Taking ‘Kony 2012’ Down A Notch

The makers of Kony 2012

The makers of Kony 2012. (Photo: Glenna Gordon / Scarlett Lion)

As we speak, one of the most pervasive and successful human rights based viral campaigns in recent memory is underway. Invisible Children’s ‘Kony 2012‘ campaign has taken Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and every other mainstream social media refuge by storm. In many ways, it is quite impressive. But there’s one glaring problem: the campaign reflects neither the realities of northern Ugandan nor the attitudes of its people. In this context, this post examines the explicit and implicit claims made by the ‘Kony 2012’ campaign and tests them against the empirical record on the ground.

Before jumping into the fray, however, I should preface the post by noting that, in many ways, Invisible Children have done a fantastic job in advocating for the rights of northern Ugandans, highlighting the conflict and providing tangible benefits to victims and survivors of LRA brutality. Indeed, this post is not intended to take aim at Invisible Children as an organization but rather to debunk some of the myths its ‘Kony 2012’ campaign is propagating.

The Problem is Popularity? 

Kony 2012 is about making Joseph Kony, the leader of the notorious LRA, famous because, the line of reasoning goes, if everyone knew him, no one would be able to stand idly by as he waged his brutal campaign of terror against the people of East Africa.

I am actually stupefied that any analysis of the ‘LRA question’ results in the identification of the problem being that “Kony isn’t popular enough”. The reality is that few don’t know who Joseph Kony is in East Africa and the Great Lakes Region, making it all-too-apparent that this isn’t about them, their views or their experiences. But even more puzzling is that Joseph Kony is one of the best known alleged war criminals in the world – including in the United States. This is the case in large part because of the advocacy of Western NGOs, including Invisible Children and the Enough Project as well as the ICC arrest warrants issued against Kony and his senior command.

I would understand if this were the 1990s or even the early 2000s when the misery plaguing northern Uganda flew completely under the radar. I would understand if this campaign was about the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But a campaign in 2012, premised on Joseph Kony not being famous enough is just folly.

'Kony 2012'

A poster from the 'Kony 2012' campaign. (Poster: Invisible Children)

Umm…what about northern Ugandans?

It is hard to respect any documentary on northern Uganda where a five year-old white boy features more prominently than any northern Ugandan victim or survivor. Incredibly, with the exception of the adolescent northern Ugandan victim, Jacob, the voices of northern Ugandans go almost completely unheard.

It isn’t hard to imagine why the views of northern Ugandans wouldn’t be considered: they don’t fit with the narrative produced and reproduced in the insulated echo chamber that produced the ‘Kony 2012’ film.

‘Kony 2012’, quite dubiously, avoids stepping into the ‘peace-justice’ question in northern Uganda precisely because it is a world of contesting and plural views, eloquently expressed by the northern Ugandans themselves. Some reports suggest that the majority of Acholi people continue to support the amnesty process whereby LRA combatants – including senior officials – return to the country in exchange for amnesty and entering a process of ‘traditional justice’. Many continue to support the Ugandan Amnesty law because of the reality that it is their own children who constitute the LRA. Once again, this issue is barely touched upon in the film. Yet the LRA poses a stark dilemma to the people of northern Uganda: it is now composed primarily of child soldiers, most of whom were abducted and forced to join the rebel ranks and commit atrocities. Labeling them “victims” or “perpetrators” becomes particularly problematic as they are often both.

Furthermore, the crisis in northern Uganda is not seen by its citizens as one that is the result of the LRA. Yes, you read that right. The conflict in the region is viewed as one wherein both the Government of Uganda and the LRA, as well as their regional supporters (primarily South Sudan and Khartoum, respectively) have perpetrated and benefited from nearly twenty-five years of systemic and structural violence and displacement. This pattern is what Chris Dolan has eloquently and persuasively termed ‘social torture‘ wherein both the Ugandan Government and the LRA’s treatment of the population has resulted in symptoms of collective torture and the blurring of the perpetrator-victim binary.

Kony and Egeland

Kony and his former second in command, Vincent Otti, with former UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland (Photo: New York Times)

The Solution?

Given Invisible Children’s problematic identification of the issue, it becomes impossible for them to come up with an appropriate vision of resolving the crisis.

Invisible Children is, perhaps rightly, proud that it put the ‘LRA question’ on the Obama administration’s agenda. In this context, last year’s announcement that the administration would send 100 military ‘advisors’ to Uganda was widely celebrated. But this triumphalism occludes key realities.

The sending of 100 troops was not, in any sense, an altruistic move by the administration. First, it went unreported that many of the troops were already in Uganda. Second, the announcement was, at least in part, a tit-for-tat response for the Government of Uganda’s military engagement in Somalia – where the US refuses to deploy troops. As Matt Brown of the Enough Project conceded:

“The U.S. doesn’t have to fight al-Qaida-linked Shabab in Somalia, so we help Uganda take care of their domestic security problems, freeing them up to fight a more dangerous – or a more pressing, perhaps – issue in Somalia.

It is clear that the ‘Kony 2012’ campaign sees the 100 US troop allotment as inadequate. Here they are right – 100 US troops is not the solution. But their own answer is highly problematic.

We know what the makers of “Kony 2012” believe should happen but they won’t say it explicitly, except to say that Kony must be “stopped”.

Obama’s orders for his 100 troops – presumably supported by those behind ‘Kony 2012’ – is to “kill or capture” Joseph Kony. I don’t think it is a stretch to suggest that many of the same individuals who will form the legion of participants in ‘Kony 2012’ were on the streets celebrating the killing of Osama bin Laden. It thus likely holds that they bought into the belief, proffered by Obama himself, that bin Laden’s killing amounted to justice and if you didn’t agree, you should get your head checked.

The solution then, is something similar: an American-led intervention into at least four countries where the LRA is or has been active (Uganda, the DRC, the Central African Republic and South Sudan) to hunt down Kony. Capturing him, after all, is secondary to “stopping” him.

The idea of “stopping Kony”, of course plays into the narrative created by the ‘Kony 2012’ campaign where what actually happens to Kony and the LRA is irrelevant. The unspecific aim of “stopping” him is sufficient. Who, after all, doesn’t want Kony “stopped”? But then what? If Kony is killed or captured, then what? What happens to the other members of the LRA? ‘Kony 2012’ offers no answers here.

In this context, it is worthwhile remembering that massive regional military solutions (Operations Iron Fist and Lightning Thunder most recently), with support from the US, have thus far failed to dismantle or “stop” the LRA. These failures have created serious and legitimate doubts that the ‘LRA question’ is one that can be resolved by military means.

Incredibly, there is no mention in the film or the campaign that northern Ugandans are currently enjoying the longest period of peace since the conflict began in 1986. Virtually every single northern Ugandan I spoke to during my own field research believes that there is peace in the region. While sporadic violence continues, particularly as a result of bitter land disputes, there have been no LRA attacks in years. In the mid 2000s, the ‘LRA problem’ was exported out of Uganda. The LRA is currently residing in the DRC, CAR, and perhaps parts of South Sudan and even Darfur. Today, land issues and the recent Walk to Work crisis are higher on the agenda than the LRA in northern Uganda.

Lastly, killing Kony cannot resolve the actual sources of the crisis which are far more structural than superficial (to put it lightly) analyses like ‘Kony 2012’ would like to admit. As respected scholars of northern Uganda, Mareike Schomerus, Tim Allen, and Koen Vlassenroot, recently argued,

“Until the underlying problem — the region’s poor governance — is adequately dealt with, there will be no sustainable peace.”

Kony (left) with Otti. (Photo: AFP)

The Need for a Sober Second Thought

In the end, ‘Kony 2012’ falls prey to the obfuscating, simplified and wildly erroneous narrative of a legitimate, terror-fighting, innocent partner of the West (the Government of Uganda) seeking to eliminate a band of lunatic, child-thieving, machine-gun wielding mystics (the LRA). The main beneficiary of this narrative is, once again, the Ugandan Government of Yoweri Museveni, whose legitimacy is bolstered and – if the ‘Kony 2012’ campaign is ‘successful’ – will receive more military funding and support from the US.

Of course, as a viral campaign launched through social media, ‘Kony 2012’ is impressive, if not unprecedented. It will, undoubtedly, mobilize and morph a horde of sincere American youths into proxy war criminal hunters. It will further succeed in increasing the ‘popularity’ of Joseph Kony and the LRA in the United States. But it will do so for many of – if not all – the wrong reasons.

I remember when I was in grade school and a teacher told the students that it was actually difficult to fail. “You have to try to fail,” he said. If ‘Kony 2012’ is to be judged by its reflection of the realities on the ground in northern Uganda and how it measures up against the empirical record, the makers of Kony 2012 tried – and succeeded.


UPDATE: I’ve now published a response to the main criticisms that this post has inspired. See here: Taking ‘Kony2012′ Down a Notch – Responding to Criticism.

Check out this excellent account by Daniel Solomon over at his blog, Securing Rights.

Also, big thanks to my friend and colleague, Paul Kirby, for his insightful comments on a draft of this post.

About Mark Kersten

Mark Kersten is a consultant at the Wayamo Foundation, a Senior Researcher at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and a law student at McGill University Law School. He is also author of the book, 'Justice in Conflict - The Effects of the International Criminal Court's Interventions on Ending Wars and Building Peace' (Oxford University Press, 2016).
This entry was posted in Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), Uganda. Bookmark the permalink.

908 Responses to Taking ‘Kony 2012’ Down A Notch

  1. Justin says:

    Somehow I’m not surprised. I got a weird vibe from the melodramatic, grandiose tone of the video. Stopped watching it at about ten minutes when they still hadn’t told me what Kony’s goals were or why the rebels were doing what they were.

    • Here’s the thing..Research and claims will be made now that Kony is a popular trending topic. Would this have been possible if the video wasn’t made? I doubt it. No matter what happens now, I want to know that if I mention a guy like Kony on the street, the world will be aware..maybe not act on it. But they will at least know the name. CNN will probably now start to cover this and boom, the research will begin…Heres an example of what I mean: A crime happens—>someone speaks out or the crime is witnessed—>the cops figure out who did it and why…action–>attention–>cause

      • Rachel M. says:

        Thank you, this is how I feel. It may not be perfect but its a step. And I know it has been said that this is a global issue but it isn’t. I didn’t hear about it until today. I believe your points are valid and the film and entire idea is flawed but it is still an idea. What other options are out there? Sit back and watch it happen, thats not ideal either.

      • Jin says:

        This is a really, really naive viewpoint IMO. The idea that’s all that is necessary is a little media attention just doesn’t play out. If CNN covers it, perhaps something will happen. Or perhaps it’ll be a feel-good charity case for the media for a month and then it’ll fade away. The issues at stake here are much deeper and more thoroughly ingrained than can be tackled by simple public awareness and media attention. They go back a long time and involve a lot of historical context which people assuredly haven’t been taught by that video, and which isn’t easily just researchable if you don’t know what to look for… I really can’t see much coming of that approach TBH.

      • alisonktj says:

        I completely agree. So the video might have a “melodramatic” vibe. It’s purpose was to make Kony a household name, and it is succeeding in that. The video appealed to the masses, and that’s why it’s now a TT. no matter how you look at it, invisible children are raising awareness about Kony which wouldn’t have been possible about the video. Anyone criticizing should at least acknowledge that.

      • Harriet says:

        funnily enough justin i didn’t care if he didn’t tell me the rebels views or why they are doing what they’re doing. because when someone is abducting children, forcing them to kill their families, killing others, forcing young girls to be sex slaves i’m pretty sure it’s more important than letting you know their views, but i guess i just have compassion.
        this article is full of good points, but i’m sick of seeing people hating over the Kony2012 campaign, yeah deploying more US soldiers into Africa isn’t a good idea, but at least these people are trying to make a difference in this world, giving hope to people. you’re just too scared incase it goes wrong, so what if it goes wrong, at least they and the rest of the world tried, rather than just typing about it with negative views.
        Yeah i’m not a charity worker, or a 40 year old woman with children, or even that up on political views. I am a 19 year old dance student, what the hell do i know? i guess making a difference doesn’t always have to make sense.

      • Rachel M. says:

        So right 🙂 I’m so glad I’m not alone in this!

      • The problem with your crime analogy is that it ignores the fact that all of this has already been accomplished. As is mentioned in this article there is not only a peace process being pursued by the LRA and the Ugandan government, but the ICC already has a prosecutor, a case, and an arrest warrant for Kony and the other LRA leadership.

        At some point phoning the police ceases to accomplish anything useful and just ties up the lines.

      • LastOfThePrimes says:

        I find it interesting that individuals like the author of this blog will ride its popularity to promote themselves, through critique. Its rather disgusting actually. Maybe “Kony 2012” isnt the “Best” approach, but it’s definitely got the world that was once ignorant of Kony and his crimes on humanity, talking about them. That, in my humble opinion, is a tremendous start. Maybe if Mr. Kerstern would use his knowledge to help improve upon the campaign, instead of criticizing it, more forward progress could be made sooner.

      • Justin says:

        Love this. For people who didn’t watch the video entirely I advise you to watch it again. It’s an experiment, but for it to work you HAVE to pay attention. You guys are not seeing the bigger picture. This is not about Kony or Invisible Children. This is about us, the community, the world, having the ability to speak out as one voice against something. The sharing of a simple idea with millions.

      • Mark Kersten says:

        Thanks for the replies. The question really is to what extent the accuracy of the reporting means. In your example, does it simply matter that someone speaks out about the crime or does it actually matter what they say, the language they use, etc. In my view, good advocacy is premised on an accurate understanding of context and the nature of the conflict/crisis.

      • Uphir says:

        Anybody who already had an interest in human rights already knew who the guys name was. It doesn’t really do anybody any good to have a bunch of people with no real interest and no idea what they’re talking about suddenly jump on the bandwagon. All that does is make it harder to sort through the B.S. Here’s My example–ask 100 college World History professors a history-related question, you’ll probably get the right answer. Ask 100 college World History professors AND 1000 other random Americans the same question, and you will be MUCH less likely to get the correct answer–and if you do, it’s only after sorting through 1100 other opinions. As this article states, recognition accomplishes nothing when problem isn’t identified correctly to begin with.

      • I wonder what CNN people watch. They’ve covered this story multiple times. Perhaps the western world should ask itself why a two decade plus story took this long for anyone to give it the attention it deserved. Good thing, mobilising people against a war criminal. It’s sad, however, that IC is busy making big money selling whatever’s in their kits.

      • Imani says:

        You do realise that international media, including CNN covered this conflict back when it began, right? And that they continued to do so for a while? How come no action came out of that coverage, and what makes you think it will this time around? Not that I wouldn’t want it to, but it’s not that simple…politics have never been that simple.

      • Dee says:

        I am seeing many people complain that it is too late. Kony is not in Northern Uganda anymore… So, he should be let go? He should no longer be pursued? It’s all over? No, I think not. This man needs to be stopped to ensure that he does not repeat his crimes, which he has shown that he will do after “regrouping”. The people all over the world need to know that this is not OK. That it will never be OK and that when they feel like they can’t stand up to it themselves, they can seek help. Did it take the U.S. too long to get this involved, unfortunately yes. That does not mean that we should shrug our shoulders and walk away.
        Is the best answer simply to kill him? No. Is it possible that he will not have it any other way? Yes! (suicide by cop)
        If everyone waits and worries over how to intercede or if their efforts will really be enough, then nothing will ever get done.
        I may not be perfect, I may not be right, but I’m willing to try.

      • Sofie says:

        It is true that the initiative of the Kony 2012 is based on good intentions. However, there is a bigger conflict than just “stopping” Kony. There are thousands of children, adolescents and teenagers who have been abducted and are now child soldiers. These children have been taught, trained and forced to kill, and when a child is psychologically taught that killing is the right thing to do, that it is natural, they won’t stop from one day to the other. So say that Kony is stopped. What will happen to the children? What will they do? How will they earn money?
        I believe that the comment made earlier by Harriet is very naive. We have never experienced war and crime like the northern Ugandans have, we dont know what they want or need, and what they think. Our opinion is that we should enter Uganda and end it all, with our methods that we think are right. To what extent is it our right to apply our methods (however good our intentions are) and end something that has shaped the area of Northern Uganda?
        Again, the initiative is great, spreading the word is great, but it is also our responsibility to think critically and not to believe everything and anything that we see right away, even though it is shared via blogs, twitter and facebook.

      • Kony already has an international arrest order on his head. Within the circle of people who actually make these decisions, the attention to Kony was present long, long before this viral video. This public outcry will only lead to rushed decisions which only deal with the symptoms in Uganda, not the underlying problems. As well as giving a certain organization attention and money.

      • My teenagers had me watch this video and they are passionate about trying to help stop Kony, I didn’t even know who he was before this! My biggest surprise is that my girls are finding an interest in something other then boys which is a big accomplishment and is a step in the right direction. I agree with Claudio Torres, maybe it was not completely thought through in trying to deal with the LRA or stopping Kony but it got our future’s attention when it touched our children and thus passing it to the parents. Now we are aware and we care so it is only a matter of time before this becomes a world wide attempt at doing the right thing because of this video! Who cares if his son is in the video more then the victims of Uganda, it still got our attention and now it is just a matter of time like
        Claudio said. Come on CNN, get on it!!!!

    • Kyla says:

      The video appeals to the masses, specifically the youth. It was meant to make Kony a household name because the bottom line is that awareness is the first step to action. I think Jacob’s accounts of his experience were what made it so powerful, focusing on how real the issue is, rather than interviewing a larger amount of nameless people. Even though a larger number of people weren’t necessarily featured, I thought the video did a great job of emphasizing the overwhelming amount of people affected. I agree that as far as the United States involvement is concerned, it is a difficult situation to decide what is both politically and financially responsible on our part. However, I personally want to live in a country in which crimes against humanity are both recognized, and fought against whether it is through action of the citizens or the government. It is retroactive to speculate on what might happen after Kony is stopped. Why stop believing in a cause simple because the end result may or may not be a little messy? I think the bottom line is, there is no harm done by spreading Kony’s name.

      • j says:

        “I think Jacob’s accounts of his experience were what made it so powerful, focusing on how real the issue is, rather than interviewing a larger amount of NAMELESS PEOPLE.”

        You may want to reevaluate what you took out of the video.

      • Tracy says:

        Thanks, I’m somewhat embarrassed that I posted the video without more information. I think the comments here do make the point you didn’t seem to believe possible– we had never heard of Kony. And honestly, I’m young, but I actually pay attention to much that is going on in the world.

        For the record, I opposed the killing of Bin Laden — this seems another sort of story. Kony is still killing. But yes, I can see that his associates are both victims and perpetrators. And just killing him isn’t going bring about stability.

        So…. could you redirect us? Many Americans are convinced that we should leave the rest of the world alone — just ignore it,unless it relates to our own interests. Our gut tells us this can’t be right when children are victimized, and women are raped. So what sort of pressure should we direct at our politicians? Or, is there nothing we can do about this sort of violence in the region?

      • Tenz says:

        I think what she meant was if they had had a 30-minute video with 20 people talking about their experiences in a few seconds, it probably wouldn’t have had the same impact as it had with the viewers being able to follow through with Jacob’s story. He was given a name and “spotlight” if you want to call it that. The makers probably wouldn’t have been able to create a video of the same length and do justice to more people’s stories. I doubt Kyla meant these people were literally nameless nobodies. 😛

    • I’m with the other women in the responses here… It’s better to have the message spread virally and let people then come and find out more. Would you rather we all sat back and watched another American Idol video???

      • THAnk you, Shona….
        This is the point……bring the issue to the forefront…..not to solve it. It will be “solved” when everyone makes it a priority. Its will be “solved” over long time, and much effort….this is just to get the focus away from moronic ‘pastimes’ like American Idol, and into caring again. THAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.

      • Tica says:

        Heartily agree!

    • Joe says:

      Ignore it Justine and you will remain as ignorant as you are now!

    • Max says:

      Thats because they don’t know. Kony’s LRA lost any recognizable agenda years ago. You have identified why the problem in Northern Uganda/DRC is so horrifying; an evil man has been destroying the Acholi people for decades and we don’t know why. Watch the rest of the video or give me a logical reason why we should not support Invisible Children. They have done more to find and take down Kony than any government in the world and he is #1 most wanted of the ICC.

      • Marceline says:

        Because the LRA isn’t in Northern Uganda anymore? Because if they were anyways you would be funding the Ugandan military to kill children and traumatized adults? Because that 34% of money could go to building better facilities for the Ugandan population, heighten the literacy rate, and maybe even help drive a useless at the best and corrupt at the worst government out of power to be replaced with something better?

        Or maybe going after a crazy old man who has tons of successors in his sons is worth the hundreds of dead kids the Ugandan military would be killing?

      • Amy says:

        Marceline, did you actually watch the video? They do build schools and facilities and helo the ugandan people!

    • Derek Edry says:

      Some holes to punch in his argument:

      1. He mentions that Kony is one of the most popular war criminals in the world, but nobody in one of my college classrooms (admittedly, this includes me) knew who he was until the hype around this video began.

      2. He mentions that the same people trying to take down Kony were probably the people celebrating Bin Laden’s death in the street. This isn’t a refute, but more an emotional response to that- what a load of shit! We wan’t him gone not because we celebrate death, but because we celebrate life! The writer fails here, on one of his key points, by actually offending the reader and suggesting his ignorance.

      3. He takes justice and calls it internet vigilantism, like the people on their computers are about to go buy a gun and shoot him themselves.

      I see the need to question the tactics of Invisible Children (they’re not a perfect organization) but there really isn’t anything constructive about this article.

      • Kevin says:

        I agree with all your points and want keep this civil. I don’t think this article points out anything constructive or relevant.

        1. He needed to be famous in mainstream America to make something significant happen.

        2. In the video they DID mention that the LRA had moved out of northern Uganda, and even had a fancy graphic. And who cares where he is, he needs to be captured/killed.

