New Post on Kony Over at The Atlantic

Kate and I have a follow-up to our drinking game post (more analysis, but fewer cocktails) over at The Atlantic.  Excerpt:

Invisible Children has turned the myopic worldview of the adolescent — “if I don’t know about it, then it doesn’t exist, but if I care about it, then it is the most important thing in the world” — into a foreign policy prescription. The “invisible children” of the group’s name were the children of northern Uganda forcibly recruited by the LRA. In the group’s narrative, these children were “invisible” until American students took notice of them.
 
Awareness of their plight achieved, child soldiers are now visible to the naked American eye. And in fact, several months ago, President Obama sent 100 military advisors to Uganda to assist in the effort to track down Kony. But according to Invisible Children, these troops may be recalled unless the college students of America raise yet more awareness. The new video instructs its audience to put up posters, slap on stickers, and court celebrities’ favor until Kony is “as famous as George Clooney.” At that moment, sufficient awareness will have been achieved, and Kony will be magically shipped off to the International Criminal Court to await trial.

For more, head over to The Atlantic’s website. Enjoy!

55 thoughts on “New Post on Kony Over at The Atlantic

  1. It’s funny to me how many young kids still don’t get social networking. It’s not just a place to post your lol cats. The f-ing Egyptian revolution was not televised, it was twitterized and plastered over facebook. It raised awareness and then spread like wildfire. All the haters are pissed the IC and this one guy might take a little credit for something nobody else thought to do. They also seem weirdly mad that it’s just a bunch of “bratty” US college kids supporting the movement. It’s true that the movement need some more international support to gain greater appreciation.

    Don’t worry, we won’t blame you when it works.

    • Ahh yes, and the “arab spring” has turned out so well. And it was so egalitarian! I think you can rest easy there skippy – If I were you I’d be less worried about your social media savvy and the IC “helping” – and more worried about your lack of real knowledge about this (and, likely, other world issues).

      • Who said Arabs fighting for equality was going to be easy?? Are you going to mobilize against it? And explain how it could have happened without an online social network?? I guess arab governments are cracking down on these networks because of their hatred of lol cats.

        I’m just one person and don’t claim any “real” knowledge, but why so dismissive of advocacy? I applaud the NGOs and people who’ve committed their lives to this cause, but the video clearly shows Inhofe, a UN official and others saying if American people do not continue to push for this, they will likely pull out. Look at civil rights and tell me the mass mobilization was not necessary. Look at Israel-Palestine and tell me we need more NGOs and professionals working for on a two-state solution.

        • With regard to Israel, we need far less Americans moving to Isreal as an ideological move, and esp as settlers to illegal settlements. It would help if Israel received less US funding. It would help if Hamas had less funding. Howeever, the situation in palestine/isreal is both extremely complex and generational. And no, I don’t think more NGOs on the ground will make any real difference. Chipping away at false notions (like this website is doing) to reach a greater number of people, coupled with poltical will and actual agreements – which is difficult given the nature of the dispute – is likely to only be one of the more likely options.

          With regard to the “arab spring” – yes, some changes have taken place, in other cases it has been less than “ideal” than it would appear (by people not really tuned in to the actual outcome). In the case of (haha!) changes in saudi arabia, a few which were speedily put in after the demonstrations in Bahrain – it has actually put less focus on more inportant changes which are required. In some cases, those that have replaced those in government are as corrupt and/or hardline.

          No, you shouldn’t be dismissive of advocacy – but as this blog (and the very well-written piece in the Atlantic) points out it is only of value If the advocay you support has a point and if the advocacy has substance. Where it does not – as in the IC case – then yes, criticism is important. If you, as you say don’t claim any “real knowledge” then for god’s sake, use this opportunity to gain some. And, yes the women writing this blog DO have more experience and knowledge about it than many. But if you don’t care what they think, have a look around – those at FP have doubts, or many many of those who work in development, or even the women who took the original shocking photo of IC guys, or I do (my background – grew up it he middle east, work in int development, have worked in over 10 countries), or a close friend working in southern Sudan for the UN who just emailed me about it (agreeing with the criticism).

          But hey, who cares about “real knowledge” right? Better to just jump on an bandwagon with half-formed ideas.

  2. So college kids mobilizing for Occupy Wallstreet were spoiled, unemployed, delusional idiots, but those now lining up to save Uganda because of IC’s, skewed at best, video are heroes?

    This does not compute with rational Americans.

  3. Dislike – this article offers no ideas and is misguided on so many levels…
    - The film’s message is simple in order to appeal to as wide of an audience as possible. This makes it an extremely effective piece of (good) propaganda. The complex political dynamics is quite irrelevant given the level of atrocities – it should be discussed at the man’s trial and afterwards, but it is not a call for action
    - True, awareness is not enough but it seems that this campaign is aimed at actively lobbying powerful governments. This is probably the most worthwhile thing they can do, since these have the expertise and resources to assess the situation and decide on the most effective plan. While it started in the US, it seems that they are trying to make it into a global effort. Sure, it should not be done in a thoughtless Bush-like way, but doing nothing hardly seems like a good recipe to catch a war criminal…
    - I haven’t seen their budget but the issues raised in the article seem non-existent – travelling, film making, and posters are exactly what the Kony 2012 people claim to be doing anyway. Their purpose is to communicate effectively (with enough people behind them) to those who can actually do the planning and big scale stuff. Trying to do more than these core competencies would simply make them redundant like many other charities and NGOs
    - Local authorities are involved – the US could not send training staff unless Uganda welcomed them. But can these countries really do it alone? LRA operates across the borders of a few of the world’s poorest countries, with high corruption, and illiteracy. Does one really expect them to coordinate effectively without international support?
    - As for the lack of economic/political gain to be made, usually the opposite criticism is made. Even in this case, it can be argued that since China is rapidly expanding its influence in Africa, America should be there too, so there you have it

    • Unfortunately the “aid” they are giving equates to military funding for Uganda. In this context funding for a military that A) has not had any contact with Kony since 2005 and B) doesn’t exactly have the best human rights record themselves (see: genocide and …oh yeah child soldiers). In fact the Ugandan Army was the exact same type of paramilitary guerilla force as the LRA following the fall of Idi Amin. The only difference is that they won and changed their name from the National Resistance Army (sound familiar) to the Uganda People’s Defence Army. I’m not opposed to people being aware of the issue, but the movements goal is to raise money for IC. For those who say the goal is to raise awareness in the US will make elected officials do something should know that AFRICOM (the US military and Intelligence command in Africa) has attempted to kill Kony on several occassions. If you think that a large scale incursion into the Congo by Ugandan forces would be a good thing or more effective than US special forces than Im sorry but your an idiot. Every time its resulted in the death of children soldiers, and the LRA has retaliated by killing civilians. In this case doing nothing is a far better option than doing what they plan. Also maybe we should be discussing the amount of times foreign military intervention in Africa has had a positive consequence, because I’m really starting to get tired of this White Man’s Burden bullshit. With the exception of Sierra Leone the answer would be zero (anyone who responds with Libya might want to wait awhile before they predict the consequences of a political vacuum in an ethnically divided country with foreign oil revenue and more paramilitary forces than you could shake a stick at).

