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KONY 2012 (Joseph Kony)


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So I've not created a thread before, but I figured this deserved its own.

 

Edit: Should really have looked at this in a critical sense and not just jumped on the bandwagon  :snod:

 

That said, it's definitely worth the debate. Most criticisms of the video are fairly spot on, but provide no alternative to helping disadvantaged parts of the world.

 

What I thought this video achieved was motivating popular support in the West, using social media, to force governments (U.S mainly) to resolve a terrible conflict in Uganda...

 

Revolutionary in principal, but it'd appear flawed by typical human crappiness  :huff:

 

All this said, heightened awareness and discussion are definitely positives to take from the video.

 

 

This is a video detailing a campaign to find and imprison Joseph Kony.

 

Kony is the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda and has recently moved into surrounding countries.

 

He is accused of kidnapping children and forcing them to serve in his rebel army.

 

Not only does he enslave these children but his troops have systematically raped, mutilated, and murdered children and women in Uganda.

 

 

 

Read more at:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Kony

 

 

The video is 30 minutes long, however if you watch the first 2-3 minutes you wont be able to stop.

 

It's truly tragic and horrific stuff, but it will be extremely interesting to see if this campaign is successful.

 

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So I've not created a thread before, but I figured this deserved its own.

 

This is a video detailing a campaign to find and imprison Joseph Kony.

 

Kony is the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda and has recently moved into surrounding countries.

 

He is accused of kidnapping children and forcing them to serve in his rebel army.

 

Not only does he enslave these children but his troops have systematically raped, mutilated, and murdered children and women in Uganda.

 

 

 

Read more at:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Kony

 

 

The video is 30 minutes long, however if you watch the first 2-3 minutes you wont be able to stop.

 

It's truly tragic and horrific stuff, but it will be extremely interesting to see if this campaign is successful.

 

 

Anyone else think 'Fuck sake we already have a Star Wars thread!' up until this point?  :blush:

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Guest Craig-NUFC

Seems to be taking all social media by storm, and rightly so.

With people seemingly beginning to understand how to use social media to make change, hopefully this will be the start of many campaigns like this.

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This has definitely taken over the internet at the moment. I haven't gotten all the way through yet, but I already see there's a lot of criticism going around against it.

 

I'll have to hear it to gauge it, naturally it could be well founded critisicm!...but there are always going to be people who criticise those who appear to be doing something good, and who will maintain that the creator has an ulterior motive etc etc.... I call them negative cunts  :huff:

 

Links?

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From here: http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/

 

We got trouble.

 

You do not need to ask my permission to share this. Please link it widely. For those asking what you can do to help, please link to visiblechildren.tumblr.com wherever you see KONY 2012 posts.

 

I do not doubt for a second that those involved in KONY 2012 have great intentions, nor do I doubt for a second that Joseph Kony is a very evil man. But despite this, I’m strongly opposed to the KONY 2012 campaign.

 

KONY 2012 is the product of a group called Invisible Children, a controversial activist group and not-for-profit. They’ve released 11 films, most with an accompanying bracelet colour (KONY 2012 is fittingly red), all of which focus on Joseph Kony. When we buy merch from them, when we link to their video, when we put up posters linking to their website, we support the organization. I don’t think that’s a good thing, and I’m not alone.

 

Invisible Children has been condemned time and time again. As a registered not-for-profit, its finances are public. Last year, the organization spent $8,676,614. Only 31% went to their charity program (page 6)*. This is far from ideal, and Charity Navigator rates their accountability 2/4 stars because they haven’t had their finances externally audited. But it goes way deeper than that.

 

The group is in favour of direct military intervention, and their money funds the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces. Here’s a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is “better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries”, although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn’t been since 2006 by their own admission.

 

Still, the bulk of Invisible Children’s spending isn’t on funding African militias, but on awareness and filmmaking. Which can be great, except that Foreign Affairs has claimed that Invisible Children (among others) “manipulates facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRA’s use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony — a brutal man, to be sure — as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil.” He’s certainly evil, but exaggeration and manipulation to capture the public eye is unproductive, unprofessional and dishonest.