        I’ve heard somethings about conflicting things about charity, and that’s really would like some information on.

      • Lee says:

        Yeah, definitely interesting that hes such a popular war criminal, but I don’t know of anyone who knew who the hell he was either. Nor do I see a problem with being happy that Osama Bin Laden was killed..? I mean, ending a tyrant is never a bad thing. Was it wrong for the world to be happy that Hitler was killed? I guess I just don’t see where we’re going with this rant, just one more person who wants to take the flipside of something popular to try and gain their own cynical popularity.

      • Michelle says:

        Completely agree.

      • Madalena says:

        My thoughts exactly! I found the bin Laden comment particularly distasteful – I mean, a good portion of the video is centred around the ICC and the ICC is there to find and trial alleged criminals so they can be arrested, not murdered – which is what I believe the IC means by ‘stopping’ Kony.

        I can understand it might be frustrating for someone who has been involved with this issue to feel like easy and simplistic solutions are being offered to what is an obviously complex and many-sided problem. Yet this article could have been written to further clarify the situation as whole and to give a more comprehensive analysis rather than as direct criticism of a campaign that has now achieved the first goal it set itself – and an ambitious one at that!

      • So amazing how those who’ve only heard about Kony after watching the video are quick to shoot down any critique of it. I agree wholly with the article. The video is grossly erroneous and misrepresents a lot of things. Both Kony and the government of Yoweri Museveni have perpetrated atrocities. Museveni, who will benefit from Kony’s arrest also committed such during his guerilla war prior to being president. I see the need for people who watch the video for the first time to research the complex nature of the conflict in Northern Uganda and appreciate that the peace efforts have made greater gains than any military action. I recommend, further, that they should research the role peace efforts and mediation have contributed to solving decades old conflict, with both Sudanese nations as good examples. America doesn’t hold the solution to all problems in the world and we don’t need another Iraq or Afghanistan in our region(glad this doesn’t look to be the case, given the sent soldiers are in an “advisory” role).

      • Marisa says:

        In response to your #2, I think his point is not that people are wrong for celebrating Bin Laden’s death (whether or not it is), but rather that it’s naive. It’s naive to think that an organization doing so much damage or one that is even downright evil will simply evaporate if we kill their leader. As if there aren’t 10 people waiting in line to take that leader’s place. As if killing the leader will make up for every other person in that organization committing crimes. It’s not justice and it’s not a solution. And pointing that out doesn’t make you a monster.

        Then again, I’m not the author, so that could just be how I read it.

      • Alex says:

        i COMPLETELY agree with all the points you have made. Many comments made are based on emotional arguments, not facts. He should have done more research on various aspects of this issue. Given this, I admit he does have some good points. But of course IC isn’t perfect! What is?!

      • Tess says:

        I agree with your points! What I don’t understand is why this article was written! Surely it’s a good thing if Kony and his crimes are made public globally – what could possibly go wrong with that? If we can make sure the government knows the public want Kony’s arrest then surely that’s a good thing too? This article seems like immature nit-picking – the author is criticising the IC campaign and offering absolutely no solutions to the problems he encounters. What’s the point in that? Looks like pointless nay-saying to me.

      • Skeptical says:


        I totally disagree with your second point. We didn’t take Bin Laden down because we celebrate life but because we value western lives,especially American ones, as being far more important than anyone else’s and demanded revenge. Before Bin Laden started attacking western, mainly military, facilities we took hardly any notice of his organisation’s activities. Politically it was good for American politicians, nothing more or less, to go after him after 9/11. We are far too willing to stick our noses in business we barely understand and in countries vast numbers in our populations hardly know exist. Bin Laden would not have targeted American and European facilities if we didn’t support despotic Arab leaders and had such a strong bias in supporting Israel no matter what they do.

        We do seem to need someone or some entity, preferably in a third world country, to hate at any one time. In the past we have had commies, including various leaders of USSR and China at the time. When those regimes collapsed we got Islamists, or just Arabs, to replace them as hate figures. Recent individuals to hate have been Saddam and Bin Laden, even though the west was instrumental in creating both as figures of power in their world. Now we are in a vacuum of decent hate figures for our military and secret service to go after so hey lets find one. Kony looks good and shouldn’t be too hard for us to go after seeing as how Iraq and Afghanistan have turned out disastrous. Especially as Syria is much too difficult for us to intervene militarily. A bush army in Africa should be a push over.

      • Mark Kersten says:

        Thanks for the comments. I appreciate all of you taking the time and effort to read and comment on the site. For those who may be interested in the way forward that I do agree with, please see the latest post: https://justiceinconflict.org/2012/03/09/taking-kony2012-down-a-notch-responding-to-criticism/#comment-2598

    • laura says:

      this is ridiculous. tons and tons of young people have never heard of him, and it looks like the young ones are the people making something HAPPEN. if people knew about him before, they obviously werent doing anything about it. so you sir, are a dumb dumb.

      • If I may ask, what have they made HAPPEN? Do these “tons and tons of young people” think about the victims still at the mercy of the LRA? Have they considered those lives? Tact. The only “dumb dumb” people are those who take an infantile and misinformed view regarding an issue they just came across and push some silly profiteering cause in the name of saving the world. It pays to put one’s brain to good use. It pays to research and maintain some skepticism. The only good thing that’s come off this is the power of the internet being put to use to publicize an issue that Americans didn’t know about.

      • Mel says:

        “The young ones” aren’t making anything happen. They’re writing heartfelt Facebook statuses, and they’re retweeting, and I’m sure it makes them feel very good about themselves, but what does it accomplish in the real world? Retweeting for the cause may give you warm fuzzies, but here’s the thing: Cryptic posts about the color of your bra don’t give a dime to breast cancer research or to provide mammograms. Changing your profile picture won’t stop child abuse. I have a feeling that Joseph Kony isn’t all that upset that a bunch of American kids are saying nasty things about him on Twitter. And before you say “well, at least it raises awareness!”, anyone whose head wasn’t buried in the sand already knew that child abuse and war crimes are realities, even if they didn’t know Kona’s name. Bringing new awareness to a topic doesn’t do a thing unless people actually act on it – and act based on good information, not over-simplified western-superiority-complex and misinformation, through an organization with shady finances.

    • Bob says:

      Our company has sent 7k to help stop this. If I had the money I would assemble my own army and go get this man. I don’t care what his political views are, or his goals….he kidnaps, rapes, mutilates, tortures and brainwashes children. He deserves to die, right now. When the right combination of people hear about him, he will pay for his evil behavior….it just takes money sometimes from the hearts of good people to hire warriors to get er done.

      • you do know those kidnapped are still at his mercy, right? Rushing in is only sending them to their death. Please read the article and at the very least, contact any of the many true charities working in the region. Gosh!!!

      • David says:

        Ojay Is Ojay,

        So in the Western world when a rapist and murderer is caught we should leave him alone because those who have been tormented and abused have already been scarred or killed….That is technically what you are saying. The whole idea of putting someone is jail is to prevent them from doing the things they have done in the future. This man clearly needs to be stopped.

        And just to add a point of my own…. This video was obviously created to raise money to stop a terrible man, however I feel as though a lot of people are missing the underlying meaning. This video is about getting the entire world to stand behind something that is wrong and put a stop to it. The purpose is to empower individuals like us to all stand for something we believe in and force governments around the world to act on our behalf. I know that this video made me realize I can stand for something and make a difference if I do my part in supporting acts like Kony 2012.


    • Mari-chan says:

      I am with you there, Justin. I got a bit suspicious that they weren’t getting to the point… and then they started to advertise their kits, bracelets, etc. It was then that I realized this was really just a commercial.

      Ideally, it will raise awareness to the usually uneducated masses… and they have probably done a lot of good and have helped… but the I.C.’s motives are just too suspect in my eyes at this point in time. Their HQ building and vehicles are just too expensive looking.

      I will find other ways to help.

      • Tenz says:

        I somehow doubt you, and every other person criticizing this movement, actually will “find other ways to help”.

      • Lou-Lou says:

        I agree. It’s one thing to have a movement and it’s another to profit off it. Movements are great at moving us into an emotion of action however we must tread lightly and know all the info. IC made money and will continue to make money for themselves as well as the movement. I’m not for that.

      • Olive says:

        This is exactly what I thought. Being a college student, I am constantly bombarded with people trying to promote/raise money for their own organizations on campus. I have found that it’s easy to just feel for the purpose. Whether it is IC or some other organization, their recruitment strategies can be bias and they are very good at “selling” you their ideas. They know exactly how to tug on your heart strings and how to connect with you. This is an important issue but one must research all sides and outcomes. IC is not the one and only organization that lends a hand. Just because one isn’t jumping on the “Kony 2012” band wagon doesn’t necessarily mean they do not care about this matter.

    • Cody says:

      Didn’t he say in the video that it was all just to keep and/or raise the amount of power he controlled? Kind of throws any argument regarding a lack of explanation to reason out of the water since they state that it’s “all just to retain his power.” That may not be an exact quote, but they simply state there’s nothing more than for that reason right there.

    • Rey says:

      WOW!!! Is there justification that you would accept for someone to be exempt of criminal trial for ordering innocent killings & rape of children & adult civilians?
      This article fails to state whether or not Kony is innocent of the charges. If he is not…why are we wasting time discussing ambiguous potential ghost agendas of this organization or the lacking of in depth knowledge of the LRA by most readers or those commenting. I think honestly some of us are hyper critical of polished produced campaigns (due to our history of being lied to by big money)…as we should be…but there comes a point where you have to shake off your JADEDNESS and ask yourself if a highly polished commercial for a good cause can be a good thing for the issue at hand. If you still have an issue with this organization…then just don’t contribute money…but don’t spin that into some crazy talk about not understanding what Kony’s goals are and why he did what he did…that’s just arguing for the sake of having a counter opinion…just CRAZY TALK!!! However noble his intent…he is going about it in the the wrong manner, a manner which tramples on the HUMAN RIGHTS of defenseless young children. In this context..any lofty ideals or sentiments he may hold about his region of habitation and how it relates to his actions is negated and should leave his actions to be seen as abhorrent to the audience of the world! Sincerely, A World Citizen – Free of Man Made Borders!

    • Bar says:

      No matter what people say about this campaign good or bad they cant hide the fact that what they have done is caught the worlds attention to Kony and his atrocities and thats what they set out to accomplish

      • America is not the world!

      • Stephen says:

        Congrats, excellent geographic accuracy here, Ojay. Notwithstanding, the world is becoming aware of this through THE ENTIRE F-ING INTERNET. I have friends in the UK, France, Spain, Sweden, Japan, Hong Kong and various SA countries who have been made aware of this and have reposted via FB/Twitter. Assuming those I know are not the only ones online or seeing this in these areas (and the rest of the world), this knowledge is spreading. Again, entirely the point of this campaign and IC as a whole.

      • Rach says:

        America is not the only place to have facebook… just saying.

      • Tenz says:

        More than America is talking about this…?

      • Heidi says:

        Hey Ojay – I’m not from America…I’m from Canada and this video caught my attention and the attention of many other Canadians. And I’ve seen posts from all over the world on this issue. Our government is being approached by its citizens too…what makes you think America is the only country being reached here? You BET this campaign is global…which is what the video set out to do – raise global awareness. Human rights issues should transcend borders…don’t you think?

      • Shane says:

        ^ You’ll be interested to note then, “Ojay”, that I’m not American (Not only am I not, but I’m also READING UP on the “Kony question” steadily), and neither are the majority of people I have contact with who are also reacting to this issue – The awareness is in fact spreading all over the 1st World countries dotted across the planet. So please, don’t be so quick to put down others when you yourself do not seem to be as informed as you’d like to appear.

    • Fiona Edelstein says:

      You pride yourself on NOT watching the full video and comment now……????? Obvoiusly short on your own opinion.

    • Erica says:

      Kony is using CHILDREN as soilders and sex slaves, who gives a damn about his goals he needs to be stopped and these kids need to be helped.

    • Kara says:

      Have you taken the time to see Invisible Children’s official response?

    • Justathought says:

      If you are going to decide that you disagree and take a stance as a critic I think you should at least finish the video.

    • Amy says:

      I don’t think it’s fair to make judgements on the video if you didn’t even watch the whole thing. You gotta give it a chance before you rate it, you know? And later in the video they do mentions Kony’s goals (which was really none but to selfishly and violently promote his own power).

    • Was I the only mom who was disturbed by the narrator’s discussions of a “bad man who kidnaps children and makes them kill people” that he had with his four year old son? This just seems really inappropriate. Check out all of my thoughts about it on http://www.themommypsychologist.com

    • Zack says:

      But guys, I changed my profile picture, isn’t that enough?

      On a serious note, anyone who actually gave a crap about things occurring in other countries knew about this subject. I mean, Invisible Children itself is certainly nothing new. While their heart is in the right place, I agree with Mr. Kersten, a viral campaign to make the guy more famous so that more people actually know about him so hopefully something will change is both ineffective and incredibly passive.
      What difference are you making? Did you volunteer your time or money? At least that’s ‘something,’ instead you made snide comments about how anyone who could be critical of the Kony campaign was a stone cold monster.

      • Marcie says:

        I do “give a crap about things occuring in other countries”. Im 50 years old, have lived in 6 countries across asia and europe and all over the US in the time that Kony has been commiting these atrocities (I think we can all agree on that?) and I never associated him with the “child soldier” stories that get throw out in a rare news feed. I’ve never heard of Invisible Children til now. Now I know, my four children know, thier friends know, my extended family know, my friends all over the world know, and so on and so on. He IS more famous and something has changed. I learned of this campaign first from a FB post from my 14 year old son’s friend from Australia who now lives in the US. I didn’t watch as I was a bit skeptical, despite her plea for everyone to view (I’d call that my old age induced conspiracy theorist coming through, but obviously not!) That evening my son posted it, and the next day his 20 yo brother watched and Made me and his sister sit down and watch, despite the need to pay bills, make dinner, do homework, etc. So far, in less than the 48 hours since first being alerted to this campaign I would call what’s happening quite effective and certainly not passive – I’m responding, you’re responding, we’re all paying attention and that Was the point of it all I believe. I wish we all knew of this story sooner, never mind the reasons why not everyone had, but at least now Many more people do and if nothing else, that action has been effective and active.

    • Alex says:

      if you were listening, it tells you that Kony doesn’t really have a purpose. also if you were to read up on it, you’ll find that Kony’s original goal was to make Uganda a perdominantly Christian society by killing everyone who wasn’t Christian.

    • Dave says:

      I think one needs to consider that probably all the comments made here, are made by people who don’t live in Africa.
      Africa is very very different from America and the rest of the world. Globally no one really cares what happens in Africa. It’s the same old story year in and year out….dictatorships, bribery and corruption, famine, etc….it never changes or gets any better.
      So I applaud this effort to bring things like this to the attention of the rest of the world, I don’t care how the video was structured or whether his kid featured more than the Ugandan children. He was making a point, and that point was, “what if it was your kids being abducted.”
      In Africa, life is cheap. People get murdered for cell phones for heavens sake!
      Dictators carry on behaving as they like, because they can. The rest of the world simply turns a blind eye to half of what happens in Africa, because it’s too much hassle.
      I don’t have a solution to Africa’s demise, but surely if real international pressure was brought to bare on such Regimes, it can only help improve the situation.
      But then again maybe I am a bit naive.
      Oh well, that’s my ten cents worth from the Southern tip of Africa.

    • Alex says:

      @Jin : I do not see any suggestions of making this world better in your response. There are three possible outcomes that you cannot completely deny that will result from the promotion video. 1) It helps 2) It does nothing 3) It makes things worse. In my eyes, there is a very tiny chance that it will make things worse when I look at all the benefits that come out of it, and unless you can come up with reasons and proof how it could make things worse, it either helps, or does nothing. Now, those don’t seem like bad odds to me. Even if there is a 10% chance of helping, that is doing a lot. In my eyes, there is more than a 10% chance in helping because of all the doors it opens.
      1) A lot of people don’t know about THIS problem, PERHAPS somebody in a position to help can now do so
      2) NOTHING can be done if no one is aware, why do NOTHING instead of raising awareness? (increases chances of SOMETHING getting done)
      3) I believe that reminding people of good and showing people good, makes more good. After I saw this video, I wanted to do something good for somebody. In my heart, I wanted to help those kids, but in REALITY, all I had time for was a like on the video. pretty pathetic right? BUT since humans are good at projecting feelings, I did good for people in my little corner of the world BECAUSE of that video…good…like a virus.
      4) This video’s objective seems to be to save those kids, but maybe we’re missing the point. Maybe it’s just to do something good. If people start seeing tons of videos about the horrible things in the world, MAYBE they’ll try to stop something on a smaller scale around them.

      This video cannot cause any harm. It only can cause good. Why don’t you open your GOSH DARN stubborn eyes and see this? The only reason someone should be talking down on this video is because they thought of a better way to help someone and this video is taking resources from their method.

      Stop with the hate

      • Conlan says:

        I got an idea, how bout instead of just liking a goddamn video, how about we travel to africa, and actually DO SOMETHING! Maybe build some goddamn schools, or build some goddamn wells.

  2. Pingback: A reader's digest of KONY 2012 | whydev.org

  3. Brittany says:

    Mark, while your post reflects a lot of fair concerns about the campaign, don’t you think you’re placing a little too much pressure on the campaign itself? As a former human rights masters student from UCL who is very much aware of the realities of conflict resolution, I think this campaign has the potential for a lot of good that you are not focusing on. Firstly, the mere fact that you have responded to this campaign and it is being discussed in a mainstream popular format has the potential of creating domestic pressure in the United States and elsewhere that did not previously exist on the situation. Secondly, why should the people at KONY 2012 be responsible for orchestrating the entire peaceful resolution of the LRA’s mess? This is where the international human rights community is supposed to step in and compliment the efforts. Your pessimistic approach preaches the notion that if you’re not taking the exact right measures then you shouldn’t take any at all. But what kind of a message is that? And nothing exists in a vacuum, academics and policymakers can sit in a room and speculate as to what the exact right approach is but there will always be fallout and there will always be error. I understand your points completely, but in the greater scheme of things, it’s a good thing that Invisible Children has taken a step forward. Taking out Kony will not resolve the issue altogether, but it will send a message to other members of the LRA that the international community is willing to step in.

    • Helena says:

      Brittany, your comment summarizes perfectly everything that is wrong with this article. Well said!

      • Amy says:

        I totally agree Brittany, well said! Something is always better to do than nothing….what a stupid thing to say in regards to this video raising awareness!

      • Birdy says:

        I totally agree Brittany! Kony may be popular in Africa, the way the article suggests, but in America? I would wager that if I asked the next 30 people I saw if they knew who Kony was, they would have no idea. It’s great Invisible Children are taking a step to educate people who have no idea about issues outside of their own back yard.

      • I agree with Brittany and at the same time support Mark’s original article. As an East African, I cannot tell you how many elements of the campaign are disrespectful and completely miss the mark of the reality of conflict in our region.
        As an East AFrican, I do not see this campaign as being at all about us-but instead about the experiences and movements of American youth and their quest to spread information in a format which speaks to them.
        Kony2012 has made us voiceless in our own quest for peace and justice.

        So yes, the campaign is good, but it is not ALL good.

        Amy- I have to disagree Something is not always better than nothing. Westerners cause alot of harm in the way they perceive, represent and negotiate with “the other” in this case northern Ugandans. So No, I don’t want to cause a conflict with you, but I have to use my voice and say as an African, not ANYTHING you will do “for me” will be better than nothing.

      • Peter says:

        God Damn young Americans! Ur keep getting it wrong. Killing Koni that dosn’t fix the problem. Most of you guys commenting here probably havn´t even been to Uganda and you dont get the complexity of this situation. During the fighting Koni was evil! But the UPDF (ugandan army) was just as mean. The Acholi was like a lice between two nails. As you know the victors write the history. President Museveni of uganda (1986-present) has committed many atrocities (check up on the recently proposed law on homosexuals) he is the real problem in Uganda now! It wouldn’t surprise me if they didn´t cach Koni. LRA masters bush warfare to perfection and he is only hiding in an area the size of europe covered by dense bush and rain forrest. AFRICAN (NOT AMERICAN) SOLUTIONS TO AFRICAN PROBLEMS!

      • Amy says:

        So as an African you think we should all do nothing to help the situation and leave your innocent people to be slaughtered, raped, kidnapped?

        And ANYTHING that is done is worse than doing nothing?
        So building schools and sending Aid and medical supplies is not a good thing for you or your country?

      • Sofie says:

        At Amy. He is not saying that America and its people shouldnt do anything, but that they should be aware that Africa has a different history and culture than America, and that we have to be aware of what we are doing there.

      • Brittany says:

        Thanks everyone for all of the comments and kind words! Mark, your blog posts certain know how to get feedback!

    • Amy says:

      I agree totally! And doing something is better than doing nothing! What a stupid thing to say!

      • sinn1sl0ken says:

        Well… the international community HAS been doing something about this for years. Arrest warrants were issued for the top 5 members of the LRA for crimes against humanity in 2005 (the first warrants of their kind from the ICC), Interpol released notices of their own regarding the subject, and according to this article (http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/05/15/hard-target.html) a covert military operation has already been launched in the past with US support with the aim of explicitly killing Kony. As much as I appreciate the use of social media to notice a crisis in another country, I do worry about the motivations of this campaign in particular.

      • @Sinn,

        The point is… we the prolitariat, and I include myself here, were asleep at the wheel, we weren’t paying attention. This video by Invisible Children woke us up. Good job to them. Well played.

      • Diego says:

        @Shonna Really? You never heard of African child soldiers? I think all this did was put a face to that situation.

      • Nitha Karanja says:

        I agree with Brittany and at the same time support Mark’s original article. As an East African, I cannot tell you how many elements of the campaign are disrespectful and completely miss the mark of the reality of conflict in our region.
        As an East AFrican, I do not see this campaign as being at all about us-but instead about the experiences and movements of American youth and their quest to spread information in a format which speaks to them.
        Kony2012 has made us voiceless in our own quest for peace and justice.

        So yes, the campaign is good, but it is not ALL good.

        Amy- I have to disagree Something is not always better than nothing. Westerners cause alot of harm in the way they perceive, represent and negotiate with “the other” in this case northern Ugandans. So No, I don’t want to cause a conflict with you, but I have to use my voice and say as an African, not ANYTHING you will do “for me” will be better than nothing.

      • Brittany says:

        Hey Amy, thanks for the support! I do have to say though that I disagree to a certain extent with what you have said.

        Doing something is not always better than doing nothing. In fact, it can do a lot more harm than good. This has a lot to do with why a lot of concerned people are reacting so strongly to this campaign. I think the issues Mark and others have raised are fair concerns, but my only hope is that they cultivate those concerns in a positive direction and contribute, as oppose to just criticize. The wheels are already in motion on this, the visibility for the situation is now there in a way that did not exist before, coinciding with a pivotal international player’s election year. At this point, I see the KONY 2012 initiative as being positive and I hope that those who have the knowledge sets to contribute in a real way take a step forward and get involved.

    • alisonktj says:

      I agree completely!

    • Kangyu says:

      Yes, this is a great reply to the article written.

      “Your pessimistic approach preaches the notion that if you’re not taking the exact right measures then you shouldn’t take any at all. But what kind of a message is that?”

      As long as we are taking steps forward, all members of Kony 2012 should be proud of ourselves. We should rejoice that youths today are unleashing their potential for a good cause. We care, and we want to help. Money is not everything. We can donate whatever little we have. We have to make this world a better place after all the atrocities we have done.

      • Bar says:

        Kangyu i agree i’m more impressed with the fact that all these young people around the world are banding together and showing compassion for a cause that they believe in maybe its the wright thing maybe its not but they think it is and thats good enough for me these young people are the future of tomorrow they want to be heard and they are being heard whoever didn’t know about Kony and the atrocities he committed in Africa they know about it now

    • I think the point of this article wasn’t to demand that Kony 2012 adjusts their goals, but to make us, the reader, aware of a wider picture of the situation.

      • Joshua Thomas says:


      • @ Joshua and Amy… Hey guys… I think that this blog has a fantastic point and it is good to keep in mind the agenda of the campaign and whether it is sensible or not… But – I applaud Invisible Children for this very clever marketing campaign that has so many more people thinking about this today than probably for the past 5 years! I’m not sure that the guys here should criticise when the campaign is in it’s infancy. I wonder if they would work with Invisible Children to ensure the campaign is targeted in the right direction? If they could do that, I think it would be much more meaningful.

      • Loretta says:

        Kony 2012 didn’t have to make anyone aware of the “wider picture of the situation”. By simply watching the video, our interest was sparked enough to bring us to this article.

        The video was brilliant in the fact that it DIDN’T have too much information. It stuck with basic ideas that are easy for anyone to follow, regadless of age or education level.

      • Mark Kersten says:

        Thanks very much Amy! Indeed, the point of this post (and this entire blog) is to be a forum where we can debate these issues and the authors can share their own understanding and knowledge about the topics. Thank you for understanding and saying it.

    • jbomb says:

      Helena, I applaud your articulate and insightful response. Everything, good or bad, should be critically evaluated as long as a choice/action is made from knowing as much as you can. No campaign, no cause, no issue, no movement is perfect.

    • Kirsten says:

      I definitely agree! When I was reading this article, I couldn’t help but think Inivisible Children isn’t the be all-end all and that they probably know themselves that they cannot fix all of the problems with the LRA and Africa. But the important thing is they are using social media to spread the word about something that has been flying under the radar for so long. I was someone who knew nothing about Kony, and now I do. And because I am compassionate, I want to contribute in some way. I think that is the most powerful thing: getting individuals to want to do something about it.

    • Geraldine says:

      Agreed! Well said!

    • MARQUISE says:


    • That guy you don't know. says:

      My biggest issue with this organization’s approach, sending in the military to take this man down, is, well, who do you think the military will have to go through to get to him and other leaders? Many of the children this organization claims to want to save will die in the fight. Add that to the fact that military intervention has been tried before,has failed, and has only caused more suffering on part of the Ugandan people, and I really think the last thing we need is to send troops in to stop this.

      • Alex Holmann says:

        breaking the willpower of children is a lot easier than breaking the willpower of a trained soldier. It will not be a war, it will be a few weeks of a guerrilla campaign before Kony simply runs because no child, of any background, would fight. a military who is trying to save them. there are points in history when military action is necessary. Warrants of arrest don’t mean anything without any actual follow up. Do you think when international criminals find out that they have an arrest warrant out they just walk to the ICC and turn themselves in? If the LRA and specifically Kony isn’t stopped then more people will be hurt in the long run than if we stop it now. Beyond the immediate repercussions of this fight however, is the fact that if Kony is stopped, then it will be the first time in American history when the country went to war because of what the people BELIEVED instead of something that directly effects us. The day Kony is stopped by an international coalition of like minded citizens will be a great day for humanity and people need to realize that.

      • Conlan says:

        But what if the children don’t break? These kids have committed atrocities on a scale, if the military come in I think they will fight like any other, because, they’ve already been broken, by kony.

    • “Your pessimistic approach preaches the notion that if you’re not taking the exact right measures then you shouldn’t take any at all.”
      I fail to see at what point this viewpoint is expressed.
      I find it incredibly problematic that SO often when a critical eye is applied to a social good campaign of any sort, that critique is shunned as an attempt to derail the entire movement. I find it incredibly problematic that SO many think it’s perfectly acceptable to put the faults of a movement on the back burner because of how much good it has the potential to do. Providing a critical response does not undermine the potential for good of a movement; on the contrary, such a response provides a platform for bettering the movement, refining the approaches taken and producing more good.

      The voices stating the amount of social good that can be achieved via this campaign are PLENTIFUL, and are far from absent in this post as well. This post is providing a different, much more rare, and equally valuable analysis of this campaign. To denounce it all as damaging, throw it all away, and imply that this type of critique should be silenced, for the better of the movement, and to even shame the author as actively going against the production of social good (I don’t think you went that far, but your tone was leading toward this, and the follow-up comments fall in of very close to this vein as well) is incredibly problematic. We can talk about the problems without undermining the campaign, and this author, though maybe not in the most graceful of manners, does accomplish that.

      • Rach G says:

        YES! I’m always so scared about folks drumming up energy in a group of people who reject information as invalid simply because it doesn’t support whatever they’d like to believe. You get a group of ignorant people riled up with half-pictures and then unleash them… it will always be a problem. Responsible movements should be upfront about the situation, facts, etc, and still be able to organize and inspire their base. I’ve read a few of critiques of the #Kony2012 campaign and believe they all made valid points… and I still recognize the good intentions and the accomplishment of raised awareness. But if all of these people are now aware, but rejecting further information or education about the issue, what have we really accomplished? We’re pretty good at getting people perched on those righteous high horses, but we have failed to adequately educate folks about complex issues. I will be impressed with a movement when they can convince their followers to be well-educated about the issue – this requires a little more energy or work than I think many are willing to give.

      • Person says:

        Yes, thank you.

      • Bar says:

        Alex Holmann well said mate i believe your views are spot on

      • Stef says:

        Thank gosh for a forum such as this which allows those of us who don’t blithely believe something just because it’s an emotional issue portrayed by effective filmmaking, but who, instead, choose to delve further before being led by a very effective film. Similar to some religious folks who don’t have the drive to look into why they believe what they believe, we all need to be more responsible in our efforts to “believe” anything without doing the homework required to find out whether it deserves our attention. For, against, or somewhere between in your beliefs about the sensationalistic film we all viewed yesterday, we need to know who it is we support.

        I believe in human rights above all others, and use my vote accordingly. I am a U.S. citizen, living in a country whose very existence relies on its belief in its “god given” sovereignty. People from other places — people as worthy as any American — do not necessarily think as highly of “us” as we think of ourselves. We have to take into account what “they” see as helpful in their times of need, and not try to colonize them, as we have been known to do.

        I’ll buy a kit when CNN, et al, after using their immense resources, has vetted the information and tell us what they think. I’ll buy one for everyone in my family, once I know that the money I send ($30 a pop) is paying to help Africans and not just financing lots of young adults vacations to that continent so that they can feel like they are helping accomplish something. I would LOVE to go, but it wouldn’t dawn on me to get money from people without telling them how it will be spent.

        I have read some stuff today about the possibility that there is oil in Uganda, and that passage of the bill supported by IC will enable our nation’s leaders to go there and fight, for their right (as usual) to it, under the guise of helping Ugandans, Sudanese, etc. Sound at all familiar? At all?

    • LastOfThePrimes says:

      Brittany… Excellently, and eloquently said. Kudos and God Bless.

    • gep91 says:

      Completely agree!

    • Toth says:

      ” Your pessimistic approach preaches the notion that if you’re not taking the exact right measures then you shouldn’t take any at all. ” I think he is referring to the fact that you shouldn’t make some form of attack unless you know you are going to succeed. Otherwise why bother just to fail? How do you stop a man with nothing to lose? Wouldn’t you think if this Rebel leader is in power still because someone wants him in power? Why doesn’t Africa’s Military take him out themselves? Is it really up to us westerners to ride in on a white horse to save the humanitarian day? We cannot possibly fathom the Civil War that is going on there as we preach from our computers, either here, facebook or youtube. You do not fight an enemy with an Ad campaign. You fight an enemy with deception, however in this case the enemy cares NOTHING for human life, therefore he deserves only death. He must be defeated by the sword. And then, even THEN, these people must be wiling to sustain this battle because they will surely become The Western Faction of Rebels combating Ugandan rebels, among the governance of Africa, that sounds like it will go over real will. The war will stop when everyone is dead for Kony or he has no more people to kidnap. All the while the world burns and our GOP candidates debate contraception amid a 15 trillion dollar debt crisis. YOU WANT KONY DEAD, I suggest you take up assassination and marksman training.

    • jason says:

      brittany walsh?

    • Bob says:

      Amen Brittany! Children are being kidnapped, mutilated, raped and killed.

    • Kasey says:

      This is the PERFECT reply. Thank you.

    • Mark Kersten says:

      Many thanks for this comment, Brittany.

      It may be that my post has focused more on critique than highlighting positive elements in the Kony 2012 campaign (although I make a point to do so in the post). But this is, in the end, a critique – a reaction to what I thought the problems were the the film itself. I agree with you that there is something fundamentally good about starting the debate and discussion. I’d like to reiterate that this blog is intended to contribute to these types of debates by offering analyses and critiques. It’s place to start and continue debates. That being said, I haven’t said that unless they get it “exactly” right it is better to do nothing at all – although some have suggested just that. It’s impossible to get any intervention 100% right – but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to get it mostly or entirely wrong, either.

      • Cheri says:

        Thanks, Mark, for bringing some very important pieces of this disturbing puzzle to light. Those of us who actually read your article understand that you believe in educating ourselves about the world and its issues. You also believe that if there is to be any progress, we have to get our facts straight. It’s awesome to be passionate. It’s terrifying to be passionate about something when we don’t know the whole truth. Hopefully, the campaign and your article will encourage many people to investigate what’s really happening in Uganda.

        Also, Ojay is Ojay… I agree with everything you said. Thanks for chiming in.

    • Janenne says:

      I am with Brittany. Also, the article says that everyone knows who Kony is but I didn’t and neither did my kids. Awareness is only a step but it is the first step as no one can do anything about what they don’t know is happening. Kony 2012 is fulfilling the purpose it has set out for right now, they can change in a few months again and again.

    • Melanie says:

      Well said Brittany!!!!

    • Rey says:

      Well said Brittany…thanks so much! I hope more people see this issue in that light…standing by in paralysis due to speculation is no path to walk when seeking CHANGE!!!

    • Do tell, what are the implications of such a public campaign to the victims/those still under Kony’s control? What are the implications of it and how does it affect the peace process? Why are people ignoring the fruits of the peace process and the major triumphs it has made? America doesn’t have solutions to every problem in the world and neither is it welcome to interfere with problems which are being solved.
      Invisible Children is also making a lot of money from this campaign; a casual search about how they spend their money will reveal a lot about their obvious true motive. Again, just because 99.999..% of you only heard this story today doesn’t make you experts. Only ignorant people are wont to buy the military intervention idea being peddled by a “charity” organization. As a former masters student I’m sure you’re well equipped to further research the complexity of this conflict and the organization that the LRA is. Then you’ll see how ridiculous it is to expect the arrest of Kony to be the end of the atrocities. I’m sure you’ll be surprised to find out who funds the LRA.
      Lastly, do you expect people to sit by while an obviously gullible public is misinformed and information misrepresented? Even you seem to not have a grasp of this issue. I welcome your informed thoughts.

    • Stef says:

      complement, not compliment, Britt….

    • Brittney. Your comment perfectly summed up everything I was feeling. Invisible Children’s aims are to raise awareness about the issue. It is doing exactly that. These are young people with a voice who are making things happen! They’re plans may be flawed, and in they’ve simplified the internal conflict in Uganda. But if anyone wants to question their motives, that’s plain silly squash!. They made people wake up in America. You’ve noted that America is NOT the world. True. That’s why this is just the beginning. This will spread. ! But only if we the public hold on to our fervor and do not let this issue fade away

      • Georgia says:

        Im with Brittney – eloquent and articulate. Sure there are flaws in IC but the awareness – the intent of the campaign – they are bringing to the WORLD about Kony (in a relative short space of time) is to be applauded. Knowledge is power. Now that so many people know about this situation can they still stand by and do nothing? Some may, but I get the sense, from this blog that the majority of people want to do something. So now, with this awareness, it is time for people to do their research and educate themselves on Kony, and then act as they see fit for them.

        This movement is about compassion and caring – someone was affected by what they saw and they decided to act. Simple really. Although the answer “stopping Kony” is not that simple and nor will it be as it involves politics, people, emotions, differing views and opinions (so many just on this blog alone), but I don’t see that as an excuse to sit idle either and point out what is flawed in an attempt to help innocent children.

        Mark, your information seems very good and thorough, it would be wonderful for you to use it to assist IC instead of pointing out their flaws. Are you in correspondence with them at all?

    • colette says:

      perfectly. said.

    • Adam says:

      Killing Kony won’t fix anything. It will do nothing but enrage the LRA, they are a religion based group. You have to kill the idea if you want to dismantle them. I see people all over here saying how it was a good thing Osama Bin Laden was stopped, but they don’t see beyond him. Al-Qaeda (also religion based) is still well and alive, Osama was not the single cause of their evil. Also i find it funny how Kony has been on the political agenda in the United States since 2011 and on many other countries agenda’s for over the last decade. Just because a large sum of the ignorant population haven’t heard of Kony before doesn’t mean the important people who actually can make a difference haven’t.

      Almost every single first world country at one point in time had civil war, United States included. Uganda has had civil war going on for a long time and right when the war starts dying down and peace starts settling in 100 million North Americans start screaming to have more war waged in their land. That’s the unsettling part.

      The awareness is fine, it is getting Africa attention that it needs. Not for more war and death, but for support with malnutrition, education etc. Money is in much better hands with an organization such as the Red Cross.

      Ultimately the choice should be the Ugandans. If letting Kony live is means to an end to finally have peace in their land. We should have no say what so ever. If they want to continue war and attempt to kill him and the LRA, it should also be their choice. There was a sampling error in their video and i feel in no way shape or form did they correctly portray what the population truly thought and believed.

    • James says:

      100000% on point.

  4. Thomas says:

    Just a quick note that the only reason I’ve read this article is, in fact, the movement you criticise within… some irony for you. Some rebuttals: The video speaks of Kony’s “popularity” in the Western world, not Africa. The film clearly states that the rebels have moved out of Uganda and the fact that Kony isn’t the only criminal here doesn’t change the fact that . Yes, it would be nice if the story wasn’t overly simplified in the viral video, and perhaps it sacrifices depth for effectiveness of the message; but hey, if this viral campaign does what we both think it will do (or even if it doesn’t), we can safely say Invisible Children have accomplished something, unlike your blog post. (Not one of those people cheering in the streets when Osama was killed, btw)

    • A guy using his brain says:

      “we can safely say Invisible Children have accomplished something, unlike your blog post”

      Yes, it deceived stupid people. Bravo, I guess?

      • Dan says:

        “A guy using his brain” – what a brilliant point. I mean, you didn’t actually respond to any points Thomas made, instead attempting to prove how right you are through cynicism and condescension. Use your brain to explain your views rather than using rudeness as a battering ram.

      • anaan says:

        please tell me more about how much smarter you are than all those ~other people~.

      • WADE says:

        Im sorry that you view me as stupid. But after sitting face to face listening to the shaky voice of a Ugandan girl as she tried to explain all of the horrible things that she and her family have been through because of the LRA, I believe I have some pretty solid ground to stand on. It sounds like all you have to stand on is a horrible outlook on life.

      • Sofie says:

        I guess what you mean is that this blog post has in fact accomplished something, as it is raising awareness, and more than anything encouraging everyone to think critically about what is presented to us on a day-to-day basis.

    • Jerry says:

      The capture of Joseph will happen, sooner or later. He is being already chased. Invisible Children, in my opinion, is not going to be the decisive factor in the capture of Mr. Joe, so the campaign is pretty much useless but only in one point: giving attention to the obviously attention whory film makers. Using his own son for cheap emotional manipulation. I really, really feel disgusted to see that the first thing you see when looking at the description of the video is “buy! buy! buy!” “donate! donate! donate!”.

      • Bar says:

        Jerry your got it all wrong the campaign is designed to put pressure on the governments to try harder in capturing him and along the way raise money to help the people affected by his atrocities your views are way out there

      • James says:

        there are positive people in the world then there are negative Jerry’s. Think about what this guy experience and witnessed. He’s doing everything he can in his power to make a difference. hell yes i’ll buy buy buy and donate donate donate if it’s for a good cause…Raping children and forcing them to kill seems like a good cause to me. It seems hmmm how should I put it WRONG?? And the reason it had been on CNN and didn’t become a big deal is because most of Facebook is populated by people that don’t watch CNN, youthful people. By throwing this video up on youtube and Facebook it’s going to get through to those people where it normally wouldn’t have. We can’t push a magic button action has to be taken and making it known and spreading the word is the best way to start.

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  6. Ryan says:

    A very thought provoking and interesting piece. As one of the ones who had literally never heard of Kony before Kony 2012, sad perhaps, and not someone who was in the streets when Bin Laden was killed, I think this movement is too important to write off as some misdirected self aggrandizing propaganda machine. While, yes, the overall issue at hand is, necessarily, oversimplified, I think if you check some of the reactions to the tweets out there you will find that far fewer people were aware of who Kony is and what he has done before Kony 2012. So to that end I have to say that Kony 2012 is doing exactly what it set out to do. Raise awareness!

    In this age of instant gratification and 140 character communication, important issues often must be oversimplified in order to reach the masses. Many are even saying the 28 minute piece released is “too long.” I agree it is a complex and multi-faceted issue that must be dealt with on multiple levels and in an ongoing, sophisticated way. But without awareness there can be no solution whatsoever, so for that I praise the Kony 2012 movement.

    Additionally, as another poster mentioned, the Kony 2012 movement led me to this page where I can learn even more of the situation as well as other pages with additional information. These are all good things and help to start and nurture a true multi-national, informed dialogue without the political posturing that too often accompanies these all too important discussions. Education can only occur after awareness.

    • Kirstie says:

      Fantastic point. I think that on a superficial level, it’s great that the Kony 2012 campaign has presumably done what it primarily intended to – raise awareness. I went to bed last night after checking facebook and there were about 4 people who’d posted the video. I then forced myself to sit through the first agonising 5 minutes and then the full 27/8 minutes of the Kony 2012 film this afternoon, by which time about 15 people had mentioned the video on facebook/twitter/tumblr. Word is clearly getting out, and while I’d guess that about 5% (maybe even less) of those who watched the video will continue to do something about it, the majority – like me – will simply have observed and taken the information into account. After I watched it (and during) I remained quite cynical. While I certainly believe that human rights are one of (if not the most) valuable things in the world, I really despise the whole ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ concept with regards to charities/bad events. I think people are too quick to repost/reblog/share things like this, with the ‘ooh I care, look at me, I’m showing that I’m aware and that I’m a good person’ sort of mentality. Might just be me, but that’s my opinion.

      With regards to this article, I was directed here by a tweet by Neil Gaiman, and beforehand I read a link offered by Charlie Higson (retweeted by a friend) that offered an alternative view on the Kony 2012 campaign. I was very keen to see what other views people had on it and it’s made for very interesting reading – so for that, I thank you. Apologies if this is a bit rambly, I’m not very succinct!

      • Ryan says:

        Thanks Kirstie! I too was brought here by a tweet from Neil Gaiman. And I have been also retweeting and sharing all of the divergent viewpoints proffered by various folks. I do feel it is very important to offer up all of the facts surrounding an important human rights topic such as this.

        I do agree with you that most will not do anything further but like you said, the awareness is now there and I think that is extremely important as more people become aware, more people who actually do think for themselves and aren’t just jumping on the “look at me, I’m helping bandwagon” (and I agree there are MANY that do this) will do further research on sites like this and the others that Neil and others have offered links to and it can start a truly meaningful dialogue about the issue with those that DO have the power to actually come up with complex strategies and plans to assist with the issue.

        Knowledge is power. Education is the key. But awareness is the first step.

      • Very intelligent comment…. I completely agree and identify with everything you’ve just said. My hope is that this raises awareness on a global scale – I mean in all reality things just as terrible happen in our own country. Parents molest and murder their own children. Child prostitution is an ongoing problem. These tragedies are happening all over the world….