      Lastly this media campaign focuses on the child soldiers of the LRA as if they’re the only ones on the continent. Not only are their more children affected by warfare in West Africa, but these children can also be helped. They’ve returned to post-war societies that both hate and fear them. Plus many of them have HIV/AIDS due to sexual abuse or PSTD. I’ll be impressed if any of you can identify the nations where these children fought, the name of the forces involved, or the history behind the conflicts.

      I’ll leave you with this link to a picture of IC’s leaders with Ugandan Army Operatives they’ve just armed. http://www.wrongingrights.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/GlennaGordon_InvisibleChildrenA.jp

      • IC claims that they do not provide any funding to the Ugandan military: http://s3.amazonaws.com/www.invisiblechildren.com/critiques.html
        In fact, one of the reasons why the US advisers were deployed is to “improve the behavior of the local forces” – http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2011/10/ugandas-lords-resistance-army
        If you have read about the issue, you would know that the LRA has been weakened and their numbers reduced. In a situation like this, it can be argued that a better coordinated front against them has a much higher chance of success than in the past, if the political will exists to assist it. If not, as the beginning of the video warns, it is quite plausible that the LRA might be able to replenish their ranks with more child soldiers over time and continue to terrorize the region, hindering other development efforts. Given that the LRA is believed to be down to less than 1000 fighters, a large scale incursion is probably unnecessary, and correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t remember anyone advocating such a thing? I agree with the importance of the other issues you’ve raised, and I think that they can and should be handled by UN or other international bodies working with the local governments if governments around the world put them on a more prominent place in their agendas (which is what IC seems to be calling for). It is difficult to do other meaningful projects without security and rule of law, and going after a most wanted mass murderer, who has committed atrocities in 4 countries in the region seems like a worthwhile place to start

        • Unfortunately whether or not anyone has suggested a full scale incursion into the Congo it would absolutely be necessary to find Kony. The Congo consists of rich jungle, and the LRA consists of dozens and dozens semi-autonomous groups. Any successful attempt to find Kony would require a lot of boots on the ground for an extended period of time. Also the idea that international (western) institutions are needed to reform the Ugandan military (which has as much need to face the ICC as Kony btw) not only reeks of White Man’s Burden, but robs those involved of true justice. If he were captured by Ugandan forces he would not face a true and just trial. He would go to a Ugandan military court, and be summarily executed. Not as a war criminal, but as an enemy of the state. Also, once again, this campaign focuses on a man that is in large part irrelevant at this point, and ignores far more pressing issues on the continent.

          Despite all of this I must say your argument illustrates much more understanding of the issue than most, and I do respect a rational debate. On both sides of this issue people seem to be blindly supporting whatever misinformed article they last read.

  4. Congratulations! You are now acting like the very spoiled and uninformed people whom you mock. Perhaps you should create a drinking game to this post?

  5. Never seen your blog before. First and last visit. I think your Blog should be called “Very Serious ‘sounding’ Commentary on Very Important Issues by people who take themselves very seriously” . I know it’s longer but I think it’s more accurate. Seriously though I read your entire post on the Atlantic website and I marvel that you would put out a piece that when summarised says “Hi, you’ve never heard of us and we’re bitter about it”. LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME.

    The fact is you aren’t making a difference and they are. That is all.

    But hey if I’d dropped a ton on an education like yours I’d be upset too.

  6. I’m also a concerned westerner who doesn’t like this Kony for President 2012 guy. I’ve liked the video on YouTube.

    My work here is done now, right? I “made a difference” after all. I increased the views by +1!

  7. I’m not sure these girls understand how democracy works. Fact: The American government is in a position to actually do something about catching Kony. This isn’t arrogance. Fact: Things that are not important to American citizens are subsequently not important to American elected representatives. This isn’t only about some college students wearing wristbands.

    The authors of this blog don’t even bother to propose an alternative method of increasing the probability of Joseph Kony’s capture. Oh, it’s such a complicated situation and this grossly oversimplified approach might not work, so let’s do nothing? Well that hasn’t worked for the past 20 years. So let’s try something different. Let’s try this. Let’s try trying for once.

    • ” Fact: The American government is in a position to actually do something about catching Kony”
      Well yeah, sure. If you accept nuking the forest as an option. Guaranteed to get him then!

      “this grossly oversimplified approach might not work, so let’s do nothing?”
      Do nothing? So you really think “nothing” has been happening just because your privileged white ass didn’t know about it?

      Tell me: Before you watched Kony 2012, did you even /know/ that America had sent 100 specialists (sorry, “advisors”) in to deal with it? That right there is evidence that things have been happening.

      • For starters, I don’t see the Kony situation as complex at all. My (African) country had Kony elements in its history that were pretty straight forward – there existed a power struggle, innocents were caught in the middle – simples. Second, for such a “simple” problem to exist for 26 yrs indicates that indeed nothing was being done. Lastly, as someone who suffered through American academia (STEM Ph.D), I can safely say, Ivory Tower academics are some of the biggest faux liberals (or are they perhaps true liberals in caring more for dogma and “sounding smart” than anything concrete and worthwhile??) around.

    • “I’m not sure these girls understand how democracy works.”

      First, by “girls”, I am sure you mean women. Right? You would infantilize someone just to make yourself sound/feel superior.

      Second, perhaps you should read the about section. They both work on issues like this on a daily basis.

      Third, really, you don’t think they know how democracy works. Well I’m betting you’re just the big, brave, smart man willing to put these two “girls” in their place and tell them how it works! No? Oh, right. I am pretty sure that two women in their positions not only know how democracy works, but understand how aid, development and democracy intersect and interact with issues of human rights issues.

      I’m pretty sure that throwing money at issues from afar has been tried and failed. Also, white people moving into Africa without regard for what’s actually going on or the historical context in order to “save” the masses has actually been tried before. It’s called colonialism.

  8. “Oh no! Our overly-simplistic yet compelling narrative is being questioned by these people with their “learning” and “expertise”. And worse, they’re women! Quick, remind them that we’re exactly the same as the Arab Spring!”

    I never really believed there was an actual anti-intellectual thing going on in the US till I read this comment thread. Terrifying.

