I have just viewed the Kony 2012 video and like most of you I feel a sense of sorrow and support for the Invisible Children's Organization's efforts. This video does a great job of capturing the viewer and through an emotional plea is able to portray why the events currently going on in many parts of Africa need to really come to an end.
The problem I am currently having with the Kony 2012 campaign is that it unfortunately aims at stopping a symptom rather than the problem that currently plagues many children in war torn or underdeveloped areas. Lets face it people, children ARE the number one victim in this world and this happens not just because of war, but because of a slew of many different factors as well.
I dare you to ask yourself what is currently going on in Uganda politically and from where it originated. Every problem can usually be mapped out like a road map, we see where issues occurred that started a conflict and after a series of events, we can map out how the conflict has grown or shrunk depending on its ferocity today. The conflict currently going on in Uganda has been occurring since the 1980's and is essentially a continuous battle between the Ugandan military and the Lords Resistance Army/Movement.
Joseph Kony is nothing more then a Catholic terrorist, who uses the cheapest supply around to conduct his fear campaigns. He is no different then Islamic extremists who use children for human shields or Indonesian pimps who them to make money from powerful western business men. The same powerful western business men who appear to be part of the solution for this campaign.
What I am worried about is that people are going to support this cause blindly, help Invisible Children make a few extra bucks and add some new sponsors and after all is said and done believe that capturing Kony is the end game and then children will be safe, because they wont.
We have a rebel/terrorist movement fighting on behalf of a crazy idea that God has chosen these individuals to defend their people. The people in question in this specific conflict are the Acholi people of Uganda, who currently reside in the Northern part of the country, also the part of the country that suffers from rampant underdevelopment and poverty as the majority of wealth comes from the south.
Do not get me wrong, I applaud the Kony 2012 movement, the people are strong and if anyone puts this man to trial it should be the people of his homeland, the people he has directly wronged. Any outside involvement aiding this conflict should come in the form of advice to the Ugandan government.
What advice you may ask? Implement economic diversity programs, get people in the northern part of Uganda mobilized and working so that they can develop their villages and increase security. Open up new political peace talks with the Acholi people and mobilize them to fight against Kony. His groups movement is largely religion based, but he fights on their behalf due to the mistreatment they have received. If the Acholi can turn on Kony, then there is an even greater hope of seeing results in this conflict.
Most important of all is that dialogue needs to be opened between South Sudan, Congo and Uganda. These countries need to fight the corruption in their governments and begin unified talks to enforce border control in hot spots. If Kony and other madmen like him are unable to move and flee the military, he will become even more desperate and dis-empowered. Also, an increase in security forces is needed to patrol these wildlife conservation areas, which appears to be an extremely useful tool for Kony as it allows him to hide and move around quicker.
Overall, I believe in the effort and I support the message, however I also believe the message could have been given some more clarity, so that in the end we not only cause positive change, but also educate western people. It is one thing to support a cause blindly because it feels like the right thing to do, it is a totally different thing to educate yourself in the cause and come up with different solutions that could ultimately create severe change.
Lastly, one thing many people might not see is that if Kony is captured and brought to the International Criminal Court, what happens next? Does he sit in a cell and receive 3 meals a day for the rest of his life or do the people of Uganda put him on trial and punish him themselves?
I am really interested to know how you feel about this. Do you agree with my entry on this subject? Has this campaign, in all of its glory and promise for change, overlooked some important and realistic issues that need to be addressed as well?
Until next time!