Have you watched the Invisible Children video raising awareness against the tyrant, Joseph Kony? If not, start by clicking here.
This video has been viewed over 15 Million times on Youtube and 11 million times of Vimeo.com. Similar to previous videos produced by the company Invisible Children, the video about Kony involves personal narratives of people touched by the child abductions and child militarization in Uganda. This video in particular talks about co-founder Jason Russell, his son Gavin Russell, and one of the previous child soldiers- Jacob.
Along with the millions who were touched by the video, there were also countless critics. While the facts and opinions are strong for these arguments, here is why I do not agree with the criticisms.
It is true- Kony and the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) committed injustices in the PAST, the height of which was 1999-2004, by abducting children and turning them into child soldiers. These were strong issues in Uganda six years ago, before the LRA was pushed out of Uganda into neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, Uganda has seen great improvements with regards to recovery from the impact of the LRA. Uganda is currently experiencing different issues with their government, namely the current “president” who has been running the country similar to a dictator for close to 25 years. Many are articulating that because Kony is no longer in Uganda and is no longer abducting children, this is not a worrisome issue. I do not agree. As an avid global human rights supporter and student of international studies, I do not see an issue with raising global awareness about the history of these children. Invisible children is the first company that I have researched that has been able to touch such a large amount of people by spreading personal narratives. This has been criticized as a weakness, I believe it is a strength.
The children who were once abducted by Kony are now turning into young adults. They have committed murder, rape, and countless acts of pointless violence. As Joseph Keating quotes in his article (link provided below) about the Kony campaign, “Many [of these children] are still on the streets unemployed. Gulu has the highest numbers of child prostitutes in Uganda. It also has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis.” -Award-winning Ugandan journalist Angelo Izama. These previous child soldiers are not accepted back into their homes, they do not know how to live after seeing and committing such atrocities. The abductions are in the past, but we should not stand by and let it pass. Kony still needs to be held accountable for his actions.
Another criticism of Invisible Children is that a large amount of the funding from bracelets and films is put toward further film-making. My argument to this, look how many people they have reached through these films (over 26 million, if you are not keeping track). Maybe the only thing Invisible Children accomplishes is sparking a hint of global awareness in the minds of youth… but is that really a negative?
A third criticism- the company has not yet been externally audited. This could be a fairly justifiable criticism if it were not a speculation. When we find an issue with their allocation of funds, we can analyze, and POSSIBLY criticize it further.
Many are also complaining that because 26 million people are now concerned about the well-being of our brothers and sisters in Uganda, we are forgetting about our friends and family right here in the United States. As far as complaints about injustices here at home, as a future Social Worker I can say with a clear conscious- it is possible to assist our struggling U.S. citizens while ALSO being conscious of global injustices- PAST or present.
Here are the links to two trustworthy articles summarizing why some are against the 2012 Kony Campaign. You may form your own opinion about the situation- it is sure a complicated issue with a rich and gruesome history.
– Guest post: Joseph Kony is not in Uganda (and other complicated things)
-Securing Rights blog- Let’s Talk About Kony
-Stop Kony, yes. But don’t stop asking questions