        I think you’re right… that additional, thorough research needs to be tackled before voicing an opinion or sharing information. That’s what the world needs more of… attention to detail, knowledge, joining forces, and carrying out action, not taking a stand on issues you can’t back up with any knowledge or understanding of.

    • Itzel says:

      I agree with you, Ryan. Education can only occur after awareness. The social networks will spread the message around the world wich is good. I too became aware of this man after watching “Kony 2012”. But I did not “just watch” the video.
      Doing a research brought me to this site. I agree with the points in this article as well. If we want to help, there are better ways to approach the cause than what IC proposes. (far better ways)
      If we can thank the Invisible Children for something that is global awareness.
      If someone wants to contribute to the cause then: a) Make a research, b) Raise awareness, c) Listen to different POVs and if possible d) Involve deeper on the matter. That is my opinion.

    • Siobhan says:

      I am in complete agreement in the aspect that “education can only occur after awareness”. The problem I have with the viral state of this campaign is that it is going to gain a blind following.
      Blind sheep are good for nothing but the satisfying warmth their wool will provide to those in charge who feel as if they’re doing some good.
      A blind following isn’t going to help.
      The video led me to look more into it, which led me to this post, which led me to other blogs, sites, and more information on the issue at hand. The sad thing is, most people aren’t going to put in that effort.
      They’re going to watch the video and take everything it says as 100% law and press the “Share” button. And in that respect, the video did what it intended, to raise awareness and it did a fantastic job.
      But I’m concerned that all it is doing is creating an unhealthy, bias, and not overly informed or useful awareness. And who is that going to help? Absolutely no one.

    • Mark Kersten says:

      Thanks very much for this reply, Ryan.

      The question worth asking is how oversimplified is too oversimplified? At what point is simplification – perhaps necessary for these types of campaigns – no longer justifiable? In my view, the video went beyond that threshold.

      I couldn’t agree more with you that “education can only occur after awareness” and, in this context, I am glad you took the time to read the post, watch the video and engage. Hopefully this blog and the many others can continue to debate these critical issues.

  7. Alex says:

    I did not cheer in the streets when Bin Laden was killed however I support the Inivisble Children campaign. While it may be simplistic it at least does something. Your arguments make a lot of sense and many of the people who support this campaign are and will remain ill-informed however, those who are more directly involved in stopping Kony are making the decisions. We are merely voicing the support. I read the article to see if I could be swayed to stop supporting the Kony 2012 movement, as for your goal of “Taking ‘Kony 2012’ Down a Notch,” in my mind you did not succeed.

    • DK says:

      Alex, well said. I read the article for the same reason – trying to find dissenting voices and see if I was swept up by the film. On the contrary, I found myself stronger in my belief that awareness does indeed lead to education and that the film, however flawed, accomplishes its goal. I for one am motivated to continue research and activism, promoting this beautifully made piece of art along the way.

    • Mark Kersten says:

      Alex – I respect that the post did not convince you and thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

    • Keshara says:

      I agree in that I too am trying to expand my mind and research everything that I can in order to educate myself on this thing that I apparently feel very strongly about. The film sparked something in me and I am grateful for that, and I still support Kony 2012, but I will also continue to look at all other views surrounding the campaign.
      Although there are indeed underlying issues on several levels that were not discussed in the video, I’m trying my best to primary focus on the positive at this point and just continue to raise awareness.

  8. Jess Hardy says:

    I am not a human rights activist, or even a University graduate. I certainly don’t pretend to know anything about politics or war in Africa. But I do know that when I watched this video, it moved something inside of me. It made me realise that if humans band together, then we can really try to make a difference in the world, instead of sitting back and feeling like it is all too hard. Sure, we might not solve every single problem, but at least we are sending out a message – we will not tolerate this. I felt so excited when I found out about this, and all the pessimistic backlash is just so irritating. It’s a proven fact that Kony is a murdering, torturing criminal, so what is the harm in exposing him?

    • Rachel M. says:

      Thank you so much because I feel so confused from all the backlash from this. There isn’t anything wrong with wanting to help, wanting to try.

      • Bar says:

        Rachel M don’t get confused about what other people are saying you only worry about how you feel about this there will always be negative people out there

    • Jin says:

      Criticising backlash concerning serious issues like this because ‘it made me feel so good! stop attacking something so wonderful!’ is actually a really good example of the issue here, though. The video feels like it was made to encourage everyone to give themselves a pat on the back for being enlighetend and wise and oh-so-charitable. Which, when you consider that it’s a video made by a white American about ‘saving’ Africa through US intervention, is really, really problematic because that kind of attitude is used to excuse paternalistic attitudes towards the continent all the time. It’s about the viewers’ feelings and desire to be progressive at least as much as it is the actual topic at hand, and that can be really harmful. It’s scarily common in this kind of stuff.

      I’m glad it moved you and made you feel good. But don’t let that get in the way of the actual cause itself, because surely that’s more important? And if this turns out to be a bad route to take to support the cause, is it really fair to say ‘yeah, but it just moved me so much’?

      • Jess Hardy says:

        Of course the cause is more important than my ‘feeling good’! I’m not that self indulgent. I still think that instead of cutting down the supporters, shouldn’t we all work together to come up with a good solution to this problem? Publicly exposing Kony, I feel was a step towards this

      • Tiffany says:

        I understand where the “white guilt!” and “cultural imperialism!” allegations are coming from, and I’m glad these issues are being brought up. However, what’s not being mentioned as much is that maybe people are just acknowledging their own privilege and hoping to leverage it and their resources and voices to contribute to an arguably worthy cause. I just don’t see why we have to view IC as a bunch of paternalistic young white people with this mission to “save” Africa with their awesome American white-ness.

      • Zee says:

        Yes, it was made by a white male, does that make it any less important? Really, what is your point?Would it make you feel better if it was made by an African American or an Asian? Also, just because some people wont do anything about it doesnt mean we should stop others who will.

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  11. Mark says:

    You did your research into the current situation in Uganda but you obviously know little to nothing about the efforts of Invisible Children. The fact of the matter is that Invisible Children has been supporting amnesty movements in Uganda and elsewhere for a long time. Their radio network not only provides warnings to locals of LRA activity but it sends messages to LRA members that they should return to their families and that they can leave the LRA freely. Also, you missed a ton of the other good work Invisible Children is doing like building schools, and giving children the chance to move on past the violence they have experienced, and sometimes, perpetrated.

    You are more guilty of a narrow, biased response to the situation in central Africa than the Kony 2012 video. At least the Kony 2012 video is situated in the context of years of great work by Invisible Children. It was obvious from the outset (namely: the deliberately misleading photo that you posted of the Invisible Children leaders) that this is nothing more than a smear campaign by a comfortable intellectual who would much rather think and discuss things rather than take the (always problematic and never perfect) action.

    I hope the damage you’ve done is tempered by your ineptitude to look past your considerable knowledge of central Africa. Next time do a little research into an organization before you tear them down.

    • Jin says:

      Well as someone who does know a little about it, my impression is that they’ve done a lot of good and a lot of bad, and that neither cancels out the other. The good they’ve done shouldn’t shield them from criticism for the bad.

      • Eric S says:

        Jin, please explain to me the “bad they have done”. As someone who was not aware of Kony or the other LRA leaders this has been eye opening. Yes I agree as with most the video is narrow in scope, but it has raised awareness. And from awareness comes education. I support Kony 2012 for this reason, it has started the wheels in motion. Now the issues can be researched and brought to public attention. Not everyone is as educated as you are about the whole picture. So instead of telling me that IC is bad tell me what it is they have done that is bad. Otherwise yours is just an opinion not based in any fact. If you, as a skeptic, want to change the minds of those of use who were moved by the video and the message it was trying to send, then give us some reasons. The fact is the video was made for a specific purpose, to inform the unaware public of the issue at hand. The video has made the public aware and is now encouraging discourse on the subject. Which in turn will allow the public at large to make an educated decision on where they stand on the subject. I applaud IC for their efforts. So since we are past the awareness phase and on to public discourse, please explain to me what negative or bad the Kony 2012 project or IC has done so I can make a more informed decision. Just saying they have done bad will do nothing for your arguement without some facts to back it up.

    • “comfortable intellectual[s] who would much rather think and discuss things rather than take the (always problematic and never perfect) action.”

      Ding ding ding! And this is exactly what it boils down to. Along with a little bit of righteous indignation that they’ve been ‘educated’ and ‘informed’ and are the ‘experts’ on the issue, and now all these wet-behind-the-ears ‘bandwagonists’ are DARING to care about the problem just because they watched a video on youtube. Even the title of this article speaks to some of what’s driving this backlash–‘taking kony 2012 down a notch’–, or like a comment I saw on another article: “what pisses me off about this is that everyone only cares about this because of some sexy viral video”.

      The criticisms of the KONY 2012 campaign having a neo-imperialist/paternalistic white-people-save the day slant are coming from the people on the Comfortable Intellectual side (which is not to say these criticisms are without basis in truth), but I think a lot of them fall victim to doing the same thing albeit in a different way–they’d rather posture in blogs and write essays that will shame IC or the scores of average people on FB who are sharing the video into looking dumb, so that they can have the self-satisfaction of putting them ‘back in their places’ instead of playing at being people who can change something in the world. They’d rather do that than roll up their own sleeves and join the effort–which would allow for the inclusion of their generally cogent critiques of the campaign in a way which would make the attempts at change and advocacy more effective. But I guess its more fun to be a cynic turning up your nose at the masses. Its the same type of thing that plagued the Occupy movement, or even the It Gets Better campaign. As you said, action is always problematic and never perfect–but the type of social media-based action that is built on creating awareness is ideally placed to mitigate those problems that plague ALL necessary types of action, if only some people wouldn’t find some sort of intellectually fuelled righteousness in beating down all such attempts with words rather than alternatives.

    • Crystal says:

      Well said Mark!!! Totally agree!!!!

  12. “Kony 2012” never said that they had a solution to this crisis. The campaign exists only as a means to garner support and raise awareness for the specific issue of the children in Uganda. Not, however, for the overarching and far more complex political issues the country faces.

    The statement by this author that few “DON’T” know about Joseph Kony is clearly unfounded. Sure, I’m positive that a majority of the legislative staff of this country are aware of the situation or has heard of his name. Look at the spread of this campaign through twitter and facebook. Things spread through these resources because of novelty to individual users. People do not typically post links that they have seen before. Most posts are after a user’s first time viewing. The large bulk of social media’s active users are teenagers and twentysomethings. For this demographic, the large majority do not know of the Kony situation. That is why this video is so important. Without videos like this one, young adults would largely not be informed of these stories because they do not make headlines very often in major media outlets. I would know, I work for the largest of them.

    He has good points, but this author is just out to write an article that will cheapen a campaign that has good intentions. The filmmakers are storytellers, not solution providers. Do not fault them for not providing what you would only expect of an entire governmental staff.

    • Michael Torelli says:

      “The filmmakers are storytellers, not solution providers. Do not fault them for not providing what you would only expect of an entire government staff.” – I agree, they are not solution providers, but they are storytellers, and there is a lot more to the story than people know. A storyteller, a news broadcaster, a public figure; anyone who reaches out and speaks to the masses with passion and authority, should encourage that people educate themselves further. Do not fault the author of this article for filling in the plot holes, as he does it so with some praise about these people doing good for people.

      I didn’t know who Kony was before last night. I’ll admit to ignorance, politics and world news are not my favorite topics. Politicians make promises they can’t keep, and the news that matters is never really told in full as is factual, if it is even covered at all. That is what I believe to a certain degree anyway.

      Having said that, these are my reactions to the Kony2012 movement. I watched the film, and it was touching that social media is uniting people globally in causes for humanitarian beliefs. This is a good thing, that has the potential to go horribly wrong if manipulated by the wrong people (but that’s a different thought all together). What I felt I watched was the story of a man who likes being on film and making films, who is grooming his son to be the same, and in a way, semi-exploited his youthful innocence to make a point… That point, loosely, is that children are fragile and impressionable, and if we don’t unite to keep the children of the world safe, educated, and loved, the world is in serious effing trouble. Furthermore, the story was about a promise to a young man with little hope that change would come, and it did. As I watched, I realized that the promise was fulfilled, that politicians were helping (because they’d look bad if they didn’t, probably), that influential Hollywood stars were backing the cause, and that there was now peace for these people. They still have their troubles, sure, but then where currently in the world isn’t there strife and injustice? I began to question if these people behind Kony 2012 were just perpetuating awareness for personal reasons, and then I thought that regardless of why they were doing it, I didn’t care, because people SHOULD know, and even having read this article I will still be supporting it. I’m not going to buy a kit, I may not even go out and put up posters, but I will spread the news along with any other articles like this one that give people a little more insight into something they’re going to be passionate about.

      In closing, I believe the important message that is prevalent here is that the people of the world now more than ever can raise their voices together and create change, and that in itself is going to create conflicts which we will all have the challenge of facing together.

      Please, be mindful of each other.

      • Mark Kersten says:

        Many thanks for the comments and discussion here. I would add that “telling the story” cannot be separated from the solution and getting the story right – or as right as possible – will affect the solution. In other words, the story or narrative defines what solutions we think are possible and appropriate. This is the context in which I view the Kony 2012 film. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment!

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  14. Dell says:

    I think you slightly lost the point. The point of making Joseph Kony popular is so that the Governement and influential world leaders would see the importance of capturing this man. If we as a people don’t care about what is happening, why should they – that is the whole point. Not just letting everyone know who he is. There are 100 US Soldiers already there, but if they don’t see the importance, they are ready to take them away, we need to make more noise. The video did move me and the film maker made a promise to a child who did not see why he should live.

    • LucrezaBorgia says:

      Kony isn’t a mysterious figure that international politics isn’t aware of. People have been reporting on the situation there since the 90’s and it was well known in early 2000 that Kony was kidnapping children. The problem is that the solution isn’t merely removing Kony and that there are serious problems in the region that are way more problematic than the LRA.

      • Tiffany says:

        You’re right – international politicians are well aware of who Joseph Kony is… It’s the general public that has/had no recognition of the name. My takeaway from the film was that it was all about getting the people, the mainstream media, the pop culture icons and influencers, etc. on board so that this big public outcry would create pressure on policy makers to address the issues at hand.

      • Mark Kersten says:

        Thanks for the comment LucrezaBorgia. I couldn’t agree more with you. To name two key problems and more pressing issues facing the people of northern Uganda: nodding disease and land-grabs.

  15. inter alia says:

    I agree that Kony 2012 is an oversimplification of a nuanced, difficult, and complicated story. That being said, overall I have to disagree. First, we have to recognize that this was a 30 minute video (already very long by social media measures) trying to disseminate a decades-long conflict to an audience that was largely unaware (I disagree with the author about the level of awareness in North America – step outside academia or the international NGO/development world, and I doubt you’ll come across many people with an understanding of the conflict or know Kony by name). And I agree that far too much time was spend with the producer’s son, but in all honestly, they may have done that because their target audience (North Americans) would find more to connect with (for better or worse). Also, to say that by affirming that Kony must be “stopped” is akin to saying he must be killed is a leap at best. Did the video not spend several minutes at points throughout talking to Ocampo? I would take that to suggest that they see him as a central figure in the solution, which he wouldn’t be if Kony were killed. And yes the Gov’t of Uganda is at fault as well and is certainly not a victim, but I don’t think the video makes them the “main beneficiary” in any way – very little time at all was spend talking about/with the government, and that was only to show minor figures suggesting that they want US help (i.e., this wouldn’t be an imposition of US force on an unwilling recipient, which people may be worried about). Additionally, simply because the LRA has moved to over regions doesn’t mean they have become less dangerous or horrible. Their presence in northern Uganda has decreased, which is wonderful for northern Ugandans – but not so great for people in the DRC, CAR, or South Sudan. His geographical location should not be the determining factor of whether or not there is a mass movement to bring him to justice. And finally, I agree completely that the Amnesty law is a vital and central component to long-lasting peace. But the video doesn’t dispute that either. For the child soldiers and even higher-ups in the command structure, that is likely the only solution that is tenable, given, like you said, the blurring of victim/oppressor. But when it comes to the man responsible for the entire conflict, I think it is simply too big to be dealt with on the same level as child soldiers – which is where the ICC comes in (also because, given the lack of moral high ground occupied by the government, it may be best for Kony to be tried by an impartial, international court). And yes, you are right about Kony 2012 giving no answer for what comes next. But I also don’t think that is the aim of the movement. It is about raising awareness about what has already happened, and forcing people to take notice in order to support efforts to capture Kony. Also, you can’t blame Kony 2012 for not providing those answers – no one has those answers. The next decade of reconciliation and “fixing” Uganda is going to be a gargantuan task that will require the efforts of Ugandan citizens, the government, development professionals, policy makers, academics, aid workers, consultants, legislators, ministers, you name it. Don’t expect a 30 minute video to provide those answers – it’s not that simple. Thus, overall, despite the simplifications, I think the end result of increased awareness is better to having a much smaller audience being intimately familiar with it.

  16. I agree that Kony 2012 is an oversimplification of a nuanced, difficult, and complicated story. That being said, overall I have to disagree. First, we have to recognize that this was a 30 minute video (already very long by social media measures) trying to disseminate a decades-long conflict to an audience that was largely unaware (I disagree with the author about the level of awareness in North America – step outside academia or the international NGO/development world, and I doubt you’ll come across many people with an understanding of the conflict or know Kony by name). And I agree that far too much time was spend with the producer’s son, but in all honestly, they may have done that because their target audience (North Americans) would find more to connect with (for better or worse). Also, to say that by affirming that Kony must be “stopped” is akin to saying he must be killed is a leap at best. Did the video not spend several minutes at points throughout talking to Ocampo? I would take that to suggest that they see him as a central figure in the solution, which he wouldn’t be if Kony were killed. And yes the Gov’t of Uganda is at fault as well and is certainly not a victim, but I don’t think the video makes them the “main beneficiary” in any way – very little time at all was spend talking about/with the government, and that was only to show minor figures suggesting that they want US help (i.e., this wouldn’t be an imposition of US force on an unwilling recipient, which people may be worried about). Additionally, simply because the LRA has moved to over regions doesn’t mean they have become less dangerous or horrible. Their presence in northern Uganda has decreased, which is wonderful for northern Ugandans – but not so great for people in the DRC, CAR, or South Sudan. His geographical location should not be the determining factor of whether or not there is a mass movement to bring him to justice. And finally, I agree completely that the Amnesty law is a vital and central component to long-lasting peace. But the video doesn’t dispute that either. For the child soldiers and even higher-ups in the command structure, that is likely the only solution that is tenable, given, like you said, the blurring of victim/oppressor. But when it comes to the man responsible for the entire conflict, I think it is simply too big to be dealt with on the same level as child soldiers – which is where the ICC comes in (also because, given the lack of moral high ground occupied by the government, it may be best for Kony to be tried by an impartial, international court). And yes, you are right about Kony 2012 giving no answer for what comes next. But I also don’t think that is the aim of the movement. It is about raising awareness about what has already happened, and forcing people to take notice in order to support efforts to capture Kony. Also, you can’t blame Kony 2012 for not providing those answers – no one has those answers. The next decade of reconciliation and “fixing” Uganda is going to be a gargantuan task that will require the efforts of Ugandan citizens, the government, development professionals, policy makers, academics, aid workers, consultants, legislators, ministers, you name it. Don’t expect a 30 minute video to provide those answers – it’s not that simple. Thus, overall, despite the simplifications, I think the end result of increased awareness is better to having a much smaller audience being intimately familiar with it.

    • Eric S says:

      This is an excellent and well spoken response. Thank you Laura for so clearly and concisely taking both point and counter point to formulate your response. I couldn’t agree with you more.

  17. Pingback: What “Kony 2012″ says about us | Elucubrate

  18. gallen says:

    Invisible Children is a propaganda campaign, pure and simple. The hallmark of propaganda is taking a complex idea and simplifying it until people who are not close to the idea can comprehend/agree with it. This is essentially what most advertising is.

    Saying that, I’m not sure that the Kony 2012 is a bad thing. Truly it whitewashes a very complex situation into “destroy a monster to save some kids” message. Destroying Kony is not going to save kids! Someone else will just pick up where he leaves off. The kids will still be in danger.

    But just maybe, this is a good thing.
    Item; the propaganda program Kony 2012 is aimed at a US audience, the first rule of publishing is “know thy audience.”
    Item; if you are going to run a gut level propaganda program, “destroy monster to save kids ” is not the worst one I can think of.
    item; If this works, perhaps it will send a message to people who support Kony and people who might replace him – “we will no longer tolerate such crap – stop it!” I think this is a better message a better message from the last superpower than “give us all of your oil/money.”

    • Garima says:

      Excellent articulation.

    • Chrissy says:

      WONDERFUL. I love your balanced and succint viewpoint. I’ve read many of the responses on here, and in all honesty, I believe yours is the best response and summary of the entire situation.

  19. Pingback: Mångbottnad historia bakom #Kony2012 | Bisonblog

  20. ABart says:

    Mr. Kersten — I appreciated seeing this article, as I was immediately skeptical after having woken up this morning with ‘Kony 2012′ all over my Facebook. I gained much from your perspective, but am frustrated by your stance, as another commenter phrased it, that no information is better than detailed and perfectly nuanced information in this case. After so many conflicts in the world we have said to ourselves, “why didn’t anyone do anything? why didn’t more people know about this?” This video helps us avoid this question AS this is happening, rather than years after.

    In my opinion, much of why the'”West’ acts the way it does toward African issues is a combination of racism and paternalism, both of which can begin to be combatted at the grassroots level through increased exposure to country- and region-specific issues (as opposed to ‘Just another African war/famine/genocide’). Yes, the video does not address the issue from a local perspective, which is important for those who already have exposure to the conflict; but it does have the potential to awaken many people to the terrible happenings in a place in the world that rarely flashes across the 6 o’clock news or the local paper.

    Mere simplified exposure to a critical global issue rarely leads us to the best course of action, but it is the necessary first step.

