Before more of you jump to instantly like, share and raise awareness on the Joseph Kony video that has gone viral in a matter of days, I’d like to share my opinion and shed a little light on some basic facts that the organisation, Invisible Children may have failed to.
Try capture a man, end a war and make sure another rebellion doesn’t begin by sending in another army. The movement is calling for a public outcry to influence a military action which most certainly would result in violence and more conflict.
There hasn’t been a war in Uganda since 2006. The LRA and Joseph Kony were forced out of Uganda by the Ugandan military. Northern Uganda is now peaceful however the LRA are still raiding and massacring neighboring countries and are spread out through densely forested land along the borders of South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is easy to misunderstand this as it is only mentioned in a few seconds 15 minutes into the video. My problem lies there. I don’t disagree with the campaign or fail to see the good intentions behind it but if you aim to make a video go viral it is important to educate the 45 million (and still counting) viewers that have now been miseducated by simplifying the situation using outdated information.
Awareness and activism may not be enough to achieve the outcomes desired by Invisible Children and the 45 million or more who are now following the campaign, in a complex, real-world situation.
The video is making a moral plea, but it doesn’t leave much space for the unintended consequences that might result from intervening. The video going viral is putting pressure on the US government to keep their army there. Another fact also not mentioned was the result in increased military pressure to go after Kony by the Ugandan military who failed to capture Kony and only lead to the LRA ransacking and massacring vengefully as they fled killing hundreds of civilians in the Congo in 2009.
Invisible Children are now being faced and will continue to do so, with a lot of criticism from those who did further research on their mission and how they handle their charitable contributions which have now all been addressed by IC here. They also explain why some of IC’s leaders posed holding guns (shown above) with members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army by saying “we thought it would be funny.”
Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumire, points out that since Kony and the LRA was pushed out of Uganda six years ago, life there has been stabilizing.
“This paints a picture of Uganda six or seven years ago, that is totally not how it is today. It’s highly irresponsible,” Kagumire said this week. “Ugandans are now more focused on rebuilding their country. Inciting more conflict in the area will only set back the efforts of Ugandans who just want to return to normal life.”
Watch Kagumire’s video here: