3.26.2012

The #Kony2012 News You Missed

It been over two weeks since the release of Invisible Children's #Kony2012 video, and about a week since IC's founder, Jason Russell, had his...er...debacle. So, given the week-long gap in anything Kony-related (lest we forget who he is and these children become invisible yet again), I thought you all might need some reminding. So here is what you've missed (enjoy with your breakfast coffee or tea): 

Criticism from Africa: Ugandans' Reaction to #Kony2012 Campaign
To say the least, Northern Ugandans weren't too fond of IC's video. The screening that was held in Lira, Northern Uganda was stopped early when rocks were thrown at the movie screen. Those who had heard of the video before watching the screening were anticipating seeing their suffering, but instead they were presented with a white man, his son, and told out-of-date facts. 
In response to the criticisms of IC, one of the founders says:
"It's not a slacktivist thing...when actually it's not at all...its actually really...its connected to a really deep, thoughtful, very intentional, and strategic campaign"
Well, would you mind telling us what that strategic campaign actually is besides selling t-shirts and bracelets and calling for yet more military intervention in Africa?

My favorite response to the film stated by one Northern Ugandan was:
"We wanted to see our local people [in the film]...these are all white men!"
Yes, indeed they are. 
Cover art for the Jose Ph. Kony Mixtape

Kony Mixtape
Does your iTunes need some more music? Never fear, Jose Ph. Kony has created a 'Kony 2013' mixtape for us all to enjoy, which includes tracks such as "American middle-class provincialism from a techno-utopian pontifex", "That dubby Global South condescension with manipulative ad tricks", "There is serious hope over the AFRICOM rainbow", and "Lowest-common-denominator activism and necropolitics" among others. So if you are looking for some great new cynical/sarcastic beats for your morning commute, enjoy this free download! Aw, thanks Jose Ph. Kony!
>>HT @Africasacountry

Yet More Criticism from Africa: Ishmael Beah
Ishmael Beah, the Sierra Leonean who wrote the book A Long Way Gone (and one of my personal favorites), stated his reasons for not supporting the Invisible Children campaign on CNN recently. He states:
If you want to become a change-maker...you've got to be willing to dig into the complexities...of the places you're interested in making a change....If you aren't interested in the geographies and complexities of it to know that it isn't black and white...then I think you have no business in being a change-maker. It's not an easy thing you can do - feel good about it today and then tomorrow you forget about it.

Hitler's Outrage over Kony's Impunity
Hitler even has a response to Kony's two and a half decade-long escape from international attention, and it isn't pretty. If Hitler cares for the invisible children, you should to. I'm sure he will be wearing the IC t-shirt soon enough.
>>HT @TMSRuge


African Union's Response to Kony
Better late than never I suppose - the African Union has decided to send 5,000 central African troops to hunt down Kony, who is now believed to be hiding somewhere in the Central African Republic (at least that narrows it down...a bit?). According to an AU envoy:
"We need to stop Kony with hardware – with military hardware in this case. We're on a mission, we need to stop Kony." (Guardian)
*cringing at use of the term "stop Kony"* Anyways, in all seriousness, I guess I support this since it is a central African response to a problem that has threatened them for decades. This is a far better response than the U.S.'s contribution of troops. 

Even MORE criticism from Africa: #Uganda2013
A small group of Ugandan filmmakers, fed up at IC's campaign to "make Kony famous" decided to take it upon themselves to let Ugandans tell their narrative - so they created the #Uganda2012 social media campaign as a response. The campaign will have two parts, the first of which will: 
 Source: #UG2012
"...harness the creative energies of Ugandan filmmakers, photographers, activists, writers, poets and artists to tell the REAL story of  Joseph Kony’s tragic legacy in Northern Uganda and document the work of many amazing Ugandans who have worked tirelessly to rebuild the region." (#Uganda2012)
The film will be released April 18th. The second part will be the creation of a website that allows Ugandans to tell how they are working for "positive social change" - without the help of an American NGO run by an all-American board. To clarify any misconceptions about their objectives, #Ugandan2012 states:

"If you help fund this project we will not send you a t-shirt. We will not send you a bracelet. We will not ask you to vandalize your city with the face of a mass murderer. What we can promise you is that we will tell you the real story of Kony and the child soldiers. Plus we guarantee that 100 percent of the money pledged will go to Ugandans on the ground."(#Uganda2012)

 Don't you love their cynicism and truthfulness? I do! Anyways, they've got my support. 
>>HT @mafoya

Comedy's Response to the Kony Campaign
Still perplexed about how the ominously vague organization lead by the "clean-cut Abercrombie and Fitch version of Jesus Christ", which creates expensive videos featuring dancing youth and an army-like mass of followers, has anything to do with catching Joseph Kony? Well, you're not alone - Charlie Brooker is confused as well.
>>HT @Africasacountry 

And Finally, Some More Criticism from Uganda
Wondering about how you can actually help Uganda? Well I'll give you a hint, it's not going to be by buying a t-shirt and action kit. Instead, spend 20 minutes watching the video below about Hope North, which allows Ugandans to tell their own stories and how they are working towards building peace in Northern Uganda. Hope North is a living community, secondary school, and vocational school for refugees, orphans, and former child soldiers and is staffed by fifteen Ugandans. Ah, now doesn't that sound more sustainable and less paternalistic? I sure think so. Check them out:
>>HT @TMSRuge 

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