This CNN article lists many criticisms against the Kony 2012 video. The article starts out by saying that the video was essentially fifteen years too late and had it come fifteen years ago, it potentially could have saved many lives. Evelyn Apoko, a woman abducted by the LRA in 2001 who was held captive for three years says that Kony does need to face some type of justice and hopes that the Kony 2012 video will somehow help to make this happen. But, at the same time, she stresses her concern that this military campaign that the video calls for will just drag out the conflict and hurt more kids that have already been through enough. She also comments that the video was very powerful but that it did not sufficiently explain the conflict at all, it only talked about Kony when the issues in northern Uganda go way beyond one man. She says that the video should have found a way to open peoples eyes to the people affected by the war “and the children – they need to find a way to protect them. They have no hope, no way to escape” and that’s what the video should have emphasized, a way to help the children, not a way to start another military campaign against Kony. We had essentially discussed all of this in class with the speakers but reading about it from Apoko who was a first hand witness to the conflict really affirmed the parts of our discussion where we talked about the need for working towards peace and helping those afflicted by Kony rather than starting more violence. What Peter Pham of the Atlantic Council criticized about the Kony 2012 video in the article was also extremely interesting and not something we really touched on in our discussion in class. He said that all the media attention that Kony is now getting will most likely hurt the efforts to catch Kony rather than help them. When the video was released, there had been a covert military operation going on for a while to try and find Kony and if he relocates after the video, all their efforts will be lost “once and for all”. The article then goes on to explain how “Invisible Children has manipulated facts in the past” and that many things in the video were factually incorrect. The article explains what we talked about in class about how while the video makes it seem like Kony is for sure still in Uganda, that in 2006 the LRA was for the most part pushed out of northern Uganda and most likely moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. They think the LRA is currently there because the UN refugee agency has received displaced people because of LRA attacks in Congo, and they are still being said to be using children in their armies and brainwashing. Another point the article made that I found interesting was that Invisible Children puts most of their money towards the Ugandan government’s army and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army which are both “riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them”, while only 30% of their money goes towards helping Ugandan children. When I read this I felt like the video was almost like false advertising. The video seems to be all about doing good and helping the children of Uganda, but rather than directly helping them, the organization is choosing to use the majority of their money to simply create more violence for these kids to live in. Another quote that stuck out to me in the article was when Fred Opolot, a Ugandan government spokesperson, said that, “Invisible Children’s campaign reflected Africa as a dark continent of incessant trouble”. When I read this I immediately thought of the video that we watched about the woman in the Ugandan government talking about the Kony 2012 video and saying how it made Uganda look terrible and could really injure not only their reputation as a country but also investments to their country and the tourism industry. Furthermore, a quote by Richard Downie, the deputy director to the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, reminded me of the article we read that discussed the white savior industrial complex. He said that “I think by portraying Westerners as the only people who can crack this problem of Joseph Kony – it’s simplistic, it’s naïve, and it’s a little bit condescending as well”. I completely agree with this, like Cole I don’t think we should keep ourselves from intervening just because we have a different skin color, we shouldn’t just assume we know what’s going on and think we can fix things without really knowing or understanding the problem at all.
To read more about Kony click here.