Posts tagged "invisible children"
"I feel like I’m on top of the world. You don’t go through something this traumatic, dramatic, public and not learn a lot from it and not grow closer to your wife and your family and the people who are in your tribe. You can’t get more broken than laying in the street naked and ranting to yourself," said Jason Russell of life after his March breakdown.
read more — Kony 2012 on Oprah: The Rumors, The Breakdown, and the Video That Started It All

"I feel like I’m on top of the world. You don’t go through something this traumatic, dramatic, public and not learn a lot from it and not grow closer to your wife and your family and the people who are in your tribe. You can’t get more broken than laying in the street naked and ranting to yourself," said Jason Russell of life after his March breakdown.

read more — Kony 2012 on Oprah: The Rumors, The Breakdown, and the Video That Started It All

Kony 2012: Part II

Invisible Children, a San Diego-based charity which created the viral Kony 2012 video, released a second video on Thursday called Kony 2012: Part II – Beyond Famous.

The new film comes just one month after Kony 2012, which brought attention to the Ugandan guerilla leader Joseph Kony and the use of child soldiers in his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The new video, however, also addresses criticism levied at its cause.

Critics say Invisible Children overplays the influence of Joseph Kony and his LRA. Others argue the charity is tied to Evangelical Christian groups in the United States and therefore maintains a “fundamentalist agenda.”  According to Mashable, however, 57 people have been abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army since the first film. 

"Invisible Children will, I think, produce the arrest of Joseph Kony this year," Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, told Reuters.

According to Gizmodo, the original Kony film is the “most viral” video of all time, beating out pop sensations like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. “No matter how you feel about the controversial documentary about Ugandan general Joseph Kony, you’ve got to admit its reach is remarkable,” wrote Gizmodo columnist Mario Aguilar.

Ugandan Leaders Respond to KONY2012

Jason Russell was a new grad of University of Southern California with a film degree and a passion to find a strong story.  He found that story in Africa when he also found himself among those being terrorized by the violent acts of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army.

After nine years of documenting the atrocities he and his colleagues saw and the victims they met- young children forced into being soldiers or sex slaves- their work swept social media in days.  The video has attracted hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations and the attention of some prominent people, including those in Uganda.
"All this hoopla about Kony and his murderous activities is good in a sense that it helps inform those who didn’t know the monster that Kony is. But of course, this is too late," Uganda’s defence ministry spokesman Felix Kulayigye told Reuters.
"It might take long but we’ll catch Kony, dead or alive. How many years did it take to end the conflict in Northern Ireland? So our hunt for Kony can take long but it will end one day," he said.
But as The Globe reported, ridding Uganda of Joseph Kony may not completely solve the problem:
By focusing so much on Mr. Kony, the campaign suggests that capturing him will end the atrocities, even restore the lives of those who have suffered. But as the assassination of Osama bin Laden has shown, silencing one man doesn’t silence the movement.
We recently spent three months in northern Uganda, where we spoke to hundreds of people who lost relatives and livelihoods in the war. Although many said they wanted “justice,” the meaning of justice and who should be brought to justice were divisive issues.  While many support putting Mr. Kony and others accused of war crimes on trial, others would prefer to forgive them, as long as they apologized sincerely for what they did and accepted accountability for their actions.
According to the State Department, “since 2008 alone, the LRA has killed more than 2,400 people and abducted more than 3,400. The United Nations estimates that over 380,000 people are displaced across the region because of LRA activity.”
Despite the surge of attention the “Kony 2012” video has attracted, the Lord’s Resistance Army has been on the U.S.’s radar since 2008.  The U.S. has contributed more than $40 million to aid regional efforts in overtaking Joseph Kony and President Obama sent 100 U.S. military advisers in October.
Though the response to the video has been largely supportive, some critics have also been voicing their concerns about how Russell’s San Diego-based nonprofit “Invisible Children, Inc.” has been spending donation money.
According to CBS News:
The organization spent $8.9 million, of which just $3.3 million went to programs in central Africa. Of the remainder, another $2.3 million went to marketing; $1.4 million on management and general expenses; $700,000 on media; and $850,000 on “awareness products” (clothing, DVDs, etc.).
Zach Barrows of Invisible Children told CBS News, “We’ve never pretended all the money goes to the ground, because we don’t believe that’s the best use. The best use is spreading the word and then doing the highest-impact programs possible on the ground.”
The organization said its goal for the video was to get 500,000 views in the year 2013. As of Friday morning, there have been 50 million.
Ugandan Leaders Respond to KONY2012
Jason Russell was a new grad of University of Southern California with a film degree and a passion to find a strong story.  He found that story in Africa when he also found himself among those being terrorized by the violent acts of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army.

After nine years of documenting the atrocities he and his colleagues saw and the victims they met- young children forced into being soldiers or sex slaves- their work swept social media in days.  The video has attracted hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations and the attention of some prominent people, including those in Uganda.

"All this hoopla about Kony and his murderous activities is good in a sense that it helps inform those who didn’t know the monster that Kony is. But of course, this is too late," Uganda’s defence ministry spokesman Felix Kulayigye told Reuters.