 

As Christ Blattman, a political scientist at Yale, writes on the topic of IC’s programming, “There’s also something inherently misleading, naive, maybe even dangerous, about the idea of rescuing children or saving of Africa. […] It hints uncomfortably of the White Man’s Burden. Worse, sometimes it does more than hint. The savior attitude is pervasive in advocacy, and it inevitably shapes programming. Usually misconceived programming.”

 

Still, Kony’s a bad guy, and he’s been around a while. Which is why the US has been involved in stopping him for years. U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has sent multiple missions to capture or kill Kony over the years. And they’ve failed time and time again, each provoking a ferocious response and increased retaliative slaughter. The issue with taking out a man who uses a child army is that his bodyguards are children. Any effort to capture or kill him will almost certainly result in many children’s deaths, an impact that needs to be minimized as much as possible. Each attempt brings more retaliation. And yet Invisible Children supports military intervention. Kony has been involved in peace talks in the past, which have fallen through. But Invisible Children is now focusing on military intervention.

 

Military intervention may or may not be the right idea, but people supporting KONY 2012 probably don’t realize they’re supporting the Ugandan military who are themselves raping and looting away. If people know this and still support Invisible Children because they feel it’s the best solution based on their knowledge and research, I have no issue with that. But I don’t think most people are in that position, and that’s a problem.

 

Is awareness good? Yes. But these problems are highly complex, not one-dimensional and, frankly, aren’t of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture, as hard as that is to swallow. Giving your money and public support to Invisible Children so they can spend it on supporting ill-advised violent intervention and movie #12 isn’t helping. Do I have a better answer? No, I don’t, but that doesn’t mean that you should support KONY 2012 just because it’s something. Something isn’t always better than nothing. Sometimes it’s worse.

 

If you want to write to your Member of Parliament or your Senator or the President or the Prime Minister, by all means, go ahead. If you want to post about Joseph Kony’s crimes on Facebook, go ahead. But let’s keep it about Joseph Kony, not KONY 2012.

 

~ Grant Oyston, [email protected]

 

Grant Oyston is a sociology and political science student at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada. You can help spread the word about this by linking to his blog at visiblechildren.tumblr.com anywhere you see posts about KONY 2012.

 

*For context, 31% is bad. By contrast, Direct Relief reports 98.8% of its funding goes to programming. American Red Cross reports 92.1% to programming. UNICEF USA is at 90.3%. Invisible Children reports that 80.5% of their funding goes to programming, while I report 31% based on their FY11 fiscal reports, because other NGOs would count film-making as fundraising expenses, not programming expenses.

 

and

 

Worst Idea Ever?

Posted on March 5, 2009 by Amanda and Kate

Via Chris Blattman, we learned that Invisible Children (brief background of the organization: 3 kids go to Africa, make movie about child soldiers, show it to every college student on the planet) has launched a new film and campaign: “Abduct Yourself to Free the Abducted.” Um.

 

Chris posts a letter he wrote to Invisible Children’s Mission Director explaining his discomfort with the project. He makes the point that their work is (a) kind of obsessed with glorifying the filmmakers, (b) based on a creepy, White Man’s Burden-y savior complex, and © taking up resources that could be occupied by “intelligent advocacy.”

 

We completely agree and offer this photo of the three founders of Invisible Children in support of the “who is this about anyway?” critique:

 

 

We also have a couple of related concerns:

 

First, organizations like Invisible Children not only take up resources that could be used to fund more intelligent advocacy, they take up rhetorical space that could be used to develop more intelligent advocacy. And yeah, this may seem like an absurdly academic point to raise when talking about a problem that is clearly crying out for pragmatic solutions, but, uh, the way we define problems is important. Really, really important. Choosing to simplistically define Congolese women as “The Raped” and Ugandan children as “The Abducted” constrains our ability to think creatively about the problems they face, and work with them to combat these problems.

 

Second, treating their problems as one-dimensional issues that can be solved by a handful of plucky college students armed only with the strength of their convictions and a video camera doesn’t help anyone. These gets back to something very simple and very smart that Alanna Shaikh wrote a few months ago:

“Bad development work is based on the idea that poor people have nothing. Something is better than nothing, right? So anything you give these poor people will be better than what they had before.”

