Letter to the Editor: Robert Fain ’14
The poll for this week asks whether the “Kony 2012” campaign has enough power to generate real action in efforts to rid Uganda of Joseph Kony and the LRA. I believe this kind of yes or no question does not address the critical issues of the Kony campaign.
For one thing, the LRA is in much smaller numbers than it once was, and has not been in Uganda since 2012. The LRA is, however, is still operating in the DRC, CAR, and South Sudan. Uganda has already gotten rid of Kony, though it is still important that the LRA be stopped.
I feel there is no doubt that the emotionally-charged “Kony 2012” campaign will attract many young people in America to take action, most likely by giving money to Invisible Children and contacting policy makers. Though the campaign has a very direct goal: support intervention to achieve Kony’s capture (U.S. military advisors have already been in the region working toward this), the goals of its founding organization (Invisible Children) are much less clear. IC is a for-profit institution and has made questionable use of its donations. Furthermore, the “Kony video” barely includes the voice of Ugandans, who were personally affected by the LRC and oversimplifies the conflict to a level that is very problematic; by pinning every problem on one person, they clearly leave out other factors, including the poor human rights record of the Ugandan Military and reasons why the children of Uganda were not better-protected from the LRC.
The question of whether the campaign will lead to action may not be the really important one. Perhaps a better question would be whether the campaign is something to support, or something that should be seriously reconsidered and questioned. I do feel that some initiatives of Invisible children such as radio networks that warn villages of nearby LRC violence and getting Americans aware of the conflict can be beneficial to the plight of these children. However, the level that the Kony campaign and its sponsoring organ misconstrues information is troublesome to both Americans wanting to know how they can help and to Ugandans who deserve the right to represent themselves in this discussion.
Robert Fain ’14