Pretty much everyone who knows of Joseph Kony knows he's a dick and that the world would be a better place without him (well, Limbaugh disagrees, but meh, that's him). But the problem, historically, has been a lack of awareness about his Lord's Resistance Army and how it was created by kidnapping children and turning them into soldiers through the use of drugs, intimidation, and brainwashing. Kony 2012 is an almost 30-minute documentary about one of the "rescued" child-soldiers. It's become an overnight viral hit, amassing millions of views and shares in a couple of days. The documentary was shot by Invisible Children, a charity whose purpose is:
1. To raise awareness about the LRA and its activities.
2. To gain support for the capture and trial of Joseph Kony
3. To help the recovery of the areas affected by the LRA in Africa
Of course, as soon as the documentary came out, a ton of criticism came with it. The most common I've seen:
1. The numbers are supposedly misrepresented; for example, the 30,000 children kidnapped and press-ganged into the LRA are over the course of 30 years, not recently (although my co-worker, from Uganda, tells me that the LRA still does night-raids into the country to grab children). The number of LRA members still active today is likely in the low thousands, if not hundreds.
2. The LRA (and likely Kony) have not been in Uganda since 2006. IC openly admits this, but as their efforts for arrest mostly involve the Ugandan government and army, they've taken a lot of flak. Also, the Ugandan army and government commit a ton of abuses anyway, which IC decries, but still claims it's necessary to have local help to get the man arrested.
3. Some critics claim that IC is calling for US military intervention (although I couldn't find this on their website), which obviously isn't thrilling to a country tired of foreign wars. Obama sent 100 military personnel over in October to help in the hunt for Kony, but no luck yet.
4. Ugandan bloggers and activists claim this is racist; that it seems like "the white man's burden" to come help the "poor Africans," and that IC has boiled down a complex ethnic conflict to "Joseph Kony = bad. Get him and ignore the rest of the situation!"
I've seen other criticism that's more of the conspiracy right-wing side, the most prevalent being "Obama is heading this as an effort to distract from the election; he's only going after the LRA because they're purported Christians!"
Anyone else seen the documentary or have experience with the situation? Obviously it's nothing new; the conflict's gone on for the better part of three decades, and the LRA is, by most reports, weaker now than ever. Since 2006 Kony's been on the run. What do you think: do-gooders trying to rid the world of evil, or an activist group trying to capitalize and raise its income while chasing a windmill that's practically blown itself over?
Edited, Mar 8th 2012 10:54pm by LockeColeMA