  9. hey you got two tweets and a +1 … good job. add 6 or 7 zeros to that and you’ll have been viewed nearly as many times as the IC video, but with a LOT more dislikes.

    • Hey! IC now have 5 million views for a video which is “super cool!” to watch – Yay Video! Yay IC! by people that somehow had got this far in life NOT to know about the LRA, that the IC is heavily into publicity over and above substance, that Kony is not in Uganda, that the Obama administration has and is already looking for him, and that Uganda is currently plagued by other problems such as poverty and corruption. But hey! who cares what actual people who work in these areas (and yes, I do as well) think! Who cares what Foreign Policy magazine or more thoughtful magazines like the Atlantic think. Who cares! The IC is SUPER COOL! AND it’s “trending” on twitter! Yay! Maybe Angelina Jolie and Brad pitt could be the face for it on People Magazine – that would reach EVERYONE that counts!

      Your comment and others like it are worrying. I would be my life you do not work in anything to do with human rights or development. If you did you would be less quick to jump on the bandwagon and more critical where it really counts.

      • ava, the only thing that’s worrying is the amount of time you’ve spent in these comments. If the IC bothers you, just look away cause you’re really not educating anyone whose claimed a stake on this issue. The irony of you incessant focus on bashing these supporters is reaching pure comedic levels.

  10. Amanda, Kate:
    Please list for us, in as much detail as you can, what you have done for the civilian victims of Kony’s 20-year insurgency BEFORE Kony 2012 came out three days ago? And then, please explain why that has been of more value to victims of LRA violence than Jason Russell’s production of a film that has had 50 million views?
    Because all I see here is two smart-ass grad students, who’ve achieved nothing at all in their lives indulging their feelings of superiority.
    (Me? I work for a humanitarian agency and am directly involved in managing operations in LRA-affected areas. And I don’t claim to have had any effect whatsoever other than help a small number of the affected…)

  11. Thanks for your article in the Atlantic. You certainly raised many valid points about how to create substantial change, but ultimately, you dumping all over the Kony 2012 video doesn’t help. 55 million people have watched this video (probably a good bit less than that in terms of people watching several times, clicking but not watching, etc. but still a lot of people) and how many people have read your blog? A couple hundred? How many thousands of years would you have to write before you reached that many people? Yes, reaching people DOES matter.

    A large enough public outcry can compel our government to act. Money helps a lot more with this, but public pressure can have an impact. That is one of the good things about our country. 1,000 impassioned and dedicated people might not sway Congress or the President to do anything. But 20 million phone calls and letters from bandwagon-ers to this cause can move them. That’s where the strength of this campaign resides.

    It must be very hard to see this one video is bringing people into this issue who haven’t been involved in it for years, who aren’t ‘truly committed’ to it, and that must sting a bit. It hurts because it’s done something you haven’t been able to do. No one likes that. I saw that with the nonprofit I worked for – the old guard who ‘owned’ the issue in the city didn’t like us because we had a different approach. We weren’t stopping them or keeping them from doing things their way, but we wanted to add something to the fight against homelessness that they didn’t do, and people resented us for it.

    Blaming awareness campaigns as making the issue worse doesn’t hold up. Yes, people want “something” to be done. Do you expect every person who supports a cause to be experts at it and know exactly what should be done to fix things? That’s just crazy. When people say they want something done, they’re telling our leaders to figure it out and to put our collective resources behind it. If resources were infinite then awareness wouldn’t matter, but since they are finite awareness can impact where those resources are spent.

    Results. That’s the only thing that matters here. If the ‘true believer’ organizations that have been involved with this for decades haven’t stopped this by now, then perhaps that’s not the only, or at least not the best, way to accomplish the end result of bringing Kony to justice.

    You come across as petty and condescending in your article because people are joining in the fight for this when you’ve been involved for years. Yes, your ideas and efforts will be sidelined by a wave of new influence, and that probably does stink for you. But your way of doing things hasn’t created “political momentum” or “effective solutions” to this problem that you advocate for. Maybe it’s time for new ideas here.

    • ? As the writers at FP magazine make clear the Obama adminstration is already got army advisors working to find Kony. And that there is no hints that this is stopping. So. Given that agencies like UNHCR assist displaced people in areas such as southern Sudan, there there are many smaller NGOs on the ground, and that there are other issues (poverty, corruption) plaguing Uganda – I’m not sure exactly what the campaign is for – do you?

  12. I used to read this blog a lot, and lately haven’t – but I will certainly begin again. I cannot fathom many of the comments here. Thank God there is a website/article/posts by two intelligent women that counteract the childlike activism of IC. And yes, I get that IC may (seem) to raise awareness, but again, as had been pointed out in blogs such as this and elsewhere (oh, I miss AidWatch..come back Easterly!) this is often an illusion. Awareness that is based on half-assed “knowledge” to somehow “help” with an extremely complex issue (most of which will not be affected one iota by by said issue “trending” on twitter or that 9 million people watched a video) doesn’t help. And to all the comments that ask what Wronging Rights is doing. The answer? A lot. Intelligence, understanding, and real awareness of the world around us is the answer. Maybe the only real one.

    Oh, and for anyone who thinks this blog doesn’t cut in, they might want to check out the equally critical article about IC in Foreign Policy Magazine.

    To WR, good on you guys – I’m impressed.

  13. The entire Arab spring is driven by awareness, and you think awareness isn’t that great, or that we might start feeling compassion fatigue. I think you guys should just call yourselves Genocide hipsters. You’re basically upset that it’s all mainstream now. You’d be insane to deny that awareness won’t lead to voting, political activism, or raising the bar against apathy. You’re hopefully intelligent enough to know that, while yes intervention can lead to more violence, genocide and generations of child-soldiers are pretty much on the farther end. So really, you don’t have an argument–you’re just kind of upset that awareness is so popular now. Maybe you should sob into a latte rather than criticizing compassion?

    • Except the Arab Spring was a situation where the problem was that there wasn’t mass awareness in the individual countries of the scale of popular discontent or strategies to use that discontent. There is no such problem re: Kony, especially amongst the middle classes of western countries. The two issues are completely incomparable.

    • Benjamin, you are so, very right. It seems empathy and hipster-dom do not go together. I know that’s a mighty critique to hurl at hipsters, but I’m sorry to say, the anti-IC crowd come across as people who have attempted to pass themselves off as socially conscious and are now bitter that their causes have come to the attention of the mindless masses. They can no longer get hippie cred for “knowing and caring” about “important issues”. Not only that, they are mad that their actions (or rather non-actions in the form of pointless academic pontificating in unread pretentious journals) yielded absolutely nothing, and yet the IC campaign became “popular”. Why on earth are African academics/intellectuals (not necessarily the same thing) not being consulted about this issue?? And no, government-employed “journalists” do not count.