    • Mark Kersten says:

      Hi ABart – thanks for your thoughtful commentary. The problem with your point that “[t]his video helps us avoid this question AS this is happening, rather than years after” is that the LRA – and the wider context/conflict(s) in which they operate – is nothing new. The conflict between the Government of Uganda and the LRA, for example, dates back until around 1986. The question, I think, is how simplified is too simplified and is raising awareness for awareness sake really “the necessary first step”?

      • Jaimee says:

        This is exactly what I was thinking as I read through the article and all of the comments until this one. I agree with much of what you said in your article, but I became aware that as I was reading your article I was justifying a lot of it with ‘but at least it raises awareness’. So, is awareness really the first step? For a lot of charities it is. I sponsor a child through World Vision and 25% of my money doesn’t go directly to projects, it goes mainly to adversitising. But of course without advertising no one would know and no one would donate, and money is essential to almost everything they do. However this campaign seems different. They are not directly asking for money, and most people are not giving it – instead they are responding by raising even more awareness. Even if people are giving money, as yours and many other articles point out, it is questionable the use the the money is being put to. Instead one of their main goals seems to be raise awareness to put pressure on the American government (pressure which, as shown in the video, was already there) to send more troops, to achieve a solution which, in method and outcome, may not be as perfect as the hype suggests. With the video going viral and some much ‘awareness’ being created, more pressure will be put on the American government, and they will respond the other way they seem to know how: sending in more troops. Because of course the video isn’t raising awareness of the situation in Uganda and neighbouring countries – it is raising awareness of the Kony 2012 campaign, and a lot of people will follow it blindly. They will tweet/facebook/youtube spam the video and ‘paint the night’, and the government will act how they are being asked to act because people will campagin until they do. It is only through articles like yours that do raise awareness of the underlying issues that people will realise that now they have the ‘awareness’ of the situation, the most important thing is how they use it.

      • James says:

        Like ABart, it is a necessary first step, obviously you hope people do their research before dishing out donations in any situation. I think you are being to critical and somehow getting caught up in nit-picking when hours and hours of research would have to be done to fully understand the situation. To appeal and grasp the attention of the western world, sadly it’s gotta have drama and grab you…and get the point across quick. They knew this, and accomplished just that.

  21. TC says:

    You do have some good points, but I believe that Kony 2012 is doing a good job of what it set out to do. Just because Invisible Children want military intervention doesn’t mean governments or the UN will give them that, but because more people know about Kony, they will feel more obligated to stop Kony by some means, if not a direct approach. While the movement doesn’t offer a solution to the LRA, I think that Kony 2012 is showing a radical and fitting approach to stopping this monster and the terror he creates. I do agree with the lack of a voice from the North Ugandans though, I feel they have been missed out in the video.

  22. Pingback: Thoughts on Kony 2012 | The Common Vernacular

  23. Jin says:

    Great article. And I agree with a lot of it. When I first watched that video, a lot of it pinged my ‘wait a minute’ sensors; I felt really REALLY uncomfortable at how it was presented. A lot of people say, ‘well, it raises awareness, who cares how it’s done and who does it?’, but I think that’s a big mistake. Who gets a voice is important in how people’s awareness is raised and in what capacity they care. How it’s done informs how people care, too. Sure, now I could talk to someone on the street and expect them to know about Kony. But they wouldn’t know about it from the perspective of someone in Uganda, and they’d probably frame it as a brave white guy helping out ‘those Africans’. I feel like a big opportunity has been missed to try and tackle it from a much better angle than that. I mean sure, if the video didn’t exist a lot of people wouldn’t know or care about it and that’d be a shame. But if the video had been made better and more honest, people would have known and we wouldn’t have these issues pervading it.

    • anaan says:

      I’m not sure why we’re all expecting this one guy to do everything, and do it perfectly. For me, the video was simply a door that opened up to more opportunities to help. Of course it’s problematic. It’s made by a wealthy white dude. He’s using his privilege and social power to do what he can with what he can.

      I understand the complaints, and I thought about a lot of them when I was watching the video. I think it’s counterproductive to pick apart the movement rather than try to improve it.

      • Chrissy says:

        EXACTLY. How many people really DO understand the complexity of political issues like these? Very few. If he tried to do a more honest portrayal, it probably would have been lost on a lot of people. But in doing it in this fashion, (if you can bare with me here, for lack of a better word) more “simple”-minded people can at least know SOMETHING about it. Others that CAN understand will listen to the resulting in-depth discussions, learning more about the true complexity of the situation. Win-win.

        Now what is the problem again? What is the purpose of taking Kony2012 down a notch? I really don’t see it.

  24. thrutch says:

    I support any effort that will bring Kony to the ICC, he needs to be tried for his crimes. That is the message that I support in the Kony 2012. However the solutions you propose and even the fallacy of the Kony2012 media campaign is this. They are mostly western and mostly white people deciding to enact change on people in Africa. The video had no visibly speaking africans other than one boy who was guided into some of the things he said. Where was the black caucus, where were the asians, why was Wen Jiabo not in the list of influential ppl. It really feels like a cause that white people brought up to make white people feel that they are making a difference in the world so they can feel good about there whiteness and live their happy little lives and say they were once part of a movement.
    The best thing western countries can do is ensure your country is a member of the ICC, cause get what the USA ain’t. How big of a hypocrisy would it be for them to bring another person before it when they aren’t a member.

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  26. Rachelle M says:

    This post is very thought provoking. However, I too am one of those who had never heard of Kony or to what degree of brutality the crimes of LRA reach before I watched the viral video. I do not think that the goal of the Kony 2012 campaigners will be accomplished so simply, but the video does serve an important purpose and plays a significant role; step one is to raise awareness of the issue before we can even begin to discuss plans of action, let alone act upon them, and the Kony 2012 Campaign video does that very well. It is going to be a long process, but we have to start somewhere, and the mission of the Kony 2012 Campaign is a step in the right direction.

  27. WADE says:

    You are putting way too much focus into this one video. This video does not, in any way, represent Invisible Children in its entirety. Invisible Children’s amazing journey started fourteen years ago. It started off with three college-aged guys who found a problem in the world and wanted to fix it. You complain that this twenty-six minute film is leaving out information when in fact this video is only a small stepping stone on the long path that Invisible Children has been leading since 2006. There have been multiple videos that have been made (if you haven’t seen them, you need to) that portray the actual lives of the Ugandan people. So your going to tell me “the voices of northern Ugandans go almost completely unheard”? I think you need to do a little bit more research before you make such a bold statement. I am not ignorant. I realize that Invisible Children isn’t perfect. But your cynical, over analytical summation of what you think Invisible Children “is”, has just about as many holes in it as you claimed to find in Kony2012.

    • Jess Hardy says:

      Completely agree with this

    • Sarah says:

      Invisible Children is a charitable organization that is not audited by impartial observers by their own choice, that spent only 35% of their revenue on programming by their own admission, and that has repeatedly twisted the truth in order to gain supporters. They also always use language and methods that strip the agency of the Ugandans they say they are trying to help, something they are guilty of here again. They also have no African board members and no African officers or listed employees. Why is that? Why do they bring in Americans instead of employing the people whose stories they are using?

      • WADE says:

        Total Spent in 2011=$8,676,614
        Central Africa Programs= 37.14% ($3,303,228)
        Awareness programs= 25.98% ($2,310,488)
        Management and General= 16.24% ($1,444,567)
        Awareness Products= 9.58% ($850,050)
        Media and Film Creation= 7.87% ($699,617)
        Fundraising= 3.22% ($286,678)
        Im not sure if you know this but every crew that goes around putting on screenings at high school, colleges, churches, etc… has a Ugandan with them. I have seen several screenings and have heard them tell me their story. The story of how the LRA has affected them and their people. To me this is not just some movie that popped up on twitter yesterday. This is a story that I have been a part of for the past four years. So in stead of you reading slander and fallowing it blindly, how about you do some research. I’ve done my research. All of the lies that people are spreading about the IC made me start to doubt myself. I found reassurance in facts, not hearsay.

  28. Chelsea says:

    Appreciate what the article is trying to say, but let’s look back at history. One of the reasons the U.S and Britain didn’t intervene in the Holocaust was because no-one could decide on what should be done, and therefore no course of action was taken. At least Kony 2012 is attempting to do something. If we allow debate on whether their actions are right/wrong before taking action, Kony could be continuing his actions for another twenty years.

  29. Amanda Gould says:

    As far as your critique “It is hard to respect any documentary on northern Uganda where a five year-old white boy features more prominently than any northern Ugandan victim or survivor. Incredibly, with the exception of the adolescent northern Ugandan victim, Jacob, the voices of northern Ugandans go almost completely unheard.” cI think this is completely uncalled for.
    Invisible Children has made countless films telling the story of Ugandan children and their experience in the war. The stories of Grace, Tony, Emmy, Innocent, Rosaline and more each have their OWN film. And they are all beyond fantastic, it just happened to be this one that went viral.
    Kony2012 is dedicated to explaining why we need to make it so everyone knows Joseph Kony’s name, we make him famous, we stop at nothing and we bring this war to an end. It’s not even 30 minutes long so it wouldn’t be impactful to try and fit a bunch Ugandans stories into such a short amount of time, especially when they have a score of films already that are dedicated to doing just that. Do a little research before posting criticisms, especially criticisms that are hurting the world more than helping by spreading your faulty ideas before doing research. See how many stories Invisible Children has filmed of both the masses and individuals in central africa who have been effected by this war.
    Gavin (the five year-old boy) was used in the film to illustrate how clear it is that we need to make a difference, how in the mind of a boy who’s mind has not yet been tainted by ideas of nationalism thinks that it is crystal clear that we need to get involved in stopping Kony.

    • Mark Kersten says:

      Thanks for the comment, Amanda. My critique was intended for the film Kony 2012 and not every film that Invisible Children has made. Indeed, I do acknowledge the good work of the organization at the beginning of the post in part to differentiate from the film and the organization as a whole.

      I’m sorry you feel my commentary is “hurting the world more than helping”. In my view there is nothing wrong or unhealthy about an honest debate – about the facts. That is what this blog strives to offer.

  30. mundus says:

    to be quite honest. I’m making a small fair judgment on this. i understand the problems and have read up on it over the years. but were clearly talking about doing something. what about our problems in our country. why aren’t we focused on our problems. everyone is so set to help everyone else except our very own problems. we shouldn’t get involved. and for a few good reasons. one being, when we do send our troops over, because at the end of the day, thats exactly what is going to happen, (not send a bunch of hipsters to resolve this issue) we will asset the situation with kony and then our troops and country, will, and it will be, criticized for it.

    but hey why stop there. why don’t we go to every other nations with similar situations. do you see the following pattern that we seem to do.

    its not say that it is bad to have a heart. ultimately its what makes us, human. the but the reality is things are not that simple. and we can’t simply go fixing the worlds problem. especially when we can’t fix our own.

    • Brian K says:

      Informing people that 66,000 kids have been abducted is a massive-eye opener, no matter if they’re American kids or African kids. They Kony 2012 campaign is unique in the fact that it targets something that people find horrifying combines with a pretty simple “way you can help” approach and a finite timeline.

      If you had a “millions of kids in America are malnourished” campaign where you throw money into what seems to be a black hole for an undefined period of time, you’re not going to get much of a response. Yeah, it would be awesome if people could just donate whatever they could to help affected people around them, but that’s not reality.

  31. Brian K says:


    You make a lot of good points in your blog post.

    However, titling it “Taking…down a notch” smacks of sounding like “guy who has opposing viewpoint on every popular and trending topic”. The Kony 2012 campaign is raising awareness about humans rights violations and making it accessible top people who might normally not care, and that’s a very good thing.

  32. Lisa B. says:

    Until this campaign I had never heard of Joseph Kony, the author simply can’t state that few don’t know who he is. Like the campaign, this article is flawed. Nothing is perfect, though the oversights in this piece could have been avoided. The video stated that the problem was no longer primarily in Uganda, that they were rebuilding and the area is peaceful. How could the author have ignored that part of the video? The primary use of an adorable white boy was for a visualization of the “what if it was happening here?” point, which, given the intended audience, was a brilliant way of pulling at America’s heart strings. Considering the fact that many people DIDN’T know who Joseph Kony was, the simplification of the issue was a tactic required to raise awareness. Now thousands and thousands of people are digging deeper and learning more, isn’t that a good starting point? The whole idea of this being about a “big brave white man helping black man” is ridiculous, he’s just a human being looking out for the rights of others. The blatant disregard for the “big picture” is frustrating and the author is being nothing more than critical.

    Yes, the video could have used more African voices. Yes, the video was dramatic. Yes, the video implies fixing violence with violence. Nothing is perfect, but something IS better than nothing. I believe the author should have paid closer attention to the video and its purpose before running his mouth.

    • WADE says:

      First off, I totally agree with you 99.99%. One thing I don’t understand is why people think that the Invisible Children organization wants to kill Kony. I have been in the organization for two years and we have never talked or heard talk of this. We do on the other hand wish that he could be taken to the ICC and tried for his crimes and used as an example to the world, saying that the world can unite and when it does theres no stopping us!

      • LucrezaBorgia says:

        Why do you think that the removal of Kony will solve the problem? You don’t think that there are other people in his army that would have no problem continuing fighting?

      • WADE says:

        The ICC has not only indicted Kony, all of his commanding officers were indicted as well. Every one knows that we can’t just go get’m and all the problems will be over. But the Invisible Children organization has been taking things one step at a time since day one. When Bobby, Laren, and Jason started on their mission in 2006, they only new what their goal was. They had no clue what or how they were going go achieve it. Yet again, they are facing a new chapter in their story. The chapter isn’t written yet, but with all of the support we are getting, I will say I’m very excited to see the story unfold and I’m crossing my fingers for a happy ending.

  33. Ashley Marie says:

    While the views and opinions o the Ugandan people are important, I understand completely why he used the opinions of a 5 year old white child. Looking at the white child, more Americans are going to start thinking “What if this was happening to MY child!?” and the situation becomes a lot more apparent to the average, white, American family. I had no idea who Kony was until this video and that is entirely because I was never really interested in world events like this. Since the movement has gone viral, a lot of people, especially young people, who otherwise aren’t very political are now informed and upset.

  34. m.. says:

    not gonna lie but i dont think IF and ONCE they capture kony and bring him to justice they will just leave it. I think everyone knows that he is not the only one causing this destruction so they will bring others who are big leaders to justice as well. they cant just take kony and leave the rest behind to carry on with it. people are being to pessimistic about this campaign. shouldnt everyone be happy that this issue has finally been spoken about? just saying.

  35. nerdshirtsandcardigans says:

    My reasoning as soon as I saw the video was that it was interesting, but thought how odd their approach was. And I got a little miffed. I had friends who were tasked once to try to take Kony out – and couldn’t – so when the video said we refused to intervene I was sitting here seething a bit.

    I thought it was manipulative and gross to use the cute little white child as a tool to get people to care – focusing more on him and themselves then the actual victims.

  36. Christyn says:

    The point of the video is no child should be abducted and be forced to kill their parents, become sex slaves, become murderers. This point is made in the video, if it happened in the US for 1 day, it would be on the front of every newwspaper. So why are we letting it happen in places like Uganda. Children don’t choose where or what time they’re born, how they grow up, this is what the charity Invisible Children is about, giving every child a fair chance at life. Yes, Joseph Kony isn’t the only one doing this but people NEED to be aware, the more that are aware, the more money that is given to put towards helping children suffering like this and giving US troops the support they need to find Kony (and other war criminals). Public interest is needed to maintain this, without public interest the US government will pull their troops out of Uganda. It’s been going on for 26 years, that’s long enough. How about rather than making pessimistic comments, you actually help?

  37. Pingback: Christian Ethics, Invisible Children, Joseph Kony, and International Advocacy « James W. McCarty, III

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  39. Matthew S says:

    Because we can’t fix everything let’s do nothing. Because Invisible Children can’t address all of the issues in Uganda in one campaign they are mis-led. Are you serious? Awareness is just the first step. Everyone has the right to their opinion and facts are facts but don’t try and pull something down because it doesn’t fix everything.

    “killing Kony cannot resolve the actual sources of the crisis”

    Whooa…who said stopping and killing are suddenly the same thing. Don’t get me wrong I’m not naive enough to think that attempts to capture Kony couldn’t end up this way but I also have never heard Invisible Children say they want to kill Kony.

    “It will, undoubtedly, mobilize and morph a horde of sincere American youths into proxy war criminal hunters.”

    That’s a little pompous don’t you think? I think you underestimate the reach of this campaign and think a little too highly of your own opinion.

  40. Lucy says:

    Basically, chill out. Is the video sexually explicit? Racist? Homophobic? Violent? Or….
    Is it trying to do something good? Realistically can anything negative or bad come from it?

    Poeple like you really do me make laugh.

  41. Pingback: These San Diego Penguins Don't Care About Joseph Kony | Gossipian

  42. Aleib says:

    did you know in the year 2011 Invisible Children spent $8.9 million… ONLY 31% went to the charity program where as the rest went in film production, travelling and their own wages… In comparison the Red Cross and other aid giving charities give around 90%… what Invisible Children want is the recognition for “stopping” Kony but dont want to sacrifice their own well-being for the cause, this is just wrong and why im not supporting the “KONY 2012” campaign, but i do agree that people like Kony and their organisations need to be shut down!

    • Kbear says:

      Have you ever thought that maybe putting more money towards film production and travelling is what they are about? This charities main goal is to spread the word so that people can stand up for the cause by showing their government that they want something to be done about human rights. Other charities spend more money on things such as supplies, medicine, education for children in underdeveloped countries, whatever it may be, but those charities have a different goal, which is to improve on a smaller scale. The campaign of KONY 2012 has a goal and it is to make sure that global governance takes action and starts arresting and following through with criminals of human rights violations. This needs to take place on a much larger scale which requires travel and a wide variety of media production. There are other charities that will take care of the other problems such as reintegration of child soldiers into their communities, education, community development or poverty alleviation. The Kony 2012 campaign just wants to get the ball rolling.

      • WADE says:

        Agree, agree, agree! Yes Kony2012’s goal is to get the message out there, but that is not the Invisible Children’s only goal. They have been funding education in Africa, they have built rehabilitation centers, and they have been promoting sustainable jobs for these people. Everyone is so focussed on the Kony2012 video and fail to step back and look at the big picture of what Invisible Children is doing.

  43. Alyx says:

    While I agree with your analysis that the Kony 2012 film is a simplification of a much more complex issue, I wonder what its impact would have been if it had been constructed as anything other than what it is: a propaganda film. I use that word without any negative connotations, simply as an explanation of its strategies.

    It is true to say that the majority of the American and British public have been ignorant of Kony up until this juncture. Other news has been highlighted, and this film serves to readdress that. It plays to its audience: we have a wide eyed young boy to identify with, and the simplicity with which the situation is explained to him is mirrored in the structure of the film, which is segmented into ‘what is happening’, ‘what we want to happen’ and ‘how you can help make that happen’. Its overly emotive, overly reductionist, but its working. This tool of communication we have built ourselves is being used in earnest to highlight a problem and help solve it, not to simply share photos of cats dressed up in Star Wars costumes singing about bacon, as most of Youtube seems clogged with.

    This is a bold move, and a game changer. If we take this as a precedent, what I hope it leads to is people taking responsibility for keeping themselves informed via all media channels, not just the news. The internet is beautifully democratic – whilst the Kony film takes one portrait of a problem, there will always be blogs posted to point out any distortions of the truth, just like this one. No one I know watches one video and then goes back to what they were doing: one video leads to another, leads to an article, leads to a photoshop parody. We are a much more informed mass than we were before the internet came along, and that has to be a seen as a positive. Whilst I don’t want to debate the politics that the Kony film skirts over (I don’t know enough yet, but I’m off to find out), what I would like to call attention to is the fact that, because of one video on Youtube, and a lot of well-meaning online sharing, we are talking about the issues of Uganda. That makes me very hopeful.

  44. bobbybulsara says:

    It’s about protecting kids for gods sake. If you put half as much effort into the cause rather than sat on your arse poking holes in the plan then you might actually help in achieving this.
    Your article/blog/wasteofenergy has in fact achieved nothing at all.
    You as a person will never achieve anything on this scale on your own because you’re not prepared to muck in but would rather sneer at other people’s efforts.
    If this movement protects just one of those kids then it’s one more than you have with this crap

    • LucrezaBorgia says:

      Won’t someone think of the children??? THE CHILDREN!!!

      There are already efforts being put in place to end the LRA and they have been mostly working. The international community is well aware of what has been going on in the region. This isn’t a new or invisible issue by any means and for fuck’s sake I’ve been hearing about it for over 10 years now and that is just from reading news articles.

      • LucrezaBorgia says:

        Aww…are you mad at me? When will people learn that doing nothing is sometimes much better than doing something. Especially with the history the US has regarding intervention. I’ve not “done anything” because I don’t have the means to do so. Do you think people in Africa are not capable of solving their own problems? Do you really think the entire world needs the youth of the US to save them?

        This blog article gives a much more nuanced issue of why doing nothing is better than sometime: http://siena-anstis.com/2012/03/07/on-invisible-childrens-kony-2012-campaign

      • bemite says:

        I wish there was a like button.

        And Bobby, in order to protect those kids something has to be in place to address the social/political/economical issues that allowed Kony to become what he is today. Lucreza is right, that the international community has been aware of this for a while now and has taken steps before to resolve it both through regional international channels and through broader international channels. They failed. Plain and simple as that. Now, due to the longevity of the problem, it will take more than simply removing Kony to resolve the issue. It’s nice that the video made the public more aware of a fraction of what is taking place within the Great Lakes Region of Africa, but I cringe at the amount of half-informed or slightly informed public that now exists and is toting a need for military intervention when that may not be what is wanted within the region. And due to the fact that the LRA has dispersed within the Great Lakes Region and no longer operates solely in Northern Uganda, simply taking Kony out has become so much more complicated than it was twenty years ago. It IS an international conflict, but it also DOES need to be resolved in large by the Great Lakes Governments and with better governance in the Northern region of Uganda. Otherwise true peace may not be achieved.

