Invisible Children & Kony 2012: A Cause and Controversy

Today I came across this YouTube video on my brother’s Facebook timeline. His comment: “This is going super Viral. 2 million in 30 minutes as i was watching it.” made me give it a shot. Two minutes into the video, I am completely sucked in. I researched it. I shared it:

10,000,000 views in 2 days only, watch the first 2 minutes and you will be sucked in. A must-see

I have heard of horrible crimes relating to human trafficking, sexual enslavement and child soldiers, but I have never come too close and personal with it like this video made me.

Describing the case with my words would not give it justice, I will let you get sensitized by watching the documentary yourself: Watch YouTube here

I have to say though, I was skeptical at first. before I share it here I did my research.

I started by looking up Joseph Kory on Wikipedia:

Joseph Kony (born 18 September 1964) is a Ugandan guerrilla group leader, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a group engaged in a violent campaign to establish theocratic government based on the Ten Commandments throughout Uganda. The LRA say that spirits have been sent to communicate this mission directly to Kony.

Directed by Kony, the LRA has earned a reputation for its actions against the people of several countries, including northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of CongoSouth Sudan, and Sudan. It has abducted and forced an estimated 66,000 children to fight for them, and has forced the internal displacement of over 2,000,000 people since its rebellion began in 1986. In 2005 Kony was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, but has evaded capture.

Then I googled Kony:

  1. News for kony

    1. Joseph Kony viral video campaign clouded in controversy

      National Post‎ – 51 minutes ago
      A documentary film aimed at exposing the heinous acts of Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony exploded over the Internet Wednesday, drawing praise and 
Then I surfed Twitter #Kony2012#StopKony has been trending worldwide.

Apparently, even though the campaign is going viral over social media, proving their point that “Nothing is more powerful that an idea whose time has come”, controversy is surrounding it.

May you not be mislead, there is no controversy around Joseph Kony’s heinous crimes or the Kony 2012 campaign intentions. The controversy is more surrounding the method of raising awareness that Invisible Children has adopted. Some criticized their financial management. Others are appalled by their “support of corrupted Ugandan army”. A photo of the founder posing with weapons surfaced online. Some even called the campaign dangerous.

Invisible Children has already responded.

I call on those criticizing this campaign to create another. Create a campaign that abides by your rules and make it viral. The more campaigns the merrier. We are brainwashed on a daily basis by mainstream media and our knowledge base about the world is shaped by those few sitting on the golden desk in the big media corporations.

I salute Invisible Children for being 2012-smart, for believing so strong in the righteous cause and for being persistent. Their campaign brought up close and personal with crimes happening continents away, crimes that have been going on for decades. They succeeded where mainstream media failed. I salute their efforts. But it is not about the campaign or the organization, or its founder and his adorable little son, Gavin. It is about all the suffering and abuses, mutilations, rape and enslavement brought to many by a single person. A leader that is soon to be famous, famous enough to warrant greater efforts to stop him.

I salute the campaign for being able to recruit me. I am willing to take action.

The fact remains that there is no controversy around the crimes committed by Joseph Kony, may his name become “famous by Dec. 2012.” Joseph Kony has been indicted in 2005 by the International Criminal Court. I hope the current controversy would not make the campaign bigger than the cause in the eyes of the media.

Take action now. Make a difference.

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Categories: Human Rights

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4 replies

  1. Hi, Dr. Hasan,

    Your review of the situation is quite calm and level-headed, but also a little one-sided if I may say. It’s not necessarily what the people of Invisible Children say that is problematic, it’s what they don’t say. My problem with this campaign is the way in which the organisers have dumbed down and over simplified the geopolitical situation in Uganda and central Africa. You are right, there is no controversy regarding the crimes committed by Joseph Kony, but this is a region in which there appears to be very few good guys and Invisible Children are effectively asking us to start picking sides. Are we supposed to start putting our faith in a government that is considering introducing the death penalty for homosexuals (including a mechanism for extraditing Ugandan homosexuals who live overseas)[1]? Are we supposed to start putting our faith in a military that has itself been accused of mass rape and heinous war crimes [2]? Are we supposed to believe that if the US military intervene that this time will somehow be different and it won’t lead to thousands (or possibly millions [3]) of deaths like we have seen in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq? What will even happen if they do get Joseph Kony? Are we supposed to believe that the capture of one man will solve everything? Joseph Kony is not even thought to be in Uganda anymore [4] so these ‘charity’ workers are not only advocating US military intervention in Uganda but also possible Ugandan military intervention in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic.

    Perhaps the most important point of all that they fail to address is the fact that things have supposedly started returning to normal in that region, this campaign may result (whether intentionally or otherwise) in reigniting this whole mess all over again. If people want to donate money that is their own choice, but they must at least consider the possibility that it may end up being blood money and ask themselves whether or not they are comfortable with that.



    • Dear Mr. McGee, thank you for the elaborate response and references. I am glad you shared it here so my readers would learn more about this topic from all angles. I am actually aware of your arguments, and I do not disagree with you.

      I do not support military intervention (generally) and USA has a history of military interventions that are not justified. What I salute Invisible Children for is the awareness that they succeeded in raising. The rest of the details of how to stop slavery, rape, child soldier recruitment, and other crimes is a different argument. I agree though that a good first step is to raise awareness and the rest would be debated and discussed at depth later.

      The campaign is not about IC inc. They became famous for sure, but I hope we stay focused on the cause and not the campaign. I see silent victims finally getting a voice. It is up to the conscience of all us now to decide what would be the best way to stop such atrocities in many regions in the world and not just Uganda or even Africa. But none would do anything if none knows anything about those crimes.


    • and now there is more evidence that they are strongly connected to ultra-conservative Christian right and people who were behind the horrendous “Kill the gays” bill in Uganda


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