  14. Ms. Cronin-Furman and Ms. Taub,

    Thank you, for your viewpoints in your editorial over at The Atlantic. Your claim to credibility on this topic is that you “actually work with populations affected by mass atrocity.” I, too, would like to know more about specific endeavors you have undertaken to end these atrocities. Because, after trying to further my knowledge of your position on Invisible Children (IC) and the LRA by referring to your blog, I’m not sure whether I should be more offended by the lightheartedness of your tone in the face of mass murder/rape/slavery (See: “Kony drinking game” blog post) or by the vilification of millions of Americans who’ve chosen to become involved by donating or asking our leaders to remedy the situation.
    A legitimate point is raised that improved awareness, which has subsequently led and could again lead to further involvement in Central Africa by American troops, may only serve to deepen the conflict. Yes, the burden should be upon local leaders and activists to overcome their predicament with enduring solutions. However, those in power have allowed this struggle to persist for 2 decades, not to mention the brainwashing and deaths of over 30,000 children, which means their solutions have been wildly ineffective. Hence, the support of advocacy groups, such as IC, and the United States’ government take on greater significance. The US has not imposed its will, as you imply; instead, it has begun working in unison with African forces to catch Kony.
    Wholeheartedly, I disagree with your notion that awareness campaigns like Invisible Children, with their glamour, obscure more satisfactory ways of resolving conflicts. The opinion, in itself, is almost contradictory- what you suggest is that awareness of the campaign itself somehow generates ignorance toward more effective strategies for defeating the LRA. Awareness is not an end, but rather a conduit for achieving overall goals. I also oppose your position that the US should refrain from involvement in this issue because it is unprepared, the conflict will cost lives and eventually fade from public sentiment, and simply because it will not benefit us in terms of resources. Somalia is cited as a good example of a conflict in which the consequences outweighed the rewards. Yet, by this logic, the United States shouldn’t have battled Hitler and the Nazis because we were still recovering from the Great Depression and precious resources were already diverted in the war against Japan. Should we have just let the Nazis sweep through Europe continuing to torture and kill anyone of Non-Aryan lineage? If you want a more recent example, how about the US involvement in the liberation of Kosovo? In short, many times when there is great injustice, action is necessary.
    I won’t allege that I’m anywhere near an expert in foreign affairs. Don’t take my word for it. Instead, why don’t you reread the report on the LRA from the International Crisis Group, published in April 2004, that you, yourselves, hyperlinked in the Atlantic article under the words, “complex political dynamics?” The author/authors, who probably have a tad bit more knowledge about the situation than you, say:
    • The LRA killed 200 civilians in Feb. 2004 unmasking “serious
    deficiencies in the government’s capacity to defend the population…”
    • Discussion on how to end the conflict revolves around the “false
    dichotomy of a military versus a negotiated solution. Elements of both approaches will be required, along with recognition of the
    limitations of each.”
    • “The international community will be central to achieving a
    resolution. The (Ugandan) government needs to be attentive to the
    advice of donors. It has a good record on a number of issues, such
    as AIDS prevention.”
    • ” Create an international contact group to act as a conduit for
    communications between the parties to the conflict.”
    • “Increase humanitarian assistance to affected populations”

    Perhaps, what angers me most about your article is you suggest repeatedly that Americans have been aware of this issue for some time, but were neglectful. No, it wasn’t the Kony video that implied “not enough Americans care.” It was you who explicitly stated this and decided to attribute it to the filmmakers. While there have been news programs and other NGOs devoted to bringing attention to the LRA’s grievous acts, none have gained as much widespread recognition as IC.
    Americans have been asked for help from people on the ground who are actually making a difference. If you have a more effective solution, provide it. Otherwise, don’t deride the contributions that philanthropic individuals make, no matter how minor they may be.

    Addendum: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

    • Christ almighty. I don’t even know where to begin. I take it this IC campaign (and you will note is is now 2012, that report you state is from 2004 – yes, life moves on! situations change) is your first foray in the big world.

      Oh, and as someone with a background in anthropology, Margaret Mead was an academic, and thought outside the box. Who was thoughtful, and didn’t go for simplistic options. I would bet my life she would agree with Wronging Rights, FP magazine, The Atlantic, and the many many development bloggers/workers/academics out there.

      • I cite the International Crisis Group report from 2004 because it’s the one that the authors link to the Atlantic article. Don’t kid yourself that since this report is dated that it’s recommendations have softened or been altered substantially. If you would like, I’ll present you with the proposals from a report from the very same Crisis Group in April 2010.
        1. Adopt a new strategy that prioritizes civilian protection.
        Review the operation every four months to assess
        civilian casualties and increase civilian protection
        measures accordingly.
        2. Set a clear goal and timeline for the operation, such as
        the neutralization of the LRA leadership within one year.
        3. Work with civilians to set up unarmed and voluntary
        community security committees in the Congo and
        increase the capacity of self-defence groups in South
        Sudan
        4. Deploy a team to the theatre of operations to run an intelligence platform that centralizes all operational information from the Ugandan and other armies, as well
        as the UN and civilian networks, and provides analysis
        to the Ugandans to better target military operations.
        5. Create a regional team with members in both the Congo
        and South Sudan dedicated to gathering, analysing
        and sharing information on LRA activities and advising
        on how best to protect civilians.
        6. Work more closely with the Congolese, South Sudan
        … armies through joint patrols and offensive operations, in full compliance with the UN’s conditionality policy on support to national armies, and by sharing information so they gain a full understanding of the operation and improve their counterinsurgency tactics.
        7. Instruct local authorities, police and the security forces
        to work with communities in the support of selfdefence
        groups; local administrators should register all members, agree in writing on their specific tasks, plan and monitor group activities carefully.

        • Ironically, I work in this field, and have a close friend – that heads up (yes, really) the south sudan UN camps – he works (runs) issues to do with refugees and returnees. I have other fiends and collegues working in these areas, and all agree with the critcisms.

          So, a couple of things.

          1) the Obama administration has already authorised army/advisors to look for Kony.

          2) the area between south sudan, DRC, CAR, North Uganda is extremely hard to police, given the fluidity of the borders.

          3) The UN and other NGOS are on the ground working, where required, with famililes and children affected by the war.

          4) The IC does not programmes on the ground, nor does it have a transparent and accountable system of auditing. Of the money it raises, most goes to travel and more publicity. And yes, this is an important issue to take into account.

          5)The IC does not have a good reputuation with those who count (e.g. those people that work with these issues day in and day out and Not only when they are “trending on twitter”.

