When the Walking Defeats You : One Man's Journey as Joseph Kony's Bodyguard
Overview - The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a cultish Christian rebel group operating in Uganda and in other parts of Eastern and Central Africa, has been accused of widespread human rights violations for decades. It has been reviled for its use of child soldiers and sexual slavery, as well as for waging a long campaign of violence and terror across a large swathe of the region. Read more...
More About When the Walking Defeats You by Ledio Cakaj; Romeo Dallaire
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a cultish Christian rebel group operating in Uganda and in other parts of Eastern and Central Africa, has been accused of widespread human rights violations for decades. It has been reviled for its use of child soldiers and sexual slavery, as well as for waging a long campaign of violence and terror across a large swathe of the region. Educated and harboring humanitarian dreams of becoming a teacher, George Omona would thus seem an unlikely recruit for the LRA. And yet, after he was expelled from high school, Omona was caught by the charismatic pull of the LRA's messianic leader, Joseph Kony, and he came to think that joining the group might be his best chance for rebuilding his life. When the Walking Defeats You
is his unlikely and powerful story.
Drawing on hours of interviews with Omona, Ledio Cakaj here offers a rare and fascinating insider account of one of the world's most notorious terrorist groups. As Cakaj describes, Omona's education and fluent command of English allowed him to rapidly rise through the ranks and eventually become a personal bodyguard to Kony himself. At Kony's side, Omona spent almost three years with the group before finally making his escape, and his personal account of those years provides unique, unsettling, and often brutal insight into the inner workings of the LRA as well as the mind of its self-appointed prophet.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
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Cakaj renders interview subject George Omonas story of joining the Lords Resistance Army in Uganda with a somber and assured tone. He begins by expressing a desire to humanize the soldiers in the LRA, a rebel group notorious for committing atrocities, and he successfully avoids sensationalizing their actions. The writing settles fully into Georges perspective, avoiding a voyeuristic tone even when Cakaj provides additional background information on Ugandan history and the LRA. Georges story is striking; unlike many other LRA soldiers, he apparently joined the group of his own volition, earning him the ire of his comrades, who had often been forced to join. The book captures the fierceness of infighting within the group and the powerful hold exerted on it by founder Joseph Kony. Minor details catch the attention: the LRAs regimentation reminds George of his time in Catholic school, and, despite the respect Kony commanded from his fighters, no one had ever seen Kony fire a gun. Cakaj handles Georges story, and the LRAs, with an appealing, clear-eyed simplicity. (Nov.)