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Mama Koko and the Hundred Gunmen: An Extraordinary Tale of Love, Loss, and Survival in Congo

Events | Headline and Cultural Forums

International human rights activist Lisa Shannon spent many afternoons at the kitchen table having tea with her friend Francisca Thelin, who often spoke of her childhood in Congo--a peaceful Congo; a place so different than the conflict-ravaged places Shannon knew from her activism work. Then the nightly phone calls from Congo began: static-filled, hasty reports from Francisca’s mother, “Mama Koko,” of gunmen—Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army— launching attacks. Night after night for a year, Mama Koko delivered the devastating news of cousins, nieces, nephews, friends, and neighbors, who had been killed, abducted, burned alive on Christmas Day. In an unlikely journey, Shannon and Thelin decided to travel from Portland to Dungu, to witness first-hand the devastation unfolding at Joseph Kony’s hands. Join us for this moving discussion as Shannon reflects on her friendship with Francisca and Mama Koko, her experience in the Congo, and how she confronted her limitations as an activist and reconciled her vision of what it means to affect meaningful change in the lives of others.

Copresented by the World Affairs Council of Oregon and Portland Art Museum in conjunction with the U.S. premiere of Richard Mosse’s powerful video installation The Enclave (2013), on view through April 12, 2015.

Free for PAM and WAC members;  $5 general, includes admission to The Enclave
Registration required:
(The promo code for World Affairs Council members: "WAC"; choose Adult ticket and then enter code)

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