By the same token, any old awareness advocacy you dream up doesn’t necessarily constitute “helping.” And while we’re on the subject of what does and doesn’t help, maybe don’t get photographed fondling big (former) rebel guns. Just saying.

 

*Photo taken by photographer and total rockstar Glenna Gordon on the Sudan-Congo border in April 2008. Team not-so-invisible-children poses with the SPLA… and their weapons.

 

And

 

the visible problem with invisible children

2

11

2006

Invisible Children (IC) swept the university campuses of America last year. The group wanted to mobilize college students to be aware of what happened in Uganda in recent years, the atrocious acts of Joseph Kony and his rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). I heard about Invisible Children for the first time when I was researching Uganda. I was immediately fascinated by their website. It’s very well done, but I noticed one thing. It lacked real information. If you haven’t seen the film or know nothing about their purpose, let me catch you up to speed with my version. Three clueless college kids head to Sudan with no plans and no idea about what they’re going to find. They’re looking for a “story”. They leave Sudan and make their way into Uganda. They find some bad stuff going on there. So they made a MTV-esque DVD about what was happening there. They wanted to draw attention to what they found.

 

So far, this sounds good. However, there is a major, major problem. I’m going to compare what IC is doing to an analogy that I thought of this past summer when I was Uganda thinking about this issue. Imagine that today you heard about what happened in NYC and Washington DC on September 11, 2001 for the first time. You were shown a video of footage from that day. You saw the planes hit the towers, you heard President Bush’s address, you saw the Pentagon wreckage, you watch in horror as you see people plunge to their death, jumping from the burning towers. Now imagine that you are inspired by this disaster. You want to something to help. What if you went to NYC today, expecting to see piles of rubble to clean up? What if you went, expecting that there would be thousands of people in the streets crying, looking for loved ones? But what would happen when you arrived and discovered that there was none of this, but a whole host of other problems?

 

And back to Uganda. Uganda is no longer experiencing violence from the LRA. Yes, I said it. It’s an uncomfortable truth, but it is a truth. For about the last year, since before IC hit the scene, Kony and his troops have been pushed into Congo, into the Garamba National Forest there. He’s sick, starving, and on his last legs. For the first time, Uganda is in the middle of real peace talks and the rebels have laid down their arms and are assembling to make peace. Why? This is happening because Joseph Kony was defeated. The Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) has beaten them back and Kony was sitting in Congo starving to death. Since March 2002, the UPDF has been allowed to carry out raids against the LRA into Southern Sudan and has even crossed into Congo, to the distress of most of the African community. Nonetheless, Operation Iron Fist, as this military offensive was called, has freed many child soldiers and sex slaves and brought them back to Uganda. The rebels again became very violent in 2003, but since 2004, the Ugandan government has been repeatedly beating the rebels and weakening them. Uganda is no longer allowed to enter Sudan or Congo to fight the LRA.

 

Invisible Children was founded in 2004, with the film crew filming in Uganda in 2003. Watching Invisible Children is watching old news. Will watching it alert you to what has occurred in Uganda? Yes, but it will not let you know what is happening there today.

 

Invisible Children is too late. It has taught us that MTV type media can get university students interested in a world crisis, the problem is it took too much time. Night commuting, outlined as one of the major problems in northern Uganda by the film, is practically non-existent now. Why? Peace is coming to the region. According to UN reports, children who still are commuting at night are not doing it because of safety concerns, but because they want to enjoy the amenities that NGO’s are offering in the towns, like Gulu, Kitgum, and Lira. At the peak of the commuting, there were between 30,000 and 40,000 children commuting. Now, estimates are below 10,000.

 

The scars of the 20 year conflict are everywhere in northern Uganda. I walked through internally displaced person (IDP) camps. I smelled, I listened, I saw, I touched, I tasted. I experienced Uganda. I saw people whose lives had been radically changed. I placed my hands on a woman whose lips had been cut off by the LRA. I walked with children whose parents had been killed. I sat on the foundation of a hut burned down by the LRA. I talked with people whose relatives had been abducted. I walked over land guarded by the UPDF. The landscape, the people, and the country itself has an immense burden to deal with.

