The Night Wanderers reviewed in PW

The Night Wanderers reviewed in PW

February 14, 2012


The Night Wanderers: Uganda’s Children and the Lord’s Resistance Army

Uganda has been ravaged by civil war, and Joseph Kony’s militant Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) continues to perpetrate one of the gravest humanitarian crises of our time–this is the context for this brave, devastating work of war reportage. Perhaps one of the most horrifying aspects of the LRA is that it kidnaps children and uses them as soldiers, forcing them to kill, or, in the case of female children, to become “wives.” Renowned Polish journalist Jagielski begins his story in Gulu, in northern Uganda, where he has access to a center devoted to rehabilitating the children who have escaped. In one eerie scene, the children at the center play a “war game” wherein some are cast as “guerillas,” some as “soldiers,” and others as “the people living in the village under attack.” The game is boisterous and innocent enough, but, as Jagielski points out, it is easy to forget that all but the youngest children have killed people. Individual narratives are lent structure by passages detailing the history of Uganda, including an illuminating look at current president Yoweri Museveni. The facts are chilling, and Jagielski handles them with integrity and a minimum of stylistic flourish, treating the subject with the dignity it deserves. Map. (Jan.)

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