Just going to leave this here.
"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, Iím 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. Theyíve 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 donít think thatís a good thing, and Iím 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 32% went to direct services (page 6), with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production. This is far from ideal, and Charity Navigator rates their accountability 2/4 stars because they havenít 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 governmentís army and various other military forces. Hereís a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan Peopleís Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan Peopleís Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is ďbetter equipped than that of any of the other affected countriesĒ, although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasnít been since 2006 by their own admission.
Still, the bulk of Invisible Childrenís spending isnít on funding African militias, but on awareness and filmmaking. Which can be great, except that Foreign Affairs has claimed that Invisible Children (among others) ďmanipulates facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRAís use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony ó a brutal man, to be sure ó as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil.Ē Heís 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 ICís programming, ďThereís also something inherently misleading, naive, maybe even dangerous, about the idea of rescuing children or saving of Africa. [Ö] It hints uncomfortably of the White Manís Burden. Worse, sometimes it does more than hint. The savior attitude is pervasive in advocacy, and it inevitably shapes programming. Usually misconceived programming.Ē
Still, Konyís a bad guy, and heís 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 theyíve 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 childrenís 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 donít realize theyíre supporting the Ugandan military who are themselves raping and looting away. If people know this and still support Invisible Children because they feel itís the best solution based on their knowledge and research, I have no issue with that. But I donít think most people are in that position, and thatís a problem.
Is awareness good? Yes. But these problems are highly complex, not one-dimensional and, frankly, arenít 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 isnít helping. Do I have a better answer? No, I donít, but that doesnít mean that you should support KONY 2012 just because itís something. Something isnít always better than nothing. Sometimes itís 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 Konyís crimes on Facebook, go ahead. But letís keep it about Joseph Kony, not KONY 2012."
An international war criminal with experience in guerrilla warfare with access to weapons and resources, difficult-to-detect personnel who are still killing at chance (I believe the latest attack was 100 dead in late '10) still needs to be brought to justice, not left to his own devices. Not trying to argue with you, just stating how it is.
Sry guys, I'm a little late replying, haven't been on the computer all day.
Oh god...I feel so misinformed now. It's interesting to see how popular something like this became, only to find out shortly the hypocrisy of it all.
I don't understand why, however? Like what's the point of exaggerating Kony and his act, or defending people who actually rape and murder as well? Did they not think any of this through well enough, did they want fame? It kind of pisses me off.
Do you guys think the US government is going to keep trying to capture him, however? The documentary made it seem like if everyone didn't spread the news THIS YEAR, then the US is bailing and Uganda's fucked.
The last time we did something against the LRA, the Republicans threw a shitfit. Also while I would like to see Kony and other monsters like him brought to justice, I'd much rather see steps being taken to prevent future criminals like them from ever coming to power. Protecting the innocent and helping victims should always take precedent over punishing the guilty. Especially in something like war crimes, where I think we can all agree that actually pursuing and punishing war criminals in no way acts as a deterrent, I mean, fuck, most of the nations that did the pursuing of war criminals, like America and Israel, are basically the current biggest war criminals of all.
But yes. The problems surrounding this video and Invisible Children do not in any way undo or lessen the real horrors of Kony and just because these guys have some bad ideas, it doesn't mean that Kony should be left alone or escape punishment.
@toast: There is nothing really exaggerated about Kony. He is basically the incarnate of what liberal America shudders to think when they're vehemently blasting organized religion. A religious zealot who killed countless people because he thinks God told him to. IMO, still worth bringing a guy like that to justice. In a situation like this, we must remember that humanity is not on a sliding scale. because things are typically "worse off" in Uganda doesn't mean they aren't still far worse than they are in America. So to say that Kony is an evil man who must be brought to justice is not in any way an overstatement in my mind.
But yeah, not sure if KONY 2012 is the right organization to actually DO this, though. They seem to be taking sides too easily.
I agree. Because otherwise, it would be quite hypocritical. It's like fighting violence with violence, and it's always pissed me off when people take that road (like those people who are mad about Osama's death because he wasn't brutally tortured)
Besides, I was looking around on reddit, and apparently the recruitment of children has decreased like 80% since a while ago, and it wasn't even because of IC...so they are essentially conning people now into "donating" their money and buying action kits and shit. It's easy to get people in my age group to be swayed by this cause, so they focus on facebook and tumblr and the act of spreading the word. This is bullshit. I feel so damn naive lol.
Here's the reddit article I looked at: http://www.reddit.com/r/DAE/comments...picious_about/
EDIT2: Yeah, I think it's important that we do lock him up. It's basically the right thing to do. It's just disheartening to find out that in the end, "spreading the word" does nothing. Like what the visible children dude said in his FAQ, it's like breast cancer awareness. When we're all aware, then what? I don't know if actually getting more people involved would influence the US government to get more involved, because it seems like they're already pretty much trying. I doubt this guys too easy to catch, and Northern Uganda seems to be doing a ton better anyway. Iunno