  45. Rachel G says:

    Actually, I had NO IDEA who Joseph Kony was before this.

    I am a well educated, conscious, kind hearted, 30 year old woman living in a major metropolitan city, and this campaign has made me want to donate my hard earned dollars to a cause that I see is at least TRYING to bring down a monster. And it’s inspiring other young people around the world to do the same, in the name of peace. How can that possibly be a bad thing?

    Author, you should see the bright side of this situation… getting otherwise uninvolved citizens to pay attention to destructive global matters. Simple as that.

  46. Pingback: Kony 2012 – Activism that Has Our Attention « Take Five

  47. Cassie says:

    I would like to point out that while this article has some valid points about the government and how simply killing Kony isn’t going to do much in the way of inserting a stabilized government in Uganda, it is a step. That dilemma was actually my first thought after watching the video. Any person with any history or political science background would be able to say simply that by just killing kony and then returning home, we would just give way for a poor government to seize more power and / or another rebel leader to gain control. However, I think we can all agree here that SOMETHING must be done. Whether the LRA has “moved” out of Uganda is not the issue, because they need to be stopped no matter where they are and Uganda needs help in inserting a stable, peaceful government. So while the “Kony 2012” campaign doesn’t answer all the questions, it is a necessary and impressive start to awareness and to fighting the injustice in areas less fortunate than ours. While politically Kony has been famous for years, the truth is that the majority of the American people had never heard his name before this video. Awareness is the first step, and the American population voicing their opinions to their government on a large scale can hopefully help to move them to some sort of stronger action that they have not previously been moved to. The American people are seizing their control in new and unprecedented ways to speak up about what is wrong and right in th world, and I think we can all agree that the LRA AND KONY are wrong. So what’s so bad about that?

  48. Jess Hardy says:

    “Invisible Children has been condemned time and time again. As a registered not-for-profit, its finances are public. Last year, the organization spent $8,676,614. Only 31% went to their charity program” – can anyone pro Kony 2012 explain this? Is it correct?

  49. SKT says:

    As a supporter of invisible children, I actually really appreciated reading this article. Because the videos that IC puts out are heavily media based, they generate a lot of social attention, which is the goal. Something I think you need to keep in mind is that this is a marketing tool that IC has harnessed nearly perfectly. Their goals and intentions are in the right. Something I also want to drive your attention to are the other videos that IC has made over the years, because in fact, they celebrate the peace in Northern Uganda, and have for years. I encourage you to read their blog, because recently, with the US military advisors, IC has been voicing how they do not promote violence in this region, because if puts the civilians at a much greater risk of being harmed even more so by Kony and the LRA when they have suffered enough.

    Anyone with knowledge about how the LRA came into being would know and understand that this is a much more complicated issue than discussed in the KONY2012 movie. However, a lot of the information goes back to their first documentary, “Rough Cut.” How can expect them to include 27 years of political war and conflict in a promotional video? The point is to raise awareness, and while it is unfortunate that most people will not do more research on their own, they are advocating for that.

    Thank you again for posting this article. Although I just added many counterarguments, I do think it is important for supporters to see both sides of any argument. Like you said, this is a dangerous and complicated situation, which must not be ignored or omitted in anyway.

    • Mark Kersten says:

      Thanks for this insightful and measured comment, SKT.

      I hope it’s clear that the post was only taking aim at this latest film rather than the body of work of Invisible Children. Of course, no one can reasonably “expect them to include 27 years of political war and conflict in a promotional video.” My concern, however, is about how much is left out (including the voices and views of northern Ugandans themselves) and what understanding of the conflict that leaves the viewers with.

      Many thanks again. I share your hope that people will see the video and go out and do research into the subject and topic.

  50. Adam szandrowski says:

    I’m 15 years old and up until watching the video today I had no idea who Joseph Kony was. Even if this campaign is not successfull I believe that it shows everyone how powerful media has become and the way it conveys the word “Kony” to an explicit amount of people through social networking, gatherings websites and the “cover the night” campaign ect. Is truly an admireable acheivement for anyone to see. It is the first small step in indicating peace and justice within the modern world which I believe is important. I am one insignificant little grain of sand in a world and I know nothing about politics or war crimes. But the thought of bringing people all over the world together to fight for something they believe in will carry so much more significance to me and this to me is much more than a fight against Joseph Kony, the Ugandan government or the LRA. I think that the act of a community of people banding together to stop injustice is a recognizeable acheivement. It’s honestly quite beautiful and astonishing.

    I Have the upmost respect for anyone who supports the campaign.

    • Good job, Adam. if it mobilises one young person like you, sounds like the boys and girls at Invisible Children are doing a good thing! And this may be the start of your career of being active in politics and against war crimes! Welcome to the party! 😀

      • Adam szandrowski says:

        Thanks Shona, and yeah quite possibly! 🙂

      • chris says:

        well done adam. problem is if the campaign is unsuccesful which it probably will be. nothing will change and it doesnt matter how mobilized you are because people will still be abducted and Africans will keep killing each other like they have done for centuries. 😀

  51. Meghann says:

    yeah but how else is it gonna be done? Nothing was happening until this guy started this! Hello!!!!

    • Yup, yup, yup… and now, here we are, all talking about it… I say “good job guys at Invisible Children for waking us up from our slumber” it is now our responsibility to educate ourselves on the issues and to take action. But somebody needed to hit us over the head with a cold bucket of water and remind us of what we haven’t been doing!

      • chris says:

        what action do you want people to take? get on a plane to the congo and find kony and get him. governments arent going to do anything! because its not in there interest and you have to remember this is a man with no ties to a country or state. he is extremely resourceful and unless he does something aggressive towards a western country no one with enough military power is going to want to spend large sums of cash finding him when they know he isnt the whole problem.there are hundreds of guys below him ready to be the next kony and there are tens of other african countries with similar men doing very similar things. why dont we just invade there too! Africa is a complete basket case with corrupt governments doing what they want and unless a rebel is effecting their bank account they arent interested.

  52. J. Hutton says:

    Once again we trivialize the big picture…there have been documentaries about the LRA on National Television for over 10 years. When the documentaries started, KONY was anything but popular and Ugandan children used to hike miles to places and lock themselves in compounds to avoid being taken by the LRA. THAT was the big picture at the time! Thanks to this campaign and everyone who wants to question Invisible Children this issue still won’t be dealt with because people like you are too concerned with how the story is being portrayed and the “state of Uganda” (accepting something they cannot change) now. Forget Invisible children’s attempt at informing people of a disgrace that is happening in this world and forget this article…if you give a damn…focus on the real issue

  53. Tamar says:

    I am yet another who until seeing #InvisibleChildren trending had not heard of Kony and now having been drawn to the issue via this film will endeavour to find out the rest of the information. For me personally this film has reached it’s mark by gaining my attention, flagging up the issues and motivating me (and I suspect many others) to take an active interest, to get myself better informed and to seek to have some impact on the situation. Researching this is in fact how I came to your blog.

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  55. Bob from UK says:

    Missing the point? Its not about the video, its not about the money, if you didnt know who Kony was, you should have, and no doubt you do now. The question is now you know, what are you going to do about it. Nothing?

  56. Pingback: Make Kony Famous | Action Speaks

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  58. James Matthews says:

    A lot of people saying that, although flawed, KONY2012 is a good thing because it gets the message out there. valid point.

    In that case, by the same logic it is also just as, if not more valid, to raise the points that Mark has raised, as that gets a wider and more relevant message out there.

    • Mark Kersten says:

      Thanks for seeing the post in its proper context James – the wider debate and seeking both awareness and understanding rather than one at the expense of the other.

  59. sarah says:

    I dont really understand anything to do with politics or why nothing has been done to stop this man already, all i know is i watched this video and really upset me i wanted to get involved and wanted to help. I have never heard of this man before today and in my eyes a man that kills, rapes,abbducts and hurts people like that should be stopped. Evey child should have the right to feel safe. But im just a normal girl going about my daily routine wat do i know.

  60. annie says:

    Obviously there are deeper underlying issues…and obviously the Kony 2012 video doesn’t have answers for what happens after…What I feel is important is that the world is becoming aware, because before this video, I heard some info here and there, but was not motivated to do something about it, mostly because I felt like “what can I do”? Nothing changes over night…But this is a start. From this video the message I received is that CHILDREN should not be fighting wars….that CHILDREN should have the right to grow up without fear of being abducted and made to kill….

  61. CJ says:

    Nice article but the author does not give any other options or possible resolution for a conflict that has been happening for the last 20+ years. The general American “Joe Q. Public” does not care what the finite details are. They only care about finding a way to solve or fix the problem. Africa has been treated with varying levels of racism and “not our problem” attitudes from Somalia, Rwanda, Sera Leon, Nigeria, Sudan, Liberia, etc. To have a major push to involve a large part of the population to stand for helping fellow human beings and not turn a blind eye is incredibly admirable. Instead , the author of the article critizes the Social Movement and does not provide any other alternatives for a 20 + year conflict. Maybe this campaign will work where everything else failed.

  62. thecassies says:

    your first point is ridiculous. everyone already knows how Kony is? i had NO IDEA?

  63. Gregg Weisbrod says:

    Yeah, your post misses the point entirely. For someone able to spend so much time writing fluff, I imagine you have the mental faculties to reason this out… yet you haven’t. Just because political higher-ups have known who this guys is for decades, doesn’t mean jack. Just because a warrant is issue, doesn’t reflect urgency to take him down. Campaigns like this give general public something to rally around – I’ve NEVER heard of him or this issue (there’s alot of crap in the world to know about, international justice is not a topic followed on the majority of peoples’ radars). Now that I have, I’m talking more about him, learning about the issue, and getting angry. Enough people do this, it puts pressure on the system to do something… now. This is how it works, and it does work. This is why they’ve done this.

  64. I think this is great, I think your points are valid and your opinions clearly informed… I guess I’m concerned that, sometimes, thinking and rationalising a lot leads to inaction, and a viral, simple message may lead to people learning more details… This is essentially an ad campaign. Isn’t it a good one? Does the ad have to tell the whole story? Can’t the ad simply advertise an interesting message and then people connect and hopefully find out more? is it very damaging to get a lot of people informed about part of the message, rather than a few very informed? I think, as you said, those who are affected already know the true story, ICC knows the true story, senior government officials all across the world know the true story… But what you need is momentum, and that sometimes comes from a partially educated prolitariat.. Like me! 🙂

  65. Jade says:

    To Sinn1sl0ken ‘s comment: we know people have been working on this issue for years, for decades and this is what this campaign has done, shed light so that those who have been working on this issue have the support be it from other intellects or government policies to put into action the well thought out strategies they have been working on. The motives of this campaign is to shed light on the issue. I agree it’s such a simple innappropriate naive way to address this issue. Stop the bad guy daddy. But this video has served it’s purpose by us having this discussion. I also agree with many points highlighted in this article that there is so much more socioeconomic, political, cultural aspects which are fundamental to actually making a positive change which have been ignored but now it isn’t being ignored. See the campaign as advertising and the experts all over the world now have s microphone and a stage to put a proper plan into place. Just by showing this video it doesn’t mean that it’s exact procedure will be the action that is taken. Anyone with half a brain knows it’s not enough and not the right way to go about it. If the video didn’t focus on the cute little naive blonde kid no one would watch it as we can see clearly in the fact that all those efforts before this video which are complex and address the real issues the Ugandan community faces haven’t been in main stream media… It’s not an effective way to appeal to today’s society. They had to take the shallow poplar approach the same way “planking” was “in”. They need to make it popular to be behind this issue. Thats smart marketing. That is all it is.

  66. Austin Mac says:

    This is not just about stopping Kony. This is about showing that the American people can and should have a government that works FOR them, not for their own interests. Petitions and elections just don’t cut it any more. We need a way to influence our government to do what’s right, and this is the first step in starting that movement.

    • Be Careful Please says:

      Fine, but you’re not paying attention to who is setting the agenda for the ‘American people’s’ concerns. You have to be careful about who you let set your agenda. Tomorrow someone else could make a slick video about some other pressing issue in the world (there are thousands of them) and then what? Would you go along with that ‘grassroots’ movement as well? Don’t you see you are being manipulated through your emotions? What about thinking for yourself about issues that actually affect you, and that you might know something about?

  67. I just saw some coverage of the Kony 2012 campaign on BBC news. (At around 1:20pm Eastern time.) They had on a man (I’m afraid I didn’t catch his name) who discussed how the video is being viewed with somewhat mixed feelings in Africa.

    While I am glad a major news outlet offered a counterpoint to the video, for some reason, they didn’t bother really discussing who Joseph Kony IS or why this video is making the rounds. It’s good that the Beeb is covering this, but it seemed rather shallow commentary.

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  69. A Daniel says:

    Kony clearly isnt in”famous” enough because I am almost everyone I know had never heard of him before this campaign!

  70. Robert says:

    Invisible Children has been at work since 2003 to raise awareness and provide relief for the afflicted areas. While you mention briefly that they have done good and you are not attacking IC, as a longtime supporter of Invisible Children I would hazard a guess that you have not watched their other videos or been apart of past campaigns. The work they have accomplished is enormous.

    Now on to your argument, Joseph Kony is a known name to those who pay attention in a world view but the fact is until recently he (and the LRA) were existing under the radar to most of the popular world. The KONY 2012 campaign is to gain attention for the problem at hand so that the steps that have been made do not get erased. You mention that the area is peaceful well I would suggest you take a look at this http://www.lracrisistracker.com/ the LRA crisis tracker that IC and Resolve have created which notes attacks, lootings, abductions, deaths, and releases in the affected areas.

    The director of Invisible Children uses his own son to connect to his viewers. The fact that he is white is irrelevant. The fact that it is his own son a part of his own family is what draws the connection. I agree that the video is dramatic to an extent but how else do you get people’s attention? And the topic of the video is not something to be taken lightly which also lends to the dramatization of it. Again, the lack of information and the dramatic nature of/in the video is because this is a 30 minute clip to get people’s attention. Invisible Children has many other movies that have much more information as they have been at this for 9 years now.

    For the people who are concerned about the IC records, you are able to view all tax/income forms on their website if you look for them. The funds are used to pay the staff, fund projects in Uganda and other regions such as their Frontline campaign (building and staffing a rehabilitation center, schools for schools, emergency response teams, HF radio network, FM radio network, disbursement of defection flyers and messages) and also to increase the awareness of the problem here in America.

    All I am trying to do is help answer some questions I’m not trying attack anyone. Stop Kony

  71. Daphne says:

    @Brittany – the message IS powerful. But the charity behind the film funds militia groups who are also accused of rape and murder. They use those militia to combat the ‘bigger evil’ militia group. It’s a pretty grey area to say: “Hey, but look at all the good that’s coming out of this!” when even a small portion of the power lent to this ends up supporting the rape of even one human body. IC believes their ends justify those means. I believe that isn’t true. No matter how noble the ends seem from this side of the hemisphere.

    • The believe that they fund militia groups who are accused of rape & murder is not true. Check out @seancpoole’s tweets where he directly answers to some of the rumors about this. He is a field worker in Uganda trying to stop the LRA.

  72. daniela amador says:

    This is the problem. People see a big issue like this, can’t bear it and run away because they are only one person. The world needs to finally get together for once, no matter who you are or where you came from. We are fighting for one thing, what’s right. The world needs to stop being pessimistic and needs to be positive.

    • Adam szandrowski says:

      That’s a great point, I really don’t think that the critics of the campaign are viewing this as the world uniting as one for justice in the world. People coming together for what’s right is a fantastic acheivement

  73. ZakT says:

    I think that the portrayal of the situation in Uganda is overly simplistic but I do agreed that it needs to be more widely publicized. I would not give money to the cause but I think that the public awareness side of it can only bring good.

  74. KC says:

    Cant believe how some people are reacting to this, It is important for all of us to take notice and do what we can. It is appalling when i read comments bringing down the Kony 2012 campaign. It is to help get the word out about the terrible crimes in this world that need to be stopped, and just because you stand by and do nothing doesn’t mean you should waste your time spewing your negativity upon people who are selflessly trying to better our world. Pathetic and utterly sickening.

  75. Kbear says:

    This campaign is about showing global governance that the population wants to stand up for human rights! Its about starting with the number one person on the list of criminals of human rights violations and working down the list from there. I don’t understand why people so easily turn against others/campaigns that try to stand up for something that is right. Something that helps spread an idea. People look so deep for anything that they can find to try and convince themselves that they shouldn’t care. Its sad.

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  77. Megan says:

    I think some peoples negative thinking on Kony2012 is seriously a joke. First of all where in the video did you hear them say a word about killing Kony. They said many times he must be stopped. Comparing him to the killing of Bin Laden nad comparing those of us who care to people who would have cheered in the streets for his death is juvenile. I think the video raised much awareness and that is the most important thing right now. Yes many of us had no idea what was going on, and many of us are likely ashamed of that. The statement that this video shows more of a little “white” boy then the view of the Ugandan people is ridiculous, The maker of the Kony2012 video did not put his son in the video hoping to make him famous., The point is to show you, this is a young boy, someones son. Had he been a child living in Uganda he would of been at a risk of being captured and forced to work for the LRA. The point is to show people IF this were in Northern America would the government stand idle and allow even one child to be forced to do this? NO. Also your statement about there being piece now and that the LRA are currently inactive is incorrect.If you by any chance use twitter you would be able to see all that the LRA are doing right now. Very little of it is peaceful “https://twitter.com/#!/CrisisTracker” I think this is a wonderful campaign. I realize if they send more troops in to capture Kony it could clearly backfire and many young LRA rebels could be killed. But if they can get him we are preventing years of lives being taken and ruined. I am a Child & Youth worker student, I believe every child deserves a chance and i believe all education is worth while. Educate yourselves on what is happening and make your own opinions but don’t form an opinion based on uneducated views. I by no means think i can “Change the world” after watching the video. But if i can share it with those I know and raise awareness about what is going on than maybe it can make a small difference.

  78. Mike says:

    While you make some good points, I’m of the opinion that you’re fundamentally wrong that the world is already aware of who Kony is.

    One of the negative effects of having the most interconnected world we ever have known is that with everyone now personalizing their information inflow and streams through their own networks, news is fragmented among population groups and critcally important topics simply fall through the cracks! Anecdotally, I know for certain that a majority of individuals I interact with on a daily basis (in the corporate world, friends & family, neighbors) in Southern California are hearing of Kony’s mere EXISTENCE for the first time through this campaign. If the world really did already know, the campaign would not be immediately successful.

    At the end of the day, I believe that all awareness is the necessary first step, even if Step 1 objectives are misguided entirely. No matter how much it may surprise some of us to know that the world doesn’t know Kony, THE WORLD DOESN’T KNOW KONY.

  79. Bill says:

    I think the author’s criticism is less against the idea of stopping Kony, and more about the need for a true plan that will help the region.

    Eliminate Kony, leaving the current regime in tact and continuing their neglect of the people, and how long before the next Kony springs up?

    Meanwhile, committing external resources to capturing Kony only frees up the Ugandan government to pursue their other atrocities. That makes us feel good if we capture Kony – until we realize how we helped Museveni’s forces to continue their abuse.

    The mobilization of world response is truly impressive, and, to me, indicates the power of social media to expose and make known evils in the world around us. But perhaps the author is suggesting that plunging forward without full understanding is possibly more damaging than not plunging forward at all.

  80. You mention that Jacob & other Ugandans are featured in this video enough. Well this isn’t Invisible Children’s first rodeo when it comes to videos. The point is hopefully this video leads others to research the topic more and then watch Invisible Children’s other videos explaining the conflict. Invisible Children’s first documentary about the time they spent in Uganda and found out the LRA directly features Jacob and others affected in the region. The clips shown in the KONY 2012 comes from that original documentary.

  81. Matt North says:

    theres always going to be a critic trying to undermine efforts by anyone trying to mount a successful campaign. Their charity might not be financially liable, but how many charities if undergone a financial review would come out crystal clean? The fact of the matter is that they are trying to bring down and capture a man who needs to be held accountable for atrocious crimes against humanity. People have criticised them for siding with a corrupt government but lets face it the US and UK governments can’t exactly claim to be free of corruption. Its all well and good being a critic but what good is it going to do to the overall campaign? Just because there is peace in the country does that mean those responsible for these crimes should be allowed to go free of any charges? There is peace in Germany but people still look for justice against Nazi’s who committed crimes nearly seventy years ago!

  82. FFRT says:

    The fact that its popularity was gained through facebook, youtube and twitter just shows the uselessness of the video. (Dont get me wrong, the idea is good but the majority of the people supporting the video are only doing so becuase its gone viral) . As social media websites they were developed for communication. By sharing the link to others on these websites essentially you are looking for attention, for social interaction, so infact you are not truly concerned at all but are looking for a response or a like.
    The idea is right but the action the majority of the population take after seeing ‘kony 2012’ is little more than posting something in the hope to gain recognition

    • Anthony says:

      Really, “the majority of the people supporting the video are only doing so because its gone viral”.
      Doesn’t the very definition of going viral means that a lot of people are supporting it?

      • bemite says:

        No, the definition of a video going viral is that it’s getting viewed by thousands of people and continuously re-posted since it obviously appeals to a large number of people. Or should I also state that I support all the cute kitty videos that have viral as well? Or the toddler that chain smokes that went viral a while back?

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  84. sooomainstream says:

    “jumping on the bandwagon” is not always a bad thing. If being aware of injustice is trendy then hey, why not be trendy?

