That’s a good thing.
We can hope that that this heightened awareness can be built upon to find real solutions to the conflict and to address the suffering of the tens-of-thousands of victims.
But the solutions offered by the video are both dangerous and simplistic. Not to mention, much of the information in the video is wrong. The most obvious, that numerous viewers have pointed out, are that Joseph Kony is long gone from Uganda, and that the 30,000 victims referred to are the result of over 20 years of persecution.
But that’s just the beginning. Let’s take the dangerous first, and let Ugandans speak for themselves.
Reaction In Uganda: Outrage, Anger, Hurt
On March 13, the first public screening of the Kony 2012 video in northern Uganda took place in Lira Town. The screening was attended by over 35,000 people from across northern Uganda, and broadcast live on five local FM radio stations that reach approximately 2 million people in northern Uganda.
However, at the Lira screening, the film produced such outrage, anger and hurt that it was decided that in order not to further harm victims or provoke any violent response that it is better to halt any further screenings for now.
While people clearly voiced the opinion that Kony, the top LRA commanders and those most responsible for the harms people suffered should be brought to justice and that international support was needed, the film’s overall messages were very upsetting to many audience members.
In particular, viewers were outraged by the KONY 2012 campaign’s strategy to make Kony famous and their marketing of items with his image. One victim was applauded upon saying, “If you care for us the victims, you will respect our feelings and acknowledge how hurting it is for us to see you mobilizing the world to make Kony famous, the guy who is the world most wanted criminal.”
There was a strong sense from the audience that the video was insensitive to African and Ugandan audiences, and that it did not accurately portray the conflict or the victims.
You can see some of these reactions in the video below.
If the makers of the video had any sensitivity or respect for the Ugandan people, they would pull their video immediately.
And this video is dangerous because it is simplistic. To tell over 3,000 audiences of high school students that by buying a bracelet, or sending a few dollars, they can solve the issue of child soldiers in Uganda and surrounding countries is patronizing, and it is a lie. Teenagers deserve better.
Let’s look at what’s really going on.
Eliminating Kony Only Means The Next Kony Will Step Forward
Joseph Kony is the tip of a much larger problem. While he must face justice as an individual, eliminating him ignores all of the factors that created him and allowed the LRA to survive for so long. As Amnesty International points out, these include regulating small arms, strengthening the rule of law in these countries, pushing governments to behave properly, as well as bringing high profile criminals like Kony to justice.
Photo Credit: howdyhipeople
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