TRIGGER WARNING: Human Rights injunctions. Not the most fun of topics.
Now I am sure you all have heard about this phenomenon. I’m willing to bet a lot of you reading this are all for the “Make Kony Famous” campaign, and I’m sure you all have good intentions. After all, who wouldn’t want to throw a ruthless war criminal behind bars for his acts?
But this is not the way to go. Uganda is on the path to recovery, and it needs help in this recovery – what it DOESN’T need is a terribly flawed organization forming an army of twitter hashtags to make famous a man who has done all the damage he needed to, and to shed light on the LRA, which is in decline. I repeat: UGANDA IS RECOVERING.
Let’s backtrack though. Who is Joseph Kony?
Joseph Kony is the head of the LRA, the Lord’s Resistance Army, which is a group of guerrilla fighters, whose purpose was to convert Uganda into a theocratic state. The problem which such pro-theocracy groups is that it only takes a little while before they launch a grand crusade aimed at purifying certain peoples. Then we have a problem because Joseph Kony pretty much declared himself a spokesperson of god. And then you throw a bit of occultism into the mix et, voila! Now you have a borderline cult of an army going around inducting little boys into their “cause” and raping innocent children. The LRA grew to terrorize not only Uganda, but the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
Kony himself went on to take 88 wives (by “taking,” it means he declared all these poor women to be his wives, beat them into submission, and impregnated them). The LRA comprised of about 60000 child-soldiers. This number is much disputed, however, but just think about the sheer number of children they abducted.
But if this is so heinous, why am I not a fan of Kony 2012?
Scroll back up – because UGANDA IS RECOVERING. As are the other countries! And now you have Invisible Children, calling for military intervention in a country that doesn’t need it anymore just months after oil has been discovered in the country. How is this not problematic? Moreover, Invisible Children has been called out over and over for being flawed. “Last year, the organization spent $8,676,614. Only 32% went to direct services […] with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production.“
Furthermore, Invisible Children supports the Ugandan Army which isn’t all that better than the LRA by way of raping and looting. They’re asking for the kind of intervention that won’t help anyone but the military – what these people need is aid to recover, to educate, to ensure that this kind of a thing never happens again.
Hashtags and posters won’t help. When the people in question do not support KONY 2012, why should you, a person entirely detached from a situation that has little relevance now? What you can do is seek out alternative charities and spread awareness for those. That’s much better than “Making Kony Famous.” People have already tried to make Kony “famous” by trying to arrest him multiple times but that hasn’t worked out.
Personally, I believe we should be focusing on preventative measures to ensure something like this will never happen again, rather than screeching about a chapter that has long since been read.
Because honestly, when has military intervention ever helped anything?
Seriously though, the next time a charity organization asks you to help a population, take the time to find out what that population has to say.
Besides. If you’re going to be harping on about war criminals, I think you should take a look at the long line of US presidents unto this day first.
Or, better yet, the guy who went on a murder spree in Afghanistan a couple days ago.
That’s a bit more relevant to, you know, 2012.