    • FFRT says:

      I definetely agree and it is an issue people should be aware of. Its just that after seeing alot of hypocrites posting this kony 2012 stuff kinda made me angry. I mean on nearly every video on youtube we see thousand of racist comments about “rednecks” and “niggers” and now all we see is “kony, kony, kony” .I just wonder how much of these rascists are now acting like they care when they will be up causing more hatred in a few weeks. I thank the people that truly support this campaign every little thing helps i suppose

  85. JayG says:

    As one of the 10% of the people in this country who has a phd, it is hard for me to sit back and watch articles like this criticize and cause doubt in such a campaign. It is part of western culture to pick apart seemingly good ideas or causes in order to “expose the truth”. It is hard for us to believe that any movement/event/idea comes without a hidden agenda. I was on reddit reading about how this campaign is a “fraud” because not every single cent goes to starving African children. Of course people see 31% as a horrible statistic for a charity, but if anyone bothered to know do the research, they’d find that 31% is actually a pretty large sum compared to similar charities. People don’t seem to understand that a charity must somehow run itself, and it must pay the people who quit full-time jobs in order to dedicate their lives to such causes, among other costs such as travel, workspace rent, equipment, ect. You do not build a charity of such proportions off of other’s spare time and good will, it just isn’t possible.

    Now I come here to read this crap about the over-simiplization of this much larger conflict. Of course it’s over simplified, it’s meant to hit a much broader audience. This does not mean any of it is a lie, nor does it mean they are missing the point. Does anyone actually believe that this filmmaker doesn’t know the full extent of the issues in Uganda? He spent the last 10 years of his life working for this cause, you cannot honestly believe that he is unaware of the bigger picture. You also cannot honestly believe that he has any kind of hidden agenda other than to bring this issue to surface in order to raise awareness and perhaps stop the man who is a major factor in this war. In order for people to act on anything, they must feel inspired to do so. Do you think people would feel inspired if they were to hear the grueling (and seemingly dark) details of the Ugandan government? No, they would feel hopeless. They would throw their hands up and say “what’s the point?”. This man already KNOWS the seemingly hopeless situation regarding the shady government politics, yet he believes that by bringing light to one part of the story, that eventually the other issues will become more pressing to politicians. The US gov. also knows all of the complications within the Ugandan gov., they are not as clueless as some scholars would like to have you believe.

    Bottom line: if this filmmaker were to create a film detailing the very complicated problems with Uganda regarding government policies and such, NO ONE would watch it. No one would know anything about Uganda or that children were being put in danger. No one would know Kony. No one would care enough to know. This man is doing what he can to make a difference in this complicated world, and people who write articles like this are just another part of the problem. They cannot see the light, the good, or the pureness of anything or anyone. They must pick and pick until there is nothing left. You’re allowed to analyze something, but as an educated source of information, you should not be allowed to deplete the hope of those who still believe that they can do good. Shame on you.

    • Dawn Larsen says:

      JayG, very well put.
      Pointing out that 31% spent on projects is very good is too true. The HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) had a budget of $99.664.400.00 in 2008, and spent less than 0.5% on animal care/rescue. The rest of the budget was administrative (lobbying, salaries, pension plan, etc…) Perspective, people, perspective!
      I agree, this video was created to get the public’s attention, and it has done so, in spades.

  86. SeekTruth says:

    So basically what you’re saying is “go back to your computers and your wii games”. The youth of my generation are severely apathetic. If this movement does nothing but motivate the youth of today to take a look at the world around them and feel like they can make a difference, however small it may be, then we have done something. I’ll tell you now that I didn’t know who Joseph Kony was instill I saw the video. Stop bring so pessimistic. Under the fabrication of the media is a real and dying world. Motivate our youth to move out of their bubble, join hands with a stranger and walk together into the future. A future that even you (article writer) aren’t sure of.

  87. Kathy Rooster says:

    This is partly what is wrong with campaigns like this. As soon as people want to do things to help humanity as a whole people have opinions about it and try and contradict things they have proposed. For once can people not be happy that people are moving forward and trying to save lives instead of just sitting at home not giving a damn. Kony 2012 is inspiring, it makes you want to help people and I for one do want Kony stopped. Yes the ideas about stopping him may not be perfect but at least they have ideas. Instead of criticising and ‘taking them down a notch’ maybe you should support them and see what we can do as a community and what we can do to stop people like this. I find it trivial when blogs like this appear, stop trying to put your views across about something which, for once, is good for everyone. If you have your opinions then fine that is your right but on subjects like this, leave it out. Find something worth moaning about and trying to find flaws in, not something like this. There are plenty of things wrong with the world and no one is trying to stop them. The people doing this are trying to make the world a better place for everyone, even you. Todays world needs people like them. Also I know many people who had never heard of Kony before the awareness video came about so it has worked in its aim so far. Even if the video isn’t completely accurate it still hits a nerve and makes you want to help, so does it really matter? Another point you made about a white child featuring more than the Ugandan children is maybe so people identify with the video more. By showing American children reacting to the horrors it hits home more. Children thinking it must be stopped shows people that it is that bad and things need to be done to stop it. Please find something more worthwhile to invest your time in researching about and leave the good people of today alone.

    • Eddie says:

      This is the typical misunderstanding of people who think that if they WANT to do something good, it will necessarily lead to something good. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The huge issue about promoting a military approach to stop Kony is that this approach has been followed for the last 26 years and has led to the killing of thousands of innocent LRA abductees. The very children and women the campaigners are claiming to save. Just THINK for a moment. If a group of rebels is attacked by the Ugandan army in the jungle, who will die first? The veteran LRA soldiers who now how to fight in the jungle? Or the innocent recently abducted? Who will die first if a gunship swoops down to wipe out an LRA column? The children and women who are tied together with ropes and forced to carry goods for the LRA. THAT is the real problem, people just thinking they can make a change by ACTING blindly without taking A MINUTE to think things through first. And let me tell you something, not a single Ugandan I know is happy about the deployment of US troops in the theatre. Most people in Uganda believe the US came in for oil.

      • Kathy rooster says:

        Can I just say I don’t know how these people are going to catch him and therefore I’m not saying that I do. I understand that innocent people are being killed and either way they will be. People arguing on a blog isn’t going to change this and by continually trying to out show each other and prove each other wrong it works completely against what peace and justice mean. You are saying all these people are dying and asking who will die first? I have no idea, I couldn’t tell you that if I’m being honest but I do know that by this video coming out and people putting positive energy into something it’s uniting a lot of people! Instead of writing about it, if you feel so strongly do something! You may know many unhappy Ugandans but if people weren’t trying to help would they be happier then? US intervention may not be the best possible answer but you cannot begrudge people trying! Who knows if they went in for oil? All I am saying is that blogs like this working against the energy of positive charity work aren’t helping the spirit of community anywhere. I don’t agree with a lot of what has been said but I respect it and maybe everyone should respect each others opinions, that way we could get on a lot better.

  88. Pingback: News on Toast: What the heck is Kony 2012? | justb.

  89. dsango says:

    Very well put. Best comprehensive post IMO so far.

  90. Sonja says:

    The video does, in fact say why Kony does what he does. He is fighting simply to keep his power. In these last 25 years don’t you think we would have heard of some kind of cause, if he had one? And, if the goal were to kill Kony, why would they get the ICC involved? The author of this article obviously wasn’t paying attention when it was states, several times, that this group wants to turn Kony in so that he may face justice – not kill him. Oh, another thing, many comments that I have seen on this matter have included the statement, “I never would have known about Kony if I hadn’t seen this video.” Kony is no longer so well known as you would have us believe. The American people obviously did not maintain their interest in this situation long enough for something to be done. Kony also said that he would be changing his tactics now that the US was after him, so it’s no wonder that he is now in the move and is kidnapping, raping, mutilating, an murdering in other countries. So WHAT if this situation no longer applies to just northern Uganda? Does that make it suddenly ok? SERIOUSLY?! I don’t give a crap about what you have to say on this matter unless it’s to tell me that these people are propagating a
    massive hoax! No matter how misguided this movement may be, no matter what issue you may take with their message, they are still trying to capture and try a MONSTER. I never noticed an allusion to murdering Kony, I thought they did a good job of coming across as wanting to actually turn him in and have him tried. I never approved of people actually celebrating bin Laden’s death and, if Kony did happen to be killed (which is not what I want even if I think he does deserve it) then I won’t celebrate his death either. I will be solomnly relieved that the world is short one horrific monster, and then I will move on with my life – and try to do whatever I can to bring awareness and help to other countries and communities that are in need, in any way I can.
    I’m also hoping that, if the American people can come together over this, maybe we can come together and deal with the issues in our own country. Maybe this will set a few people, and possibly a few politicians, back on the right path. Maybe this will get us to realize that the world is bigger than gay marriage and contraception. Maybe this will get peopele to realize how petty they’re being. Maybe this will do more good than just putting a horrible excuse for a human being away for the rest of his life. I know that’s a lot of maybes, but a girl’s gotta have hope.

  91. Meow! says:

    I get what you’re saying… but the main point in the video that wasn’t emphasized enough was when The Silent Children were denied help in uganda by the US because it wasn’t in their best interest or financially beneficial to the country. This is what makes it sad, if the US could profit off his capture (ie. getting oil or other natural resources this would be a no brainer).

    Solusion: To the silent children, stop spending your money on bracelets, banners, posters and other crap. invest it in a really good hitman if you want him “stopped”.

  92. MrsDavid says:

    I had never heard of Joseph Kony until this morning. I am an educated adult who keeps an eye on the news and serves her community locally and globally. With my new-found knowledge, I am taking action to support Invisible Children any way I can. Their video was an incredible way to utilize technology to make a difference rather than having more abuse continue while we sit by either not knowing what is happening, or choosing not to care.

  93. Unbelievable says:

    Doing something is NOT always better than doing nothing if you’re doing the wrong thing.

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  95. Sadie says:

    You are bringing people down. If we work together as a nation, and pray, we can do this. “All things are possible with God.” I think that Bible verse has slipped your mind….

    • Eddie says:

      Wow, Kony himself couldn’t have said it any better. He is also very good at citing bible verses to mobilise his followers.

    • Shelbey says:

      “…and pray…”

      Kony is all about religion. I don’t think this is the time to bring religion into this. If “god” saw what happend wouldn’t he try to stop it. Oh, I forgot. God is the biggest and meanest hypocritical tyrant.

  96. gidget0685 says:

    I don’t get all of the negativity towards the KONY 2012 campaign…. the purpose is AWARENESS of one man, a wanted war criminal…… not to solve all of the worlds problems or even all of the problems in Uganda. Raising awareness may lead to bigger things. I don’t think we should be so critical of people trying to do good things, whether you agree with the message and its contents or not.

  97. Kate says:

    I’m sorry but although I totally understand where you are coming from with this article and agree with you to a certain extent, I have to disagree when you say that you can’t agree that Kony has flown completely under the radar. My friends and I attend university and are intelligent people, yet I had never heard of Kony and neither had the majority of my friends so I think that Kony 2012 have done an amazing job of raising awareness in just a few days

  98. Jackie says:

    Your article is great don’t get me wrong.. It shows the weakness of plan However thats it. While your attempting to sit here and poke holes in a plan, and find flaws. You have yet to get anything down. All this is, is you wanting to find negative support for a cause that is based on for once not america. The American people have finally decided to unite with the rest of the world and fight a cause based on pure moral values. Poking holes in a plan gets you where? Does it save children? Is it helping any cause? I didn’t think so. And maybe im wrong for supporting a cause that is attempting to do something. But at least there attempting. And if they fail they fail but at least they can say they tried. I know the heartache of knowing a family members being taken and killed. That heartache never leaves. And for once someone is deciding to help. So you know what I apologies on behalf of the world that decided they wanted to attempt to actually better the world, and for once make a change that doesn’t directly affect them.

  99. Ced says:

    I did not take the time to read all the comments, so someone might have mentioned this before me, but it is true that if IC hadn’t posted the video in the first place, this discussion would probably not have taken place.

  100. jess says:

    To all that are being Optimistic about this, keep it up 🙂 even if this isn’t the best approach at least someone is TRYING to do something about it. I so tired of people just sitting still and being more preoccupied about Kim”s marriage or Jersey Shore. Like seriously that’s all you ever see now days. why is it so wrong for us to stand up for a good cause? everyone whose being so pessimistic about this should just stop because that’s an even worse approach – not doing anything at all.

  101. Gen Y says:

    I really appreciated this article. Educated view points are needed when a video like this is reaching people who have no prior knowledge of the topic. Of course there will always be differing opinions. But instead of insulting eachother, why dont we embrace the opinions that are out there. Someone needed to question that video. What scares me though, is my generation embracing a video of this nature, without asking questions.

    • FFRT says:

      I completely agree! its a shame to see that not all of the kids sharing this are actually supporting it, but just trying to “go along”. Off course its in a childs nature to seek communication but atleast its raising awareness

  102. Isabel says:

    I think it’s pretty ignorant to say that most people already knew about Joseph Kony and the issue. I’m at a large university and this is the first time thousands of kids are hearing about it. The only reason I would ever know about it is because of Invisible Children. It also doesn’t seem to be fair to bash on this video not focusing on the actual children of Uganda…this isn’t the only video they have made. The one I saw prior to this one moved me to tears as the children in Uganda described what they had been through. I’m not going to pretend like I know what the best political strategy is, because I don’t. But nobody can deny that Invisible Children is raising awareness of an extremely important issue. This isn’t the final solution, but it’s a start, and it is going to make a difference. I’m not okay with settling because the peace issue in Uganda is “better”. If Joseph Kony is still out there and ruining the life of even just one child, something needs to happen.

  103. DISARM says:

    Mark, Really…?! Really!? Stop blogging and do something with your education that really matters.

  104. Kate C says:

    Interesting point of view here. However, the first section about just making Kony a household name being the major goal is inaccurate. The major goal is educate people about who Joseph Kony is and what he is doing and has been doing for the past 20+ years and get them involved in pressuring the government to get even more actively involved in stopping him. Secondly, they feature Jacob quite a lot in this video along with the video creators son who, yes, happens to be white. Do you really have to point that out? Looking for trouble? Finally, we all know that simply killing Kony will not solve all the problems. This is a hugely complex issue. One that will take years to resolve, but nothing positive can truly happen if Kony is still free to run around Africa abducting children.

  105. Dan says:

    I ordered my KONY 2012 KIT because this video led me to find out more and I feel good about it.

  106. Anthony F. says:

    I was just going to read the comments and not say anything. I too was moved by the film. That is not bad, it is just the way I feel. No single point of view will give us the whole picture. We are now a much more global community than ever, with that comes responsibility and power. The power is awareness and the responsibility is to not stand by when injustice is apparent. To all who opposes the film, think for a moment that as a parent your child is forcibly taken away , but before they leave they are given a gun and told to kill you.
    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)
    The world has a tool that allows for the sharing of information and this tool is on display at its finest the past couple of days. I would like to think that in this environment we will not allow another Hitler to be created. Because of numbers we each don’t have to do a lot but do what we can no matter how small.
    I cannot and will not condemn or disparage the point of view of the author, all voices are necessary for us to develop a balanced view of any topic.
    However before today I’d never heard of Kony regardless of his position as a war criminal. So I must be grateful for Invisible children for making this film and trying to make a difference.

  107. Dawn Larsen says:

    My daughter made me watch Kony2012. Neither she nor I had any idea of the existence of Joseph Kony, or what he has been doing. Over the past few years I have marveled at the untapped power of social media. I wondered when the “well” would finally be tapped for something really big, as opposed to “find our missing dog”. Well, that time is now. Invisible Children has created a 30 minute video to raise awareness of a situation and a person that most of us have never heard of. ( I respectfully disagree with your assessment that most of us have.)
    The use of a five year old white boy , simply put, brings home to ALL of us, that we are safe, our children do not have to worry. In his mind we should just go catch the “Bad Man”. Well, why not? I understand that the “problem” has been going on for a long time, with a complex network of policies, politics and people that have allowed it to continue. But why can’t we just go catch the “Bad Man”? Yes, the video is a simplified version of the story. There are very few voices of Ugandans in it. There don’t need to be; Invisible Children has been making films about individuals and the problems in this area of the world for more than a few years now. This video was intended to raise awareness, to shine a light on a bad thing, and to ask the rest of humanity that does NOT live in this area, but who shares a common bond of being a human, to stand up, declare oneself, and to say “Stop at Nothing”.
    In regards to the posts here about the financials of Invisible Children, I would like to offer another set of financials for comparison, and just to give a little perspective here:
    HSUS (Humane Society of the United States), a not for profit animal rights advocate organization also has records that may be publicly accessed. In 2008, with a budget of $99,664,400.00 they used 0.5% of that budget to actually help animals. The rest of the money went to lobbying, fundraising, salaries and pension contributions. Perspective people, please…..
    As well, “I don’t think it is a stretch to suggest that many of the same individuals who will form the legion of participants in ‘Kony 2012′ were on the streets celebrating the killing of Osama bin Laden. ” is a quote from your blog. This is where your arguments , which seem to be couched in reason, fall apart. This is a supercilious and condescending statement, that is, frankly, offensive in the extreme. What I am to infer from this is that you believe that quite a number of people who join Kony2012 will be what? Ignorant, uneducated, no opinions of their own? Unable to form opinions of their own? Why would you assume this? I am middle class, a mother, employed and a valuable member of society. I did not dance in the streets when Bin Laden died. I do believe that Kony2012 needs my support.
    It may not be perfect, in fact it isn’t, but neither is life.
    We could do nothing, but then nothing will change.
    Or, we could do something, however imperfect, and something will change.

    • BMW says:

      Thank you. I don’t understand why people can’t just embrace something that has never been done before, that is the people of the world taking down a mass murderer. It takes curiosity for people to gain knowledge and once people have knowledge they have the power to change the world. This video has made everyone curious. Time for change.

  108. JDS says:

    From your first sentence, immediate fail. Whats the percentage of people in Uganda who could of spoken on camera, in english? As you’ve done in your entire article, i won’t repeat numbers and facts, i’ll just assume: probably not many.

    “But a campaign in 2012, premised on Joseph Kony not being famous enough is just folly.”
    So you don’t agree. Thanks. Calling it Folly? So you don’t agree, why insult the reader? Because you are after those who’s seen the movie… And then you do it again????:
    “I don’t think it is a stretch to suggest that many of the same individuals who will form the legion of participants in ‘Kony 2012′ were on the streets celebrating the killing of Osama bin Laden.”
    Seriously? You’re like CNN now, of worst, FoxNews. Prove to the reader you’re actually what you say you are, a PhD student. That was a shameful piece full cynic, decietful, negative, pessamistic garbage. All you’re points don’t address any of the realities, a word which you seem to think is appropriate, which ‘Kony 2012’ do.
    You missed the point on the campaign, you missed on the point of stopping Kony, you’ve complete missed the target man.
    Stop wasting your time and go write your thesis.

  109. Chongo says:

    When did this whole “awareness” meme become the primary means to deal with any major issue? It might mean something is the American attention span was long than the life of a May fly. Remember that earthquake in Haiti, how it was all over the news for a couple weeks? Well, things are still terrible in Haiti, but it never gets a mention. That’s old news. The conflict(s) in central Africa, especially Rwanda, Uganda, and eastern Congo, have been going for decades, and while they may occasionally pop up on a 30 second news brief, Americans pay no attention.

    Instead of a broad but amorphous and easily dispersed crowd of casual viewers, problem like this need a small but extremely dedicated group that will stay involved through the extremely difficult and sure to long process required to develop effective representative government in Africa. This video has some good going for it, but it’s no real solution.

    • FFRT says:

      I agree! your comment shows the reality of the situation, if only more people could share this point of view.
      like you said if you truly want to help you must be dedicated and have a proper understanding of the problem

      • Gen Y says:

        Agreed. I find it interesting that the most opinionated people havent heard of him before. Its sad that so many people will blindly support a cause without delving deeper.

  110. 42luv says:

    wow! this is awesome 🙂
    I love that this is being discussed at all in a rational adult manner 🙂
    While I did ‘know’ that there were awful things happening over in Africa involving children… I did not know until watching this video Who Kony was or even about the LRA.
    As one of the ‘uninformed’, I would just like to say that in general… most of us do recognize when we are watching a commercial… However, there is a reason that advertising is the big business that it is…. IT WORKS!
    The only thing I didn’t like about this article was that it seemed like it was trying to make me feel like a fool for not knowing who Kony was and that I am a fool to believe that maybe… just maybe… if enough people say “enough is enough already!” then they can make a difference.
    So, o.k. I am woefully uninformed and letting my government know that I do care about children in Africa won’t solve the world’s problems. But I am not a fool, and I do believe that getting people to discuss issues will result in some great brainstorming that just might help make it a better place.
    and that is what I do like about this article… People are talking 🙂

  111. elisebbrown@hotmail.com says:

    Firstly, I disagree when you say only a few people don’t know who Kony is – I certainly did not until this campaign, and I am fairly sure a large proportion of the British population also do not. I am educated adult, a teacher, I watch the news and I read a lot. If I didn’t know, and my partner didn’t know, then I am surely not alone.

    Secondly, whilst it might be true that Ugandans are in favour of an amnesty (in view of the fact that the perpetrators are victims themselves) it states nowhere in the video that this will not be an ongoing policy. As far as I am aware, this will still be in place, although correct me if I am wrong. The video states clearly that the emphasis is on ‘stopping’ Kony (as you say yourself several times) and not on rounding up all members of the LRA. Now it may be true that this is a possibility should Kony be captured, but I do not think that this is the intention of invisible children. But, yes, perhaps they should think/ are already thinking of how to deal with this issue should it arise.

    And, no, perhaps the video does not explicitly mention that this is the ‘longest period of peace since the conflict began’, but it does reference that Uganda currently does not see the scenes that were filmed with Jacob in 2003. It also states clearly that Kony is biding his time as he has done in the past, and that there is intelligence to suggest that he will resurface.

    Also, you speak of this joint responsibility between the LRA and the Ugandan government for ‘systemic and structural violence and displacement’. Whilst this is true and clearly should be addressed, surely by removing Kony from the equation one half of the whole should be considerably weakened?