          6) Any NGO or other organisation who gave a real damn about this would put all the money it could towards actual programmes. The irony here? Many actually do, and Because they don’t have an inane video or plastic bracelets they are not known of. Funny that.

          7) So, lets say that Billy Bob down in Kentucky, or Susan Johnson in Virgina or first year and super keen! college student Brad Curtis (who have Somehow got this far not knowing about the LRA – I mean, come on! It’s very well known among anyone that actually takes an interest or works with world issues) watched the video, sends off a twitter@#, buys the $30 Action Kit !! and plasters their town with said images. And? What now? Obama has advisors looking for him, the area is he is in is vast and not easily policed, not secure and he will have many people (and other groups) who would shelter him. So now 5 million people now of him. More than that knew about Osama, and it took thousands of lives over more than 10 years to bring that to fruition. That is it now trending on twitter and people have spent good money on kits – that, if they really cared, they could have made themselves (ever heard of poster card and a pen? or writing, if one feels like it to a member of government yourself?). The money – which must number in the millions by now, is being used to bolster IC, but last time I checked this was not supporting – in any meaningful way, actual programmes on the ground.

          The point – and it is a very good point, and, clearly! – a needed point that the writers of this blog are making is that to be engaged is good. To be aware is good. To slavishly follow something, simply because it is the most well-known, has a you-tube videe and action pack is less so. To be critical is not to do nothing. It’s not saying don’t be engaged and it’s 100% not saying Joseph Kony shouldn’t be tried for crimes against humanity. It’s saying, read EVERYTHING, esp from sources that work there (rather than using a ICG report to bend towards your argument), read the background of IC, read the reality of Uganda now, and the issues it is dealing with now – most esp that Kony is no longer in Uganda.

          Be engaged – as the writers of this blog are (they are lawyers in this area – are you? Do you work in this area?), that the writers of FP are, that the many dev bloggers are, that some other posters are. I am 100% against Kony – and I work with issue to do with Children’s rights in Africa and Asia, and I have a PhD in int dev and work in this field – and I do not support or like IC. Maybe, rather than watching one video and falling in line behind it – question why all these people who actually work in this area and DO give a damn don’t like IC.

          Ironically, given your post on the War, it was the unquestioning nature of the public, perhaps esp in Germany that allowed the atrocities to take place. Or, as you like quotes – as Hannah Ardent put it – “the banality of evil”.

          • I defer to your greater general knowledge of this issue. Like I said, I’m no expert in foreign affairs, an area in which you and the authors have expertise. That being said, I’d like to respond to some of the points you’ve made.

            1) I couldn’t agree more that it’s important to be critical of IC and how the group manages its funds. This is pure speculation, but with the amount of recognition that IC has received from Congress, I’m fairly sure the IRS would have audited the organization already. Generally, politicians want to know who they’re associating themselves with. Currently, IC maintains its 501(c)3 status, a US tax code that exempts nonprofits from paying federal income tax and basically, prevents contributions from being used toward personal benefit.

            2) You say IC does not have a good relationship with other people and groups who are dedicated to aiding the Central African region. Please, it is crucially important to back up a statement like this.

            3) You say, ” Any NGO or other organisation who gave a real damn about this would put all the money it could towards actual programmes. The irony here? Many actually do, and because they don’t have an inane video or plastic bracelets they are not known of. Funny that.”

            Is the fact that other NGOs haven’t made themselves accessible to the American public the fault of Americans or the fault of those NGOs who haven’t considered awareness campaigns, or somehow think these movements would be a waste of money? It seems to me that the return-on-investment (ROI) for IC has been astonishing. The positives/negatives of guerrilla-marketing-campaigns, like the one conducted by IC, are something I understand exceptionally well as I study and work in public relations.

            4) In regard to the crimes being committed by the LRA, you say, “It’s very well known among anyone that actually takes an interest or works with world issues.”
            I agree with you that it’s well-known among those who work in international relations, but disagree with you that it’s prominent outside of this realm. Keep in mind, although I could easily make the argument that the neglect by the mainstream media is to blame, not the supposed ignorance of the American people, I won’t. Because, in some aspects, you’re right. It is our fault for not seeking out this information; for not understanding the world around us. However, I disagree with yours and the authors’ notions that because many Americans have decided to support IC, they must be incapable of critical thought. And, I realize that the authors do explicitly state awareness is good (in the last paragraph), but do so in an almost paradoxical fashion. Essentially, they say awareness incites further violence, and you’re a fool to encourage/contribute to the flawed plan of IC, but it’s good. As a response to this, I fail to see how you characterize the donations, which are most assuredly being used to fund the early warning radio network and schools built by IC, as unmeaningful support.

            5) I’m not sure why you believe I bent the ICG report to fit my argument. Those recommendations are quoted directly from its reports. In my humble opinion, its suggestions correlate extremely well with what I was trying to say.

            6) Finally, and most importantly, the difficulty of policing the borders and apprehending Kony should not deter the US government from training and assisting African forces. We must lend a hand, because at this point, the governments where Kony and his army now operate, the DRC and CAR, have shown they lack the resources necessary to defeat him. Again, this is not America’s burden; it is the responsibility of local authorities to come up with lasting solutions. But, do we turn a blind eye to the situation amidst so much evil? Or, do we offer support through all of the channels available to us, including IC?

            I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to you and your colleagues for your humanitarianism while being surrounded by so much malevolence. Keep up the good work!

          • A few points in response to Ava:

            - the detailing of U.S. advisors to the region to date is by no means sufficient to achieve the goal, assuming that the goal is to catch Kony and kill him. Your comments seem to suggest that no more military resources are required, which could not be more incorrect.

            - the LRA’s current hideout isn’t hard to police because the borders are fluid. The borders are established but really, really remote, and there aren’t passable roads going in to the Ueles past Dungu. The area is almost completely cut off from the outside world. That’s why the LRA is hiding there.

            - The UN can barely get helicopters into Haut and Bas Uele, much less “operate programs” there. There are no UN programs or NGOs operating in the LRA-affected area that I know of. Moreover, the UN are opposed to the only non-military idea that makes any sense in the Ueles, considering that the region is completely cut off from outside aid – organizing villages to take collective action when the LRA is approaching. They consider that any auto-defense preparation will automatically spin out of control into new local militia forces – and so it’s better to leave the villages un-organized and unable to respond (e.g. run away) when the LRA approach.

            - by your argument advocacy groups which don’t operate as relief/development NGOs don’t have a role to play. “Any NGO or other organisation who gave a real damn about this would put all the money it could towards actual programmes” Obviously not the case, or else Global Witness, Enough Project, etc. wouldn’t play the role that they do in shaping policy.

