Thursday, March 8, 2012

Helping or Hurting?: Kony 2012

I saw a powerful video on Facebook 
 It was about a group and a man I had never heard of before: Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army.

The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is a terrorist group in Africa led by a Ugandan man named Joseph Kony.  In a war for power and control over the citizens of  Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, his army is known for the extreme atrocities they commit against civilians, including killings, mutilations, and rape.  Many hundreds of thousands of civilians have been displaced from their homes.  All to keep the self-proclaimed messiah Joseph Kony in a position of power and control.  

The most shocking part of this army?  It is primarily made up of children Joseph Kony has abducted. Since the LRA first started fighting in 1987 they may have forced well over 30,000 boys and girls into combat, as well as forced labor and sexual slavery.

30,000 boys and girls
That is as many people as the undergraduate population of UC.

 It is a sad, shocking and terrifying piece of reality for many people, particularly those whose lives are so far removed from situations such as this.  And Invisible Children wants to help.

BUT is this the whole story?

Now that Kony 2012 campaign has started, other groups and persons are attacking Invisible Children, and criticizing their motivations, operations and platform.
 Invisble Children is alleged to:
- use incomplete and misleading information to further their cause
- to run the charity in a fiscally irresponsible way (spending less than half of money on direct services)
- support militia groups and military interventions.

These articles support the allegations

Financial Statement here:


1. Do you think an awareness campaign utilizing Facebook and Twitter is a practical way to spread the message of the atrocities committed by Joseph Kony and the LRA?   Is it likely to solve the problem?   What would you suggest?

2.  Is this campaign too patronizing in nature?  If the film comes off as too bad guy African vs. good guy American, as some suggest, what approach do you think would be more valuable?

3.  Do you think its the responsibility of all citizens to take action against terrorism?  What does taking action mean to you?  Is simply knowing about a problem helpful?

More information on this issue can be found on these websites:

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