“Silent Voices” review

JRP’s Lino Owor Ogora Provides Feedback on the ‘Silent Voices’ Play; A Play Featuring the Conflict in Northern Uganda.

On Tuesday 24th July 2012, I attended and watched the play ‘Silent Voices’ showing at the national theatre. The two-hour play, written by Judith Atim, features the plight of children and other civilians living in northern Uganda, including the challenges of attaining justice and reconciliation for formerly abducted persons. The play provides a vivid history of the conflict, including the highlight of historic atrocities committed by the NRA in the early days of the conflict, such as ‘tek-gungu’. It also highlights crimes such as child abduction, sexual slavery, and massacres perpetrated by the LRA. In addition, another factor highlighted is the dilemma presented by the pursuit of justice. In this regard, a child mother particularly struggles to win acceptance from the community who only choose to view her as the ‘killer’ she is, while ignoring the victimization and suffering she underwent.

After the play I participated in a panel discussion, alongside with Nathan from the Amnesty Commission. I generally highlighted the challenges of attaining justice in northern Uganda, and controversies surrounding amnesty. Nathan from the Amnesty Commission pointed out that there was need to make reparations to victims of conflict; he however noted that the major challenge was the overwhelming numbers of victims. The audience also gave the feedback, and one of the points raised was that the play did not provide solutions for reconciliation. The other point was the need to develop national programs other than focusing on northern Uganda.

Generally I thought the play was good and informative especially for people who had never been to northern Uganda and would encourage anyone to watch it.