            - you imply that people who are educated about the LRA and engaged in the debate about how to respond are opposed to the IC video, while people new to the discussion view it favorably. You also say that IC has a bad reputation with “people who count”. Neither is the case, and I’m doubtful that you know who counts and who doesn’t. I think you’re extrapolating from people you know, who seem to be UN field staff – who tend to be critical of anything not UN-led, and a jaded, cynical lot to boot. For example, I am in discussion with journalists who have published some of the most recent work on the LRA, who have a much more balanced opinion about the IC video (recognizing that the attention is on balance a good thing).

  15. I was not going to respond to any more posts – but saw this.

    “Yet, by this logic, the United States shouldn’t have battled Hitler and the Nazis because we were still recovering from the Great Depression and precious resources were already diverted in the war against Japan. Should we have just let the Nazis sweep through Europe continuing to torture and kill anyone of Non-Aryan lineage?”

    ? The US didn’t enter WW2 to save the jews. Much of the knowledge of the holoucaust/Shoah – the camps, gas chambers – were not known until some of these camps were liberated. E.g, many of the soldiers did not know of them unitl they were close. It was ESP not common knowledge to the world at large, and this includes Germany. Let alone the US. The US is an insular, not particularly engaged – as in the general population – country now, let alone in 1945, a time of prosperity. Many Americans do not have passports and do not travel overseas (this is not to be a put-down, it’s a fact). Let’s get this straight, the US joined the war because of the attack on Peral Harbour and worries about security and their influence overseas. It was NOT altruistic. Learn your history.

    • Please, I ask that you revisit your history. A good source for this is Peter Novick, who wrote the “The Holocaust in American Life.” This book is detailed, so I’ll take an excerpt right from the introduction: “Although no one could imagine its end result, all Americans — Jews and gentiles alike — were well aware of Nazi anti-Semitism from the regime’s beginning in 1933, if not earlier. Prewar Nazi actions against Jews, from early discriminatory measures to the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935 and culminating in Kristallnacht in 1938, were widely reported in the American press and repeatedly denounced at all levels of American society. No one doubted that Jews were high on the list of actual and potential victims of Nazism, but it was a long list, and Jews, by some measures, were not at the top. Despite Nazi attempts to keep secret what went on in concentration camps in the thirties, their horrors were known in the West, and were the main symbol of Nazi brutality. But until late 1938 there were few Jews, as Jews, among those imprisoned, tortured, and murdered in the camps. The victims were overwhelmingly Communists, socialists, trade unionists, and other political opponents of the Hitler regime. And it was to be another four years before the special fate that Hitler had reserved for the Jews of Europe became known in the West.”

      • It may be true that some of the atrocities were known (but I disagree to the extent) – but it most certainly was not general knowledge. I live in the UK, my grandfather was an RAF pilot that fought in the battle of britain and my grandmother and friends helped with the “war effort”. And they, like most brits had no idea of the atrocities of the War (bombing and general suffering aside – which the UK also experienced). And, ironically, given this post – those that would have been aware would, like those just hearing of the LRA – not have been the general populace. And, given that the US had no problem interning their own Japanese-American citizens in camps, I am quite sure knowledge of German “camps” would not have stirred much empathy or interest. The US was not overly concerned with “freeing” their own people in camps.

        Further, regardless, if for the sake of argument, every last human being on the planet knew – it makes absolutely no difference to your comment that the US entered the war for altruistic purposes – “have just let the Nazis sweep through Europe continuing to torture and kill anyone of Non-Aryan lineage”.

        The US did not join the war to save jews, full-stop. The US joined to ensure socialism/communism – and any other ism not starting with the word Capital did not influence any of their trading partners, as well as to assist with security and peace – also to ensure said capitalism was unaffected.

        I really cannot get over the level of hatred and viciousness leveled at the writers of this blog for their thoughtful and very much correct commentary in the Atlantic. In fact, I read it again, and at the bottom clicked on the link the the “kony action pack” thinking this was a joke. My heart sank when I realised it was not, that it was bought – in large numbers – by Americans. A blow to real advocacy, a blow to those that work in this area, a blow to any gain for american intellect but a huge Boon to IC. Well done to them, they are, without question the embodiment of Capitalism and “real american values”.

        • Please, excuse my embellishment. It led to a miscontextualization of my point. You’re right- the US didn’t fight the Nazis for altruistic purposes. Instead, the sentence should read:
          Yet, by this logic the United States shouldn’t have battled Hitler and the Nazis because we were still recovering from the Great Depression and precious resources were already diverted in the war against Japan. Should we have just let the Nazis sweep through Europe?”
          The authors asserted that the US should abstain from involvement because it is unprepared, the conflict will cost lives, will lose favorability with the American public, and will not benefit us in terms of resources. At the beginning of the war with the Nazis, the US wasn’t fully prepared to devote further resources or ask more soldiers to sacrifice themselves, but they did because they recognized the power of those evil forces (and yes, because they wanted to protect their economic assets overseas). You will most likely agree that Kony,who has partially overseen the devastation of an entire continental region and indoctrinated over 30,000 children, is a powerful, evil force that needs to be reckoned with.

  16. This is something that is of concern in Uganda – which actually could do with raised awareness and increased research into it, or funding for families with children that suffer from it – Nodding disease:

    “Mystery ‘nodding’ disease devastates northern Uganda

    Okello Reagan, 11, who is suffering from nodding syndrome, sits with his peers in Akoya-Lamin Omony village in Gulu district, 384 km (238 miles) north of Uganda’s capital of Kampala, February 19, 2012. REUTERS/James Akena

    By Jocelyn Edwards

    PADER DISTRICT, Uganda | Wed Mar 7, 2012 1:29pm IST

    (Reuters) – Most mornings, Michael Odongkara takes his daughter Nancy Lamwaka outside and ties her ankle to a mango tree.

    It’s not something he likes to do. But the disease that gives the 12-year-old violent seizures has so diminished her mental capacity that she no longer talks and often wanders off. Once, she was lost in the bush for three days.

    “It hurts me so much to tie my own daughter to a tree … but because I want to save her life, I am forced to. I don’t want her to (get) loose and die in a fire, or walk and get lost in the bushes, or even drown in the nearby swamps,” he said.

    Lamwaka suffers from nodding syndrome, a disease of unknown origins and no known cure, which Ugandan authorities estimate affects more than 3,000 children in the country.

    Named after its seizure-like episodes of head nodding, the disease, which mostly affects children between five and 15, has killed more than 200 children in Uganda in the past three years. Thousands of children in South Sudan are also sufferers.

    As the seizures are often triggered by food, children who have nodding syndrome become undernourished and mentally and physically stunted.

