"...journalist who has worked extensively in Uganda, starts busting some of the myths around Kony and the situation in Uganda. He writes:
It would be great to get rid of Kony. He and his forces have left abductions and mass murder in their wake for over 20 years.
But let's get two things straight:
1) Joseph Kony is not in Uganda and hasn't been for six years;
2) The LRA now numbers at most in the hundreds, and while it is still causing immense suffering, it is unclear how millions of well-meaning but misinformed people are going to help deal with the more complicated reality.
It makes the following points:
• The LRA is not in Uganda but now operates in the DRC, South Sudan and the Central African Republic
• In October last year, Obama authorised the deployment of 100 US army advisers to help the Ugandan military track down Kony, with no results disclosed to date.
• The LRA is much smaller than previously thought. It does not have have 30,000 or 60,000 child soldiers. The figure of 30,000 refers to the total number of children abducted by the LRA over nearly 30 years.
It also makes the point that there is currently no threat to remove the US advisers who are working with the Uganda government to track down the army – Invisible Children's key aim is to force the US government to keep them there.
We're contacting Michael to ask him to write more about the background to this for us.
11.43am: Peter Bradshaw, the Guardian's film critic, has just filed his verdict on the Kony 2012, which will be up on the site soon.
I'm posting a taster below, partly in response to the reader who has just emailed me saying: "I am a mum in Devon with three kids, just about to run six miles for Sports Relief, please get behind this. Hollywood slick, who cares, support the kids – raise awareness and then start the criticism. It is a simple message which my 15-year-old son sent to me – Hollywood or not, it works!"
Peter Bradshaw writes:
Maybe Jason Russell's web-based film Kony 2012, calling for international action to stop the Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony, can't be considered great documentary-making. But as a piece of digital polemic and digital activism, it is quite simply brilliant.
It's a slick, high-gloss piece of work, distributed on the Vimeo site, the upscale version of YouTube for serious film-makers. And its sensational, exponential popularity growth on the web is already achieving one of its stated objectives: to make Kony famous, to publicise this psychopathic warlord's grotesque crimes – kidnapping thousands of children and turning them into mercenaries, butchers and rapists.
It does not stick to the conventions of impartial journalism in the BBC style. It is partisan, tactless and very bold. But it could be seen as insufferably condescending, a way of making US college kids feel good about themselves. And is Jason Russell scared to come out and admit that effective action entails an old-fashioned boots-on-soil invasion of a landlocked African country, with all the collateral damage that this implies?"
Taken from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/r...?newsfeed=true
I didn't get through the entire article there but there were some very valid points made.
Actually, there is a lot of misinformation on both sides of the argument. I actually compiled a bunch of commonly misstated facts just for the purpose of clarifying:
- Kony and the LRA are no longer Uganda, but have moved into the Congo, Sudan and the Central African Republic (1)
- LRA has been active throughout 2011. They are //not// inactive, though the scale of their attacks has significantly decreased (2)
- Kony does not currently have 30,000 troops in his army. The LRA is assumed to number anywhere from 500 to 3,000 strong. Roughly half are thought to be women and children. (3)
- Of the 5 highest ranking LRA members, 2 (Vincent Otti and Raska Lukwiya) have been killed (4) (5)
- Kony himself is not confirmed dead or alive.
- The number of children the LRA has abducted or killed over the group's lifetime is estimated to be 66,000. The war between the LRA and local governments has displaced 2,000,000 Ugandans overall. (6)
- The International Criminal Court indicted Kony in 2005, charging him with 33 counts of international crime--22 war crimes and 12 crimes against humanity. (7)
- According to agencies, Kony is 9th most wanted man on the planet and listed as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist". (8)(9)
- Invisible Children, in 2011, received over $13 mil in donations. $8 mil was used for expenses. 37% of that $8 mil went directly to Uganda. That is approximately $3.3 mil. (10) Their tax return (tax year ending Jun 30, 2011) states that $2.8 mil went directly to Uganda -- remember this only accounts for expenses before the end of the tax year. It is currently March 2012. (11)
- The executive salary for IC members is roughly $88,000 dollars. Including rent and salaries, administrative costs are 16% of their expenses ($8 mil) The leaders' salaries are only about 3-4% of expenses. (12)
- "Non-profit" does not mean no pay. Many non-profit organizations pay their high level executives, sometimes upwards of $1 mil annually. (13)
- Much of the footage in KONY 2012 is not recent, but taken during a trip to Uganda in 2003. No citation because it's stated in the film.
- Invisible Children has existed since 2003. (14)
- There are no apparent objectives to send more troops to Uganda (not mentioned in any of IC's mission statements or in the film), merely to support the 100 troops already deployed in Oct. 2011 by Pres. Obama. (8)
- AFRICOM (United States Africa Command) was deemed operational in Oct. 2008, creating a military network throughout all African nations except Egypt. There are currently 2,000 AFRICOM personnel, 1,500 of whom are stationed in the headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. The remaining 500 are stationed in Florida, England, or active in Africa. (15)
- There are no physical AFRICOM bases in Africa. (15)
- Uganda struck oil, projected to create revenue of $2 billion annually, in 2005-'06. (16)
As far as financials go, IC is not particularly great but not an outright "scam", either. Their executives make far less than most charity executives do but, because they are a significantly smaller charity that get less revenue, the administrative costs seemingly take up a larger percentage of the revenue by relation. Cuz obviously the amount of money you make varies, but expenses are relatively static without expansion or shrinkage of the actual organization. If you go on Charity Navigator and browse the highest rated charities, many of their executives make over 150k yearly. The CEO for American Red Cross makes almost a million. The idea that IC is full of turds that overcompensate themselves is not necessarily true. It just seems that way because people are comparing a million dollar charity to billion dollar charities.
Criticism should be directed away from finances and more toward the IMPLICATIONS of what hunting down Kony will do, since he is the kind of guy to enact retribution against civilians.
http://www.invisiblechildren.com/critiques.html To add to what Cyp just said - this page is basically invisible children attempting to answer the questions/criticisms everyone's been posting online.
You're right, invisible children are a problem. How are we meant to discipline what we can't see.
Well they're Ugandan so I figure they're visible during the day. /sendmetohellalready
The potential for effective debate about the issue lessens every day. it looks something like this:
"STOP KONY! *reposts Kony 2012 video*"
"Educate yourself, stop blindly following other people! *reposts random tumblr, vlog, reddit post or editorial paper as if it were absolute truth*"
Misinformation and propaganda is ruining everything.
Has anyone noticed how short the timespan is between the death of Bin Laden and the sudden media attention for Kony?
another weird thing is how out of the blue people are saying: "what happens in Uganda is bad, we need to do something!"
while it's been going on for 26 years. not to mention nearly all of Africa is basicly filled with these kind of conflicts.
Hell i've heard storys about little children getting raped by both rebels and government soldiers somewhere in Sudan (might be Congo, not sure tough. correct me if i'm wrong) besides, since when do human right organisations condone military intervention?
Something is very fishy about this KONY 2012 campaign...
I think that can just be summed up by people's ignorance of world conflicts. My country went through a similar crises. Only a few months ago, the UN decided to intervene. Even then, most people still do not know what happened in my country, even AFTER the UN intervention.