 

Uganda has problems today. Their government is ridden with corruption. There are people still living in fear in IDP camps, afraid that violence will again return to their land. The education system is inadequate and many do not have the chance to go to school. For those who do work their way through the school system, there is a good chance that there will not be a job for them when they get even a university degree. Why doesn’t anyone want to do something about these problems? Why will thousands of people participate in IC’s Global Night Commute but not take the time to actually find out what is going on in Uganda today?

 

There have been many inspired to do more than just watch a DVD and sleep downtown for a night. However, that’s where we run into another problem. This summer, IC had a bunch of college students in northern Uganda wasting time and money. There were almost 30 people who were in Uganda this summer connected with IC and even more who were inspired to change the world and fly around it. That also sounds somewhat heart warming. Self centered American kids are flying around the world to change it. The catch is they don’t know what they are doing or where they are going. They are blindly making a problem worse by throwing thousands of dollars at something they don’t understand.

 

When I traveled into Southern Sudan, you could sense something was different there. There is a greedy spirit there that you can feel. Foreign aid had ruined South Sudan. People do not want to work, they want handouts. An entire generation has been cared for by the UN and other NGO’s. They are fed, clothed, protected, and sent to school without having to do anything. I walked through the market there and saw UNICEF tarps and blankets for sale. I could also buy Samaritan’s Purse shoe-boxes, filled with all sorts of American goodies. I thought back how I thought it was a good idea for me to send a shoebox filled with soap, toothpaste, bouncy balls, and a washcloth to a faraway land. What I realize now is that sending things, whether money, objects, or people to a place that I have no information on is a bad idea.

 

The problems that Uganda faces today cannot be fixed by hundreds of uneducated Westerners going there to “help”. As you read this article, think about how much you really know about the political situations in Uganda and throughout Africa that contribute to long lasting problems.

 

Africa as a whole needs to break free from foreign aid. Almost half of Uganda’s yearly budget is made up of foreign aid. I think that many of Uganda’s problems stem from its reliance on foreign support. If you want to read more on that, check out a Ugandan journalist named Andrew Mwenda. The aid to African nations is increasing the corruption there and encouraging these nations to continue this dependence on foreign nations and it does not encourage them to become totally self sufficient. When asked what rich nations should do to help Africa, Mwenda said,

 

So what is the solution? I’ve now written the first negative article I can find about Invisible Children. I also have suggested that we should think about cutting foreign aid and debt relief to African nations.

 

If you’ve seen the old news that Uganda has to offer and are disturbed, I encourage you to do some research and find out what is really going on in Uganda. I spent months before I went to Uganda researching the country. I talked to many people on the phone or with Skype, I emailed countless others, I read books, I monitored the news. If you want to find out what the situation is really like, find out. Don’t blindly fly yourself to a developing country like a Western idiot. I would also suggest finding out more about organizations that you support that work in foreign countries. Find out what their relationships are like with the local people and find out how they are grooming local people to take over their group. No aid organization should plan to be somewhere forever. If they do, they are not focused on solving the problem they are there to address.

 

Do not be fooled by slick video editing. Sleeping outside in downtown Pittsburgh will not help anyone who is still night commuting in northern Uganda. Perhaps you are now aware that there is a problem, perhaps you know that there is more to this world than just your country, your state, and your little hometown. What you may not know is that the US government is not going to get involved if it doesn’t benefit the American people. Remember Rwanda? It is up to you to figure out how to deal with this knowledge and the knowledge that your warm and fuzzy thoughts are not going to be the solution to this.

 

As of today, Uganda is still in a tedious peace process with the LRA, with both sides accusing each other of violating peace agreements. The good news is that they are still in the peace process and they’re doing it without the help of a foreign country that will attempt to benefit from the talks. Instead, using Rick Machar and South Sudan is helping to build ties with all those in that region. The LRA and the UPDF have now signed a second peace accord and hopefully this one will result in successful peace.

