Kony 2012: The Controversy

The recent release of the Kony 2012 video by the humanitarian organization Invisible Children employed a social media campaign to draw the world’s attention to Joseph Kony, his crimes against humanity, and the LRA. Directly related to global health and human rights, the video was designed to promote the goals of the Invisible Children organization; to find and arrest Kony, to improve the lives of those affected by the war through advocacy of policy change. These ultimate goals have been difficult to accomplish due to the intersecting political, social, and economic barriers to the creation of policy that would call for action. Although the video was designed with humanitarian intentions, it has fallen under a tirade of controversy where critics claim that it may ultimately be damaging to Ugandans and that it does not present a full or entirely accurate description of the political situation.  This article outlines some of the key issues critics find with the project (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/03/2012312853317675.html#).

One of the main criticisms has been that Invisible Children portray an oversimplified view of the problem, where Joseph Kony is cited as the route of all evil. In realty, many Ugandan citizens claim that the government has also committed atrocious crimes and that a plausible solution to this political unrest must address the multifaceted corruption. Another article, “Northern Ugandans Criticize NGO’s ‘Kony 2012 Campaign” claims that it is Invisible Children calling for a revolution, and not the prerogative of the citizens of Uganda and neighboring countries. (http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/east/Northern-Ugandans-Critical-of-Kony-2012-Campaign-142923415.html).

Amidst the criticism citing oversimplification and factual misrepresentation, the video has created a powerful momentum for change that, if given structure, has the potential to have positive results. Author Sarah Margon acknowledges the deep flaws of the campaign but recognizes an opportunity for to address these disturbing global issues of structural violence from a geographically broad and historically deep perspective.

So, instead of continuing to debate the strengths and weakness of the Kony2012 video, or attack Invisible Children for their lack of financial transparency, let’s figure out how to turn this momentum into a constructive opportunity that can result in smart policies that will have a positive, real-time impact in the affected areas of central Africa. Let’s harness this energy and turn it into something productive that ensures we’re telling the right stories, inspiring well-informed advocacy, and working together across governments, academia, grassroots activists, and local populations to help bring this chapter of the LRA — and the impact in affected areas — to a close.”  – Sarah Margon (http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/03/08/440851/defense-kony-invisible-children/?mobile=nc).


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