    “There is a general effect on their neurological system to the extent that some can be impaired in vision, eating and even mere recognition of their immediate environment,” said Dr. Emmanuel Tenywa, a country advisor in disease control for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Uganda.

    As her father watched helplessly from under a nearby tree, Lamwaka cried out and began to convulse. Saliva flowed from her mouth and her whole body shook for a few minutes until she finally went limp in the dust. Lamwaka has had episodes like this up to five times a day for the past eight years, and her health has steadily deteriorated.

    “When she was talking she would ask for food,” he said. “These days she just stretches out her hand begging for it.”

    WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?

    Nodding syndrome was first documented in Tanzania as early as 1962. Fifty years later, researchers still don’t know what it is.

    “We have a long list of things that are not causing nodding disease. We still don’t have a definitive cause,” said Dr. Scott Dowell, director of the division of global disease detection and emergency response of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

    Officials from the Atlanta, Georgia-based CDC were in Uganda for nine days in February on the latest of three trips to investigate the disease.

    “We have ruled out, through our field studies and our laboratory testing, more than three different hypothesized causes including . . . 18 virus families with hundreds of members,” said Dowell.

    It’s a relatively rare situation for the CDC to be in; of 600 outbreaks of illnesses investigated by the organization’s division of global disease detection, just six are unresolved.

    Although they have no reason to believe the disease will spread, researchers can never be certain. Dowell cites “slim disease,” which emerged in West Africa in the 1980s and turned out to be the beginnings of AIDs.

    POSSIBLE LEADS

    The researchers do have some leads: one is a possible link with the black fly-borne parasite that causes river blindness, or onchocerciasis.

    “All of these cases are reported in areas where there is onchocerciasis, so we strongly think there is a relationship between the two,” said Dr. Tenywa of the WHO.

    Investigators say they plan to do genetic testing on skin samples taken from the children to try to establish a link.

    “In the coming weeks we anticipate learning a lot more about whether this is a variant of onchocerciasis or whether it might be some other sort of parasite that looks like onchocerciasis,” said the CDC’s Dowell.

    Researchers have also observed a deficiency of vitamin B6 in the populations where the disease is prevalent.

    As long as the cause of the disease remains unknown, officials are focusing on treating its symptoms. CDC researchers met with Ugandan health officials to discuss how a trial of treatments would work.

    The trial, which could begin as early as May, will test two types of anti-convulsants as well as vitamin B6 supplements. Some afflicted children are already on anti-epileptic drugs, with varying degrees of success.

    “I think everybody is in agreement that at this stage it would be good to have a much better idea about what treatments are working and if any of them are harmful,” Dowell said.

    Investigators say that they hope to have a protocol for the trial, which will include 80 children, ready to submit for ethics approval in Uganda and the United States in a couple of weeks.

    BITTERNESS

    But for those who have been living with the disease and its effects, it all seems to be moving very slowly. In Uganda, frustration over the government response is growing.

    “People are very bitter and they think the government has abandoned them,” said Martin Ojara, local council coordinator for the Acholi sub-region in Uganda, which is where the disease is concentrated.

    Though the government recently announced a plan to establish treatment centers and bring in health workers to address the disease, some say it’s too little, too late.

    A request by the Health Ministry for 3.8 billion Ugandan Shillings (about $1.5 million) to fight the disease was not included in the supplementary budget recently submitted to parliament for approval. The finance ministry, which said the request was late, has instructed health authorities to reallocate funds from their existing budget until the next supplementary budget.

    “It is very sad,” said Beatrice Anywar, an opposition member of parliament for one of the most affected areas. “It shows how the government really doesn’t care.”

    The government maintains it has been seeking a cause and treatment for the disease since it first surfaced.

    “There have been a lot of attempts, from 2009 to date, to get the riddle of this situation answered — what is the problem and how can it be addressed,” Musa Ecweru, the minister of state for disaster preparedness and emergency response in the prime minister’s office, told reporters in early March.

    “Everybody knows that government has not just folded its hands. It has been doing all it takes to make sure that it will (get) on top of this situation,” he said.

    Anywar and others have called for the area to be declared a disaster zone — in some villages in her district, almost every family has a child with nodding disease and some families even have several, she said.

    “The children (with the disease) who are of school-going age cannot go to school and have no future,” said Anywar. “Food security is a problem because these parents are not productive.

    “The parents of these sick children are traumatised by an unknown disease and literally have lost hope.”

    ON FIRE

    Children with nodding syndrome are prone to accidents such as drowning and burning because of mental impairment, and many of the fatalities from the disease are the result of these secondary causes.

    Since she contracted the disease, Lamwaka has had many such incidents. Her body is covered with bruises from falling and there are raw, pink wounds on her hands from when she fell into the fire recently when both of her parents were away.

    “She doesn’t know that she is on fire, that she is burning until someone comes and brings her away from the fire,” said her father.

    He admits he has stopped taking her to the doctor.

    “Even if they give us drugs, I’m not sure if the drugs will help,” said Odongkara.

    Sitting in the shade nearby is his mother, Jujupina Ataro, 72. She has three grandchildren with the disease and spends her time bathing and feeding them, and even cleaning up their faeces since they can no longer use the toilet by themselves.

    She said many of her neighbours and friends also have children with the disease.

    “I know so many in this area. If a doctor would come you would see how many people would turn up … it’s uncountable,” she said. “It’s like the generation is wiped out.”

  17. I’ve read your diatribe in the Atlantic Times about Kony 2012 and wish you all the best in ever establishing a career or even having anyone on the planet that respects your opinion.

    Rather than picking holes in a viral campaign that has a global force behind its momentum and the best interests of Humanity at its heart, I suggest you come up with a better idea to stop this madness, save thousands of lives being destroyed and thus dig yourselves out of the hole you have created.

  18. i’m just curious why the snark? you write, “these children were “invisible” until American students took notice of them.” Where did you get this idea? Nowhere in the short film they made did the students say that (nor in fact did they say they were students; I learned that from your column). In fact, I bet if you went to Japan or France or Brazil, the Ugandan children were probably pretty invisible there, too. There are probably pretty good arguments about why the StopKony campaign is not the best way to go about apprehending Kony. Sadly, your Atlantic column completely misses the mark – simply by going for snark you lose your legitimacy, in my opinion. You start to make arguments but then you completely negate them with ridiculous insults of the campaigners. This looks more and more to me like a bunch of “experts” feeling their space invaded by idealistic advocates. Sad that instead of bringing them in to the higher level issues and using their zeal for a solution you have completely alienated them. But that goes both ways. Now I suspect they will reach out to you to resolve this because, yeah, they really want a solution. Whereas you’ve shown yourself to be just a bunch of over-thinkers who can not translate theory into practice. If that sounds snarky, well, it is – because your column is such a huge, enormous disappointment.

