The Uganda Plan

Published April 01, 2005, issue of April 01, 2005.
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Starting this week, the Forward begins a multipart series of articles looking at some of the civil conflicts that are wreaking havoc in the traditional societies of central Africa, one of the world’s poorest regions.

We sent our correspondent Marc Perelman to spend several weeks in several countries, including Uganda, Congo and Rwanda, observing the conflicts firsthand. We wanted to understand — for our readers and for ourselves — the nature of these tragedies. As a newspaper with a century-long tradition of defending human rights and a commitment to Jewish values, we wanted to take a fresh look at the agenda of our community and our nation. Are our international commitments consistent with our values?

We wanted, too, to begin to understand why these conflicts capture so little of the world’s attention. At a time when human rights have entered international discourse as a concern of highest priority, how is it that the regions that seem to experience the world’s most extreme suffering are so persistently ignored?

Our series begins this week in Uganda, the landlocked nation that was once offered by Great Britain to Theodor Herzl’s Zionist movement as a Jewish homeland. Today it the scene of a civil war that one United Nations official called “the most forgotten crisis in the world.”

In the weeks ahead, we’ll be looking at some of the other conflicts in the region and exploring some of the solutions, both local and international, that seem most promising.

Some of what Perelman found makes for painful reading. As we approach the festival of Passover, the season of our freedom, we urge our readers to take the time to join with us in considering the challenges of human redemption today.

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