 

As I have written this over the past couple of months, I’m disappointed that I cannot offer a real solution to this problem. I wish that I had the answers for Uganda and those of you who are interested in doing something to help the people there. Unfortunately, I feel that I have done little more than to highlight problems there and then problems with our response to their problems. I learned so much while I was there, but I still have a lot that I can learn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Total and utter ill-informed cringefest.

 

QFT. Amazing what 30 minutes of flashy cinematography can do.

 

EDIT:  :lol: Really hope you were not referring to the post above you, which would make me look quite silly.

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Total and utter ill-informed cringefest.

 

Do you think any good will come form it?

 

Could you suggest an effective alternative to combat issues that, in general, no one gives a f*** about until it hits them in face ?

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There are already US troops in Uganda and surrounding areas to track him down. It was filmed 10 years ago, a lot has changed it seems.

 

I'm not for or against it, I just wish folk would check facts first and stop being sheep.

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Guest Craig-NUFC

After reading various things they do seem like they're manipulating teenagers in to giving them their money by basically saying "give us money and we'll do something good with it." It seems that no one actually has much of a clue where their money is going. Fact that they're giving money directly to the Ugandan government doesn't fill me with joy either.

 

Good concept, bad people.

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There are already US troops in Uganda and surrounding areas to track him down. It was filmed 10 years ago, a lot has changed it seems.

 

I'm not for or against it, I just wish folk would check facts first and stop being sheep.

 

This has become the main issue for me.

 

I was too quick to jump on the video band wagon like, I'll give the original post an edit.

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There are already US troops in Uganda and surrounding areas to track him down. It was filmed 10 years ago, a lot has changed it seems.

 

I'm not for or against it, I just wish folk would check facts first and stop being sheep.

 

This has become the main issue for me.

 

I was too quick to jump on the video band wagon like, I'll give the original post an edit.

 

I was the same. When I seen loads of stupid people I know harping on about it I decided there must be something wrong. Turns out there is :lol:

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Total and utter ill-informed cringefest.

 

Do you think any good will come form it?

 

Could you suggest an effective alternative to combat issues that, in general, no one gives a f*** about until it hits them in face ?

 

Too early to say, I'm leaning towards no, though.

 

Nope, I'd refer back to a sentence in the one of the articles you posted - "Something isn’t always better than nothing. Sometimes it’s worse."

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The night of the 20th of April, we will take over the city of Newcastle by putting posters, stickers and writing in chalk to make Kony's face famous.

 

http://www.facebook.com/events/248825705205994/

 

Please don't.

 

I know. It's going to be a fucking massive pain in the arse. It's like putting up pictures of Saddam Hussein and saying 'stop that nasty man'. By all accounts he's on his last legs and the LRA have no power in Uganda.

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Guest Craig-NUFC

The night of the 20th of April, we will take over the city of Newcastle by putting posters, stickers and writing in chalk to make Kony's face famous.

 

http://www.facebook.com/events/248825705205994/

 

Please don't.

 

I know. It's going to be a f***ing massive pain in the arse. It's like putting up pictures of Saddam Hussein and saying 'stop that nasty man'. By all accounts he's on his last legs and the LRA have no power in Uganda.

 

Organise an alternative meetup. Get pissed before hand and follow 5 minutes behind the other group and tear down the signs.

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There are already US troops in Uganda and surrounding areas to track him down. It was filmed 10 years ago, a lot has changed it seems.

 

I'm not for or against it, I just wish folk would check facts first and stop being sheep.

 

This has become the main issue for me.

 

I was too quick to jump on the video band wagon like, I'll give the original post an edit.

 

I was the same. When I seen loads of stupid people I know harping on about it I decided there must be something wrong. Turns out there is :lol:

 

Same :lol:

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Total and utter ill-informed cringefest.

 

Do you think any good will come form it?

 

Could you suggest an effective alternative to combat issues that, in general, no one gives a f*** about until it hits them in face ?

 

Too early to say, I'm leaning towards no, though.

 

Nope, I'd refer back to a sentence in the one of the articles you posted - "Something isn’t always better than nothing. Sometimes it’s worse."

 

Yep, they hyperlinked that sentence as well, but to nothing of any use...

 

I was intrigued by that line, but, it doesn't explain why the statement might hold true, if ya get me!

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