"It might take long but we’ll catch Kony, dead or alive. How many years did it take to end the conflict in Northern Ireland? So our hunt for Kony can take long but it will end one day," he said.

But as The Globe reported, ridding Uganda of Joseph Kony may not completely solve the problem:

  • By focusing so much on Mr. Kony, the campaign suggests that capturing him will end the atrocities, even restore the lives of those who have suffered. But as the assassination of Osama bin Laden has shown, silencing one man doesn’t silence the movement.
  • We recently spent three months in northern Uganda, where we spoke to hundreds of people who lost relatives and livelihoods in the war. Although many said they wanted “justice,” the meaning of justice and who should be brought to justice were divisive issues.  While many support putting Mr. Kony and others accused of war crimes on trial, others would prefer to forgive them, as long as they apologized sincerely for what they did and accepted accountability for their actions.

According to the State Department, “since 2008 alone, the LRA has killed more than 2,400 people and abducted more than 3,400. The United Nations estimates that over 380,000 people are displaced across the region because of LRA activity.”

Despite the surge of attention the “Kony 2012” video has attracted, the Lord’s Resistance Army has been on the U.S.’s radar since 2008.  The U.S. has contributed more than $40 million to aid regional efforts in overtaking Joseph Kony and President Obama sent 100 U.S. military advisers in October.

Though the response to the video has been largely supportive, some critics have also been voicing their concerns about how Russell’s San Diego-based nonprofit “Invisible Children, Inc.” has been spending donation money.

According to CBS News:

  • The organization spent $8.9 million, of which just $3.3 million went to programs in central Africa. Of the remainder, another $2.3 million went to marketing; $1.4 million on management and general expenses; $700,000 on media; and $850,000 on “awareness products” (clothing, DVDs, etc.).
  • Zach Barrows of Invisible Children told CBS News, “We’ve never pretended all the money goes to the ground, because we don’t believe that’s the best use. The best use is spreading the word and then doing the highest-impact programs possible on the ground.”

The organization said its goal for the video was to get 500,000 views in the year 2013. As of Friday morning, there have been 50 million.

#STOPKONY2012 - To Support or Not To Support?

If you’ve logged onto Facebook in the past 24 hours, you’ve probably seen the "Kony 2012" video pop up at least a few times on your news feed. The same goes for Twitter.

In case you’re not familiar with, the video was produced by a San Diego non-profit called “Invisible Children, Inc.” The charity produced and uploaded the 28-minute documentary - titled “Kony 2012” - to YouTube in order to bring attention to Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and the rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army, which, according to ABC News, is alleged by human rights groups to have “terrorized central Africa for years.” 

As of Thursday afternoon, the documentary has been viewed more than 40 million times since it was uploaded on March 5. In part, the video’s success can be attributed to multiple celebrity endorsements. Among those voicing their support via Twitter: Oprah, Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian and Ryan Gosling. President Obama also came out on Thursday in support of the Kony 2012 campaign.

But, as the Los Angeles Times noted, “the campaign has also spurred a debate about whether the nonprofit behind the effort and its empowering tools of social media — Twitter, YouTube and Facebook — are dangerously oversimplifying the dilemma.”

Some wonder if the “Stop Kony” social media campaign is really even doing anything to help. The Guardian’s Michael Wilkerson wrote:

There is no question that the LRA has been one of the most horrifying armed forces in the past half century. But while the video urges spreading the word, signing a pledge, buying an action kit of Kony 2012 bracelets and posters, and of course donating to Invisible Children, it’s hard to understand how this will aid the current slow chase of Kony and his forces through some of the most intractable terrain in the world.

US military advisers have been helping the Ugandan army track the LRA since October, and Invisible Children wants to keep pressure on the US to maintain or improve that assistance. But as there has not been a whisper of possibly withdrawing this support, raising it as the reason for urgency seems slightly odd.

Furthermore, as the video has become more widespread, so too has the criticism of “Kony 2012” and the non-profit behind it.

According to The Huffington Post: “The campaign’s newfound attention was quickly riddled with criticisms of the Invisible Children organization, including its aid-spending practices, a controversial photo of the NGO’s members posing with guns, and the project’s neo-colonial undertones.”

And Visible Children, a tumblr blog critical of the “Stop Kony” campaign, pointed out that Invisible Children is focusing on military intervention: “Military intervention may or may not be the right idea, but people supporting KONY 2012 probably don’t realize they’re supporting the Ugandan military who are themselves raping and looting away.”

On Thursday, the company responded to some of the criticism. In a statement posted to its website, the non-profit said, in part, “As you will see, we spend roughly one third of our money on each of these three goals. This three-prong approach is what makes Invisible Children unique. Some organizations focus exclusively on documenting human rights abuses, some focus exclusively on international advocacy or awareness, and some focus exclusively on on-the-ground development. We do all three. At the same time. This comprehensive model is intentional and has proven to be very effective.” (Read the full statement here).

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