I’ve spent a good part of a day and night arguing about Kony 2012. I love arguing, it’s one of the reasons why I’m going into politics and law. But, it can be exhausting. As such I thought I’d just post my thoughts in one easy accessible place, besides it’ll get me more hits.
I’m sure most people reading this are aware of the situation., for those who may not be, here’s a quickish summary. In 1986 in the central African state of Uganda, a man named Joseph Kony formed a rebel group called the Lord’s resistance Army. This group wanted to form a government and laws as set down by the Ten Commandments. The LRA promptly proceeded to ignore the whole ‘Thou shalt not kill’ aspect of said laws. But that’s not the worse part, the LRA has a policy of abducting children and turning them into soldiers or sex slaves depending on their gender. they’ve also spread from Uganda to The Congo and other countries in central Africa. These practises led the International Criminal Court to make Kony their first indictment post founding, as an aside as an aspiring human rights lawyer anything involving the ICC has me wanting to be involved at least superficially. Now I fully admit that this a massively simplified version of events, the Ugandan government is far from innocent for one thing.
Fastforwording to March 2012, a charity organization known as the Invisible Children, which was founded years earlier to showcase this conflict, launched it’s newest promotional campaign. A couple of days ago invisible children published a 30 minute video titled Kony 2012, and today as of this writing it has 19,986,084 views! The video explains who Kony is and whats he has done, though it honestly doesn’t go more in-depth than I did really. It’s a noted experiment in social media encouraging people to share the video and on the night of April 20th, poster your local city. This is to try to create pressure on the governments of the world, with an US focused bent, to help the Ugandan government and arrest Kony.
Invisible Children has since received some criticism about some financial irregularities about how much money actually goes to the cause vs salaries, travel costs etc. Also they’ve come under fire a bit for supporting the Ugandan military and militias, which aren’t that much better than the Lord’s Resistance Army in some cases, and being in favour of military intervention. There are some claims that the LRA has virtually abandoned North Uganda, where IC is focused. The organization has posted a response to the critiques, which I’d take with a grain of salt. However, it’s better than mos responses we see come from companies or governments under fire, so kudos to them for that.
Now as to the purpose of this blog. I view on the whole this is this: you can support the Kony 2012 movement, without supporting Invisible Children. Make you’re own posters rather than buying the package advertised by the charity, write your MP or government representative. There are plenty of ways to take part, no matter what your view on the charity behind it. As an aspiring human rights lawyer, this cause appeals to me in many buts besides that, I believe we all have a responsibility to the world and others, even if you don’t agree with that point people should take part because it’s the right thing to do. At the very least they’re bringing this to light and even people my Mother’s age who’d never heard of Joseph Kony before are learning about it. Knowledge is power after all, will free to educate yourself on the issue whole too. Now as Osama, Gaddafi, and others have proven over recent years the strategy of cutting the head off of the snake isn’t as effective as we like to believe. If Kony is captured or killed that just the first step in address the problems in Uganda, and I hope people will stick around not just go ‘Ok, jobs done”. There will be forces left over, the kids will need a lot of help, physically, mentally and socially. As has been mentioned the current Ugandan government has its issues, with reports of looting, rape and abductions of their own, and there has been the “Death penalty for Homosexuality” bill.Howver, in the latter case the government caved to international pressure, at least temporarily, but it shows they’re probably more amiable to negotiation than the Lord’s Resistance Army. As I’ve said a few times to people, sometime’s its about helping the lesser evil. It’ll be a long journey, but with help and their own will power and ability Uganda will be able to make it.