I Am Evelyn Amony
Reclaiming My Life from the Lord’s Resistance Army
Edited with an introduction by Erin Baines
Women in Africa and the Diaspora
Stanlie James and Aili Mari Tripp, Series Editors
More than 60,000 children were abducted in east and central Africa in
the 1990s by the violent rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army and its
notorious commander Joseph Kony. Evelyn Amony was one of them.
Abducted at the age of eleven, Evelyn Amony spent nearly eleven years inside the Lord’s Resistance Army, becoming a forced wife to Joseph Kony and mother to his children. She takes the reader into the inner circles of LRA commanders and reveals unprecedented personal and domestic details about Joseph Kony. Her account unflinchingly conveys the moral difficulties of choosing survival in a situation fraught with violence, threat, and death.
Amony was freed following her capture by the Ugandan military. Despite the trauma she endured with the LRA, Amony joined a Ugandan peace delegation to the LRA, trying to convince Kony to end the war that had lasted more than two decades. She recounts those experiences, as well as the stigma she and her children faced when she returned home as an adult.
This extraordinary testimony shatters stereotypes of war-affected women,
revealing the complex ways that Amony navigated life inside the LRA and her
current work as a human rights advocate to make a better life for her children
and other women affected by war.
“It came on its own from my heart. I just felt it was important to narrate these things. I experienced such terrible things, but I am not the only one to have had this experience.”
Evelyn Amony is a human rights advocate for war-affected women in northern Uganda, working as chair of the Women’s Advocacy Network and with the Justice and Reconciliation Project in Gulu, Uganda.
Erin Baines is an associate professor in the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia and the cofounder of the Justice and Reconciliation Project in
Gulu, Uganda. She is the author of Vulnerable Bodies: Gender, the UN, and the Global Refugee Crisis.
“A survivor’s testimony of kidnapping and survival in Uganda. . . . All the more harrowing for its matter-of-fact understatement.”
“One of the most detailed published accounts of life inside an armed group, describing initiation rituals, rules for members of the group, and even the language Lords Resistance Army members shared. . . . I Am Evelyn Amony provides in-depth knowledge about the LRA, highlights the importance of examining women’s experiences during conflict, and illustrates the complexities of human behavior during war.”
—African Studies Quarterly
“With the help of Erin Baines’s careful and knowledgeable editing and pertinent contextualization, Evelyn Amony has written a remarkable memoir . . . . Throughout the book there is a forceful narrative agency that is rare among works where outsiders present and edit the life histories of former child soldiers. The account is as painful as it is revealing. . . . Even if it was a difficult story to pen down, the result is an acutely honest and personal story of gain and loss that avoids denying the humanity of the perpetrators, and one that also outlines the everyday inner workings of the Lord’s Resistance Army.”
“Evelyn Amony provides penetrating insights into one of the most notorious yet least understood armed groups, the Lord’s Resistance Army. This is an invaluable account of what a woman experienced during years in captivity and, after escaping, her struggle to regain her humanity and agency. Essential reading for anyone studying armed opposition groups, women and war, transitional justice, and recovery.”
—Dyan Mazurana, Tufts University
Of Related Interest
Surviving the Slaughter
The Ordeal of a Rwandan Refugee in Zaire
Marie Béatrice Umutesi, translated by Julia Emerson, foreword by Catharine Newbury
LC: 2015008824 DT
240 pp. 6 x 9
23 b/w illus., 4 maps