happening in northern Uganda is not our own fault. We are victims of selfish interests and in that sense everybody is guilty – our own communities as well as the international community. Sadly this tragedy going on in northern Uganda is behind the glare of the world.

I see northern Uganda being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, and I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquillity will return once more.

In the meantime, I must hold on to my ideals. Perhaps the day will come when we will be able to realise them.

Together we can all do something to change the situation; how can we help?

Advocate for the people in northern Uganda (victims)
Stimulate dialogue
Provide technical assistance
Facilitate access to resources
Join the network
Support the Victims
Or at least pray

P O BOX 1177,
TEL : +256782366380
EMAIL : otimjimmy@yahoo.co.uk

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