  19. Pingback: That need to do “something”. | a peace of conflict

  20. As someone who knows Central Africa well and who has been directly involved with LRA-related programs as recently as late 2010, my feelings are a mixed about the IC video. On one hand, the IC / Enough / Global Witness campaigns drive me crazy with their holier-than-thou tone and harebrained solutions – e.g. the conflict minerals DRC legislation, or IC’s mobile-phone-towers-as-LRA-response idea. From that perspective I appreciate the blog taking the hot air out of the advocacy groups (Prendergast more than anything) and pointing out some of the logical flaws in the video. On the other hand, I can’t help but think that this level of public interest is going to drive significant new funds into the region for both aid and military response – that’s how governments work – and this could be a good thing.

    I’m sympathetic to the “African voices, African solutions” angle emphasized by the blog’s authors, but I would put the focus on military response. Some of the posts above fail to recognize that the Ugandan military operates as a professional force in the DRC, as opposed to their Congolese counterparts. That military presence is now playing a checking role, focused on keeping the LRA from re-entering Uganda. To track Kony down and kill him will require the kind of coordinated, aggressive military approach that finally got Savimbi in Angola – combining intelligence, foreign advisors, and robust military assets on the ground. Some of the comments above suggest that since U.S. military advisors were already dispatched to the region, that this is sufficient to get the job done. I’d say that the assistance is going to have to increase dramatically – a couple of Ugandan helicopters and some U.S. advisors is not sufficient. It will take a much more serious commitment, including special ops, in order to catch Kony sleeping, which will involve significant military coordination with the Ugandan troops on the ground, the DRC military (to keep them out of the way, mostly), as well as with the feckless U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo.

    So, on balance I think that the critics of the IC video come across as opposing a groundswell of public opinion that could actually end up driving resources where they need to be in order to finally catch Kony, because they are put off by all of the usual advocacy group haughtiness in the video. There are plenty of goofy ideas and preachy statements in the video, but that’s just the way those advocacy groups come across. Unlike the stuff coming from the other advocacy groups and bloggers, though, this video might actually have enough traction to push a serious response from donor governments, who have the resources it will take to get the job done.

    • @Nuaka, I liked your posting. It seemed far more balanced than a lot that I’ve read. I just wanted to pick you up on one point that to me, is critical to the discussion.

      Goofy ideas and preachy statements are characteristic of any campaign, as is simplification for the purpose of getting a point across. Look at what “we must rid Iraq of WMDs” produced – it was a lie that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

      It’s far easier to be critical of a small advocacy group for employing the same tactics that governments and corporations use as a matter of routine, but that doesn’t make it right. When governments and corporations are held to a moral standard for using this approach, I’ll happily apply the same rules to IC – until then, I see no reason to do so.

      We’re not all just ignorant plebs out here – plenty of us overlook the hyperbole and concentrate instead on the core issue. That fact seems to be lost on the critics of the Kony campaign. They’re incorrect in thinking that I’m being duped because I think the campaign is a good idea and snobbish for thinking that I’m not capable of arriving at a well considered opinion without their help.

  21. Thank you, Amanda and Kate, for your continually valuable perspective. Several years ago, a colleague introduced me to your site and I appreciate your writing. Your website provides a valuable service by encouraging sophisticated consumption of mass media in the international arena. The discussion here demonstrates the necessity for such a forum.

    Many of the reader comments in this thread indicate a high level of emotional investment in this campaign. This is not surprising given the dreadful nature of the cause. For righteously indignant observers to become any sort of victims’ advocates, however, a similarly prominent quantity of intellectual investment is required. Thanks again for your work to that end.

  22. holy shit everyone stop freaking out. would anyone posting here really care this much if IC didn’t make that video and everyone had to *OMFG FREAK OUT AND DECLARE THAT EVERYONE MUST TAKE A SIDE*!!! and if sharing the kony video on facebook doesn’t make a difference, neither does posting comments on a practically unknown blog. #CONEY ISLAND 2012 FTW

  23. to all the IC (e.g. – green, clueless, unengaged in any real discussion, vitriolic) supporters – you might want to look at the view from Uganda on the great IC PR campagain.

    Vidoe in link here:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/14/kony-2012-uganda_n_1346114.html?ir=Canada&ref=topbar

    ‘Kony 2012′ Prompts Outrage In Uganda, Future Screenings Canceled (VIDEO)

    Everyone from actors to models to business leaders have weighed in on “Kony 2012,” the 30-minute video about Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army that went viral last week.

    However, little has been heard about what the Ugandans who were affected by Kony and the LRA think of the video.

    Al Jazeera’s Malcom Webb went to a public screening of the video in Lira in Northern Uganda, which, according to him, is “the area worst affected by Joseph Kony’s Rebel Lord’s Resistance Army.”

    Webb reported that the attendees didn’t even get to see the whole film because people became so angry and frustrated with the depiction that they began throwing rocks.

    “The event ended with the angrier members of the audience throwing rocks and shouting abusive criticism, as the rest fled for safety, leaving an abandoned projector, with organisers and the press running for cover until the dust settled,” Webb reports for Al Jazeera.

    Victor Ochen, the director of The African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET), the group that organized the screening, said in a statement that it drew more than 35,000 people and was broadcast on five radio stations.

    Due to the response, future AYINET public screenings of “Kony 2012″ in Lira reportedly have been canceled.

    “[T]he film produced such outrage, anger and hurt that AYINET has decided that in order not to further harm victims or provoke any violent response that it is better to halt any further screenings for now,” Ochan said in the statement.

    “Towards the end of the film, the mood turned more to anger at what many people saw as a foreign, inaccurate account that belittled and commercialised their suffering, as the film promotes Kony bracelets and other fundraising merchandise, with the aim of making Kony infamous.

    One woman I spoke to made the comparison of selling Osama Bin Laden paraphernalia post 9/11 – likely to be highly offensive to many Americans, however well intentioned the campaign behind it.”

    “Critics argue that the film relies on footage nearly ten-years-old of children fleeing the LRA in northern Uganda, implying the situation remains the same to this day, and so failing to represent the real issues now facing post-conflict Northern Uganda.

    The LRA now operates in the Central African Rrepublic, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, and is now thought to number no more than 300 fighters.”

    In the following discussion “kony beyond the internet” there are two more videos by Ugandans on this issue. But then, I am quite sure Kony supporters could give a damn about real issues or what ugandans think of it. Better to wear the cool bracelet and t-shirt hey Dillon and Gabe? Yes, you are so clever! And cool! Really, anyone who works with these issues, and of course, Ugandans should bow to your great knowledge and engagement in development issues.

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