    I am not saying that this campaign is perfect. I am also not saying that it will resolve all conflict in Uganda. What I am saying is that the video comes with an incredibly powerful message; that we should try to protect each other as citizens of the world. Whatever has been done so far has failed, that much is evident. Surely it is worth trying if nothing else?

    • Alex Masters says:

      “Secondly, whilst it might be true that Ugandans are in favour of an amnesty (in view of the fact that the perpetrators are victims themselves) it states nowhere in the video that this will not be an ongoing policy. As far as I am aware, this will still be in place, although correct me if I am wrong.”

      The Ugandan Amnesty Act of 2000 ends in May of this year.

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  113. Chris says:

    I feel this article makes a very important point of the poor governance of the northern Ugandan area and Central Africa as a whole. Without a legitimate government with a strong set of laws (which develop over time) ‘stopping’ a huge organization such as the LRA is near to impossible. And the history of Africa (i know this is very general) shows that these organizations thrive in conflict zones where ordinary people count for very little. and this will continue until Africa is governed properly i.e not by a group of corrupt, greedy and flawed politicians. And I know people will say well western countries are governed by corrupt politicians but definitely not to the same degree or consequence.

  114. Nicole says:

    I’m offended at being lumped in with those back-woodsy Americans who would rejoice at the death of Bin Laden and feel true justice in their hearts for such when all I did was see a message that needed to be shared–because actually, I’m a pretty avid follower of world news and I’d never heard of this man in Western Canada. I’m sure I am not alone in that. To criticize the tone of the film is an elitist response that is not necessary. I find this article trashy–especially when it questions the involvement of the filmmaker’s son. Do you have children? How do you explain something like this to them? Do you shield them from it? I think he tastefully explains what is going on and shows that his views make a difference in his household and his son idolizes his hard work in Africa. If you look at that and see sensationalized storyline—that’s pretty cynical. He made a video that would appeal to the masses so that it would do just that.

  115. complicated. says:

    Wrong action for the right reason is easy to fix. Right action for the wrong reason is far more challenging.

  116. Who cares how you go about helping as long as it’s done! Trying to make what they’re trying to do less important is sickening to me. You do realize that by doing this you have jeopardized their cause and therefore cause these children to suffer longer!! It’s people like you that make this world the place it is today! You can’t just support the cause you have to bash it! Find something wrong about it! Well you know what I support it with all my heart and soul you know why because those children over there are children of God and no matter what you or anyone says about it that’s the ONLY reason I need to save them! You need to grow a heart and worry less about all the underlining facts and more about the ones that are suffering. That’s what God would want and who are YOU to go against him?

  117. Sora says:

    What we have to remember here is that this huge situation and upheaval that Kony 2012 has recently caused was practically over in 2006. Recruitment rates have decreased by over 80% and to my understanding, there is now less than 1,200 soldiers (even without Joseph Kony himself not being active in this for over 5 years) and the government has already tried to intervene before as well. Sending soldiers to Uganda presently (like this campaign is trying to pressure people into spamming their government over social media sites) would not be a wise choice at all. I have also heard that while they are asking people to donate to them and buy their merchandise, only about 31% of all that money is actually going to the direct cause, the rest is blatantly spend on the employees, staff and production of their 11 movies they have already made. While this has increased awareness of who Kony is to the youth of North America (like myself), it is also obviously the wrong movement to be supporting. Angrily rebelling against the way the government currently works will NOT help these remaining child soldiers in Africa. I haven’t thought of a real solution to this problem (if there even happens to be one) but it is certainly not putting your money into movie productions like these.

  118. Ryan says:

    interesting facts.

    – Invisible Children last year spent only 32% of their money actually helping people in the country concerned (in other words find a better place to donate!)
    – Their money funds the Ugandan military and other forces which are themselves accused of rape and looting on a large scale (which devil are you replacing him with?)
    – Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn’t been since 2006 and is in fact sick, starving, and on his last legs and there are real peace talks going on (great message just a bit late!)
    – How about spreading a video about the MILLIONS of poor, downtrodden, sick, wounded, defenceless that NATO has killed by bombing schools, towns, hospitals, whilst people sleep peacefully at night in order to get OIL and BANKING RIGHTS in new countries. And no, taking a few vaccines to their sick does not make up for it.

  119. Abdi says:

    Very well written and articulated post Mark! I commend you for taking the unpopular but right stance on this matter.

    – Abdi (LCI represent) lol

  120. milkmanjpl says:

    As far as I can tell, the purpose of “Kony 2012” is to simply raise awareness. Yes, their tactics are hyperbolic and somewhat self-serving (then again, who can blame a film-maker for putting his son in a movie?), but be careful not to retaliate with the same use of hyperbole. I mean, were you really “stupefied” by their approach to raise awareness about a known criminal? If so, then your response would not have been so well thought out and well-written. So clearly, you exaggerate a bit as well. If they want to raise awareness, then they have achieved their goal, and the facts will crystallize with the help of people like you to help steer our collective attention. Yes, the problem is largely systemic, as with most trends that negatively affect a society; but reform has to start somewhere. In the meantime, I pray people will be motivated now to learn more for themselves and take their attention away from “Real Housewives” and apply it to real problems in the world.


    Here is just one more ally to help crystallize the facts. Well done.

  121. Greg says:

    Oh look… God has entered the conversation.

  122. Chris says:

    You blindly go along with a campaign without questioning it. all this article is trying to do is show that the video wasnt the whole story. Get over yourselves! Much more is needed than this pretentious campaign to ‘stop’ kony. I dont dispute that it is an important issue but just satisfying yourselves that you saw the video therefore i understand what is wrong is frankly moronic

    • FFRT says:

      one of the most sensible comments ive seen so far

    • Dawn Larsen says:

      Why the assumption that we will watch the video, and stop there? You don’t believe that most of us are capable or willing to research a subject once it is brought to our attention?

      • chris says:

        i bet 99% of people that are tweeting #stopkony etc will not read up anymore and this extemely flawed campaign will be another failed attempt to ‘save’ Africa

    • Robyn says:

      Sure 99 % of people aren’t going to actively get involved. Thank you, Captain Obvious for pointing out that our world is lazy and far to self-involved to actually go beyond clicking a link on facebook. But do you know what 1% could do? Can’t you see what 1% has already done? Take your blind internet-safe pessimism elsewhere, there is good in this world whether you care for it or not. I have never understood the sick need people have to punch holes in campaigns like these, that have nothing but humane intentions, no matter how lofty their ambitions are.

      • chris says:

        maybe realistic ambitions would be a better option then. if the ambitions are lofty and unrealistic whats the point. at the end of the day its to make a significant difference or else why bother. getting some rich white middle americans to complain about how bad africa is. like people didnt already know. is just self satisfying crap

      • rofl. more seriously I agree. so many of us are not going to respond on here.

      • Robyn says:

        This is an argument that goes in circles regardless of the cause at hand. There are valuable points to be made for both Sides. The only thing i have left to say is that Im not some white rich american kid. I live in Africa. I wake up to the kind of poverty that would probably make even the coldest of people/you weep, I need to do things to better other people’s lives to justify my own. It’s not self satisfying. It’s the only way we deserve to share the same earth. And whether I chose to manifest that need in this campaign or one of the many, many others it should not matter to people like you; it’s doing you no harm or injustice, and it’s doing someone else the world of good.

  123. Alex says:

    Foreign Aid has completely screwed Africa. How can people expect Countries to sustainably develop by throwing cash at corrupt governments.

    • Garima says:

      Well said.

    • melanie says:

      Because of course ‘Africa’ is one place with just one issue right? (Sarcasm)! Africa is a CONTINENT, with many countries and many deeply rooted causes for the plethora of problems that persist to ruin the lives of millions of people in it.
      Foreign Aid has indeed caused a great deal of harm, because there’s often no contextual understanding of the situation on the part of those foreigners who want to help. This campaign however is not about giving ‘money to a problem’, its about raising the awareness of an issue which has raged for decades, to the death – murder, rape, abuse – of hundreds of thousands of innocent children, who deserve the opportunity for a better a life than the one that’s been handed to them. If more people put in the effort to do something great for those who are oppressed, including ‘Us Africans’ for our own African (though many do but those stories never get reported) then the world, and ‘Africa’ would be a better place

  124. Kaitlyn King says:

    If this guy doesn’t get stopped the kids he’s brain washing will corrupt the world, they are the futuer…. Something needs to be done!

  125. Lina says:

    I just wanted to leave a comment saying thank you for writing this blog. I totally believe that Kony 2012 is an amazing campaign for awareness – but I think it’s very superficial and after April 20, will become a “Thing of the past” for most students making it viral right now. I also think its SOO important to see both sides of the story, which your post has done nicely. So thank you. I know how hard it is sometimes to stand up for what you believe in

    • Mark Kersten says:

      Thanks for seeing this blog in its rightful context – as one which contributes to ongoing debates and seeks to provide alternative views – in a productive way. Thank you!

  126. Wynks says:

    Here’s the thing you have to notice… There has been major national news coverage on lots of social media “efforts” such as the “I like it on _____” Campaign which was supposed to increase breast cancer awareness.

    In reality it doesn’t matter how inaccurate the information in the video is. As the campaign reaches national news coverage, the reality of the situation will come out.

    • “It really doesn’t matter how accurate the information in the video is”. That is one incredibly dangerous precedent to set for any cause, regardless of merit. Whether or not the intentions of the journalists or campaigners are championing a just cause or not, misinformation will lead to improper solutions and a misconstruing of reality by the majority of those hearing the message who are not informed enough to think objectively about what they hear. While the HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS must end, the situation is too complicated to simply “stop Kony” and expect everything to be ok. The nation itself is in a mess, one we initially created when we redrew all of Africa’s borders from a conference of white imperialists in Berlin. These issues must be considered when creating a solution. To get emotional and ignore the need for facts because Kony is a bad man would only create a solution from misinformed minds that will create just as many problems as it solves (just like every other time we’ve made decisions for Africa without their input/consent.

      So yes, something must be done, but the reality of the situation doesn’t come from a lack of initial reality. We must practice journalistic integrity in all of our outlets and be truly objective, putting information in its correct context when used. If we don’t follow this guideline solutions will be flawed and we’ll just be having another campaign against Kony’s replacement for 2014.

  127. Erica says:

    I think people need to step back for a second and take a look at what we’re really dealing with here. The point of this video, and this entire campaign for that matter, was to raise awareness. The reason why awareness had to be raised was so that the US government would agree to continue supporting the cause. So what if there are a few holes in Invisible Children’s method toward achieving their goals? The whole point in sending this thing viral was so that World Leaders would notice and actually try and help the Ugandans! If the West’s reasons behind spreading this news are morally flawed and for the wrong reasons ( eg. getting a like on facebook) then so what! The fact of the matter is the news needs to be spread in order for world superpowers, like the US, to actually invest time and money into this project, which is exactly what “KONY 2012” has done and I say well done to them.

    • Gen Y says:

      The main point was to make money. About 70% which goes to employers etc. Do you thi k they will turn down a pay rise after this to help africa?

  128. Sarah says:

    Clearly Mark didn’t educate himself enough about the invisible children or their movement. That became evident when i saw the statement in the article about how there was more about “the 5 year old white kid” in the film then the children of Uganda. If you look back at their older films better yet their FIRST film they made when they went to Uganda to educate themselves about the issue you will notice that this film was more of a follow up and to keep everyone informed about their progress.

  129. Lyne Lange says:

    I think you have misunderstood the premise behind making Joseph Kony “famous”. I know in my area of the very few people have ever heard of him. I hadn’t until my daughter spent time in Uganda working with some of those child soldiers. I choose to get the word out thee by whatever means possible. I have children in Africa that I love deeply and their safety is of utmost concern to me. If making a name famous can stop a man before wer have another holocaust, then I will shout that name as loud as I can. I’m not irrational in my desire to help these children and I’m not going into this thing uninformed, but I do give my support to this campaign. Thank you for your time.

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  131. Eleven11 says:

    Thank you for posting this. I’m really conflicted because I like to consider myself someone who thinks critically about things – yet I bought into this film wholeheartedly, and even started spamming with links, even though thats something I don’t usually do. I think just seeing Jacob breakdown midway through really touched something in me. Now that I look at the video more critically, after reading criticisms like this, I start to feel a little angry at that kind of (effective) manipulation.

    At the same time, I really am glad that I’m aware of this now, because even if I can’t make a difference now, it might get me thinking about how I can make a difference in the future. I’d heard about the horrible atrocities that happened in Uganda from my Anthropology lecturer, but it never embedded in my mind like this video did. I’ll always hold that scene with Jacob in my mind. I appreciate the way we can use technology to do this.

    At the same time, Invisible Children are promoting more than awareness, they’re promoting an agenda. Therefore, criticism like this is just as, if not more valuable.

    • Kira says:

      It’s quite sad to see how easily my generation is manipulated. I wish more students would think like you! Somehow I managed to post a completely rational comment on this subject (between the thousands of links and status’ being spammed) and I got a huge retaliation from the mindless drones who think that because they support this movie and spam it as much as possible to raise “awareness” telling me i’m “Ignorant and a horrible evil person”. Kony began to die off in 2006 and is basically nothing by now. This whole thing is to raise money by distorting what happened over 6 years ago (which nobody knew about, so they think it’s happening right this moment) and make a bunch of kids believe that they must “raise awareness” and “share this link” So thank you for actually taking the time to think 🙂 *rant over*

    • Mark Kersten says:

      Thanks for the comment Eleven11. The video undoubtedly has led to an outpouring of responses many making similar points about how the film had touched them. I’m glad that you have taken the measured stance of watching the video and reading some of its critiques. In that way, we can have both awareness and understanding.

  132. Holly Williams says:

    Maybe Kony was well known, but I had never heard of him before today. I watched the video, which moved me to do additional research and I still came to the same conclusion that Kony needs to be stopped and needs to pay for his crimes. This campaign can only be viewed as a good thing. They are not stating that stopping Kony will solve all the problems, but it is a start. It is the beginning they have chosen. Join or don’t. But putting down the campaign is what I consider ‘moronic’. Think of it this way…if I give a homeless man $10 for a meal I haven’t solved his problem at all, but what I did was better than doing nothing. This movement will inspire people to get involved to get informed! And, just to be clear, the video did point out that Uganda is experiencing peace. That is why Jacob came to America to speak for the new areas that Kony had moved into. I’m all for presenting both sides of a situation, believe me, but I really don’t care about Kony’s side.

  133. get real says:

    Most americans dont know who the vice president is….. of course they dont know who the hell kony is. this is a step for americans. mabe its not intirely accurate but its somthing. Its kindof like occupy- not incredibly specific in solutions but it made ameicans look up from there i-phones and say, “wait, we can change things?” You can critisize the kony video if you like but in truth atleast people are looking things up!

  134. Really? One would ask someone to tone down the effort to stop a man who does this? It’s funny how in our world we all call for justice yet when someone tries, there’s always the critic. We live in a disturbingly hypocritical world. I applaud the efforts of these filmmakers and Invisible Children. How can I look at my own children – specifically my 5 year old who is of the age when these kids are stolen – and not applaud their efforts and ask myself “what can I do?”.

    • Tiffany says:

      I support this cause, but I do think that we should always be thinking critically, because you can’t just plow your way through these kinds of issues and completely disregard the politics, context, history, etc. There is something to be said for tempering our response and pacing ourselves and actually understanding what we’re fighting for, so that we don’t turn Kony 2012 into a fleeting trend… because then where does that get us?

  135. Tobias Matys says:

    I think that actually, the main point of ‘Kony 2012’ is to show that through social media, the times have changed. It is now possible for a big part of the civilization to form a group and to pursue a goal together. I think of ‘Kony 2012’ as a key situation, which could and if successful, will trigger further such actions. And besides: Why are you criticizing a man – not a politician- who takes initiative by himself for a good cause. It may not be flawless, but WHO CARES? It does make the world a better place, doesn’t it?
    Yet, I am open for discussions.

    • chris says:

      how does it make the world a better place. children are still going to be abducted and Africans are still going to have wars. All it is is a self satisfying campaign for wealthy westerners to make themselves feel better about how wealthy and well off they are. nothing has changed

  136. Lizzy says:

    I really enjoyed this article. I’ve been doing a lot of research on this campaign trying to form my own view on it. In my opinion, this campaign is doing more than just bringing justice for the Invisible Children and everyone Kony and his LRA has brought harm to, but it’s shedding light upon humanity and how if you bring enough attention to something, things can get done. This was once an idea in some guys head and it’s turned into something big. Despite all of the wrongs in this campaign as well as its false advertisement and huge holes in the story, it has good intentions which is what I like. As you can see I definitely acknowledge the faults, but I am for the idea of stopping Kony and the idea of this huge viral campaign for its social effects rather than content.

    Also, I understand the point made about the film maker having his son in the film instead of mainly featuring Ugandan youth, but I feel it was more of an advertising tactic in an attempt to make the video geared more towards showing that even young people, as young as his son, agree that this is horrible and needs to be stopped. I feel it added a sense of innocence.

  137. dax says:

    When children in the world are being ABUSED is it better to sit idly by and DO NOTHING? At least this film-maker is trying to do some good in the world. If you think you could present a better solution to a major world problem, then why don’t you DO IT!!!???? Instead of just thumbing your nose this guy’s sincere efforts?

  138. Lisa M says:

    Daniel- have you ever gone to Africa? By all accounts your critique was well researched and eloquent. But you go to Africa, you feel the fear, and taste the savage brutality that resides within Africans everyday. You look look into some of those parents eyes whose kids have been taken and you tell me it’s over and part of history.
    The genocide that happens all over Africa should never go unnoticed or be tolerated.
    The fact that someone has taken the initiative to help and try and make a difference is far more admirable than some blogger sitting behind a computer hiding behind words and ripping it apart offering no alternatives or solutions.

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  140. chris says:

    It doesnt matter if you raise awareness about kony. Western powers arent going to send in significant numbers of troops to stop him and the Ugandans definitely wont pursue him on there own because he can slip in and out of countries as he pleases the Congans dont have sufficient border controls. People know about Robert Mugabe and other people who are doing even more horrific things but no country is going to do anything about it unless its in their interest. it is a sad fact, but its unrealistic to assume that because people know who kony is that western countries are going to spend vast amounts of money on getting him when its not in their interest and if they wanted or needed to do something about him they would have by now. and even if you captured kony countries arent going to spend huge amounts of money on a campaign to tread about the jungle to wipe out the LRA.

    • FFRT says:

      its the same with syria. becuase theres no benefit for any government to help the syrians, no action is being taken. i respect how its raising awareness but today on the news this knoy stuff took over 20 mins of the news while in syria 63 citizens had just been killed. emotions usually dont play a huge role in the government 😦

      • chris says:

        i cant think of a time where a government has intervened when it hasnt been in their interest. I think the campaign could be more succesful if they approached the UN more than the American govt. but they are usually just as useless.

    • Rachel says:

      what a weird thing to take exception to. Out of all the things in the world to complain about you choose to complain about helping people because it doesn’t seem fair to you? That’s a pretty unfulfilling way to spend your time and will make you an unhappy person.

    • Tom says:

      Just cause that’s the way it is doesn’t mean it’s they way it should be and it doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. Oh and australias intervention in east Timor was entirely altruistic. Also stop name stoping the only African leader(dictator) prick you’ve ever heard of.

      • chris says:

        Australia went into east timor because in the second world war many timorians had died for australia so they felt they would be ridiculed if they didnt intervene. political.

      • chris says:

        also im from zimbabwe so i have a good idea whats going on there and that is why i mention him in particular

      • Tom says:

        Don’t you think the rest of the world should be ridiculed for standing idly by while this sort of thing happens anywhere I don’t care if you don’t think it’s the right thing to do it’s better than nothing mate and your not gonna change the world sitting around whining about it it’s a start and it’s the first time I’ve seen this many people give a damn about anything Africa

      • chris says:

        But the only action that would deal with this problem would have to be very large. and I dont mean large as in 65 million people knowing who he is i mean expense of money and human life.because just finding and capturing kony would be expensive and dealing with the whole LRA would be like another war in Afghanistan because of terrain difficulty and the problem of the LRA being operational in a number of different countries. This campaign is to raise awareness about kony but that by itself wont do anything. a very large military campaign would be the only option, maybe not to capture kony but to deal with the LRA. because just satisfying ourselves by capturing kony, wouldnt be enough and no country is going to want to involve themselves in this, if there is little benefit for them. its just fact. good intentions are good intentions but the reality is you need more than to capture kony and western governments wont want to. especially in these difficult economic times.

  141. JDR says:

    Follow the money… great ideas and I love the spreading of awareness but….


  142. Zoe says:

    I think it is interesting that you say in your article that Uganda is currently experiencing relative peace. You also say that the LRA and Kony have moved away from Uganda. Did the video, KONY 2012 not say that Kony has changed his tatics since learning that the American Military are now part of the search for him? Could the period of relative peace in Uganda be because of the LRA and Kony moving out of the area? For me this is the obvious conclusion although I can not claim to know a lot about Ugandan affairs.
    I think that in your article you make many of the same mistakes that you accuse KONY 2012 of making: not giving all the information.

  143. Teresa says:

    you know it’s easy to poke holes in anyone’s efforts. The truth is, these situations are impossibly complex and the more you think about it, the more helpless it seems. There is no perfect problem or perfecct solution. So here are the options: (1) do nothing but sit around, chat about it from our comfy chairs and mutually indulge in the tragedy and hopelessness of the situation (2) take a first step, even if misdirected, in hopes that something might come out of it. The second option is scarrier, much harder and more likely to result in failure and embarassement. But I still respect it more than the former. Maybe time would be better spent in offering learned insight on how to improve the approach rather than criticse the effort.

  144. Laura says:

    I wanted to weigh in on one point. You question whether Kony isn’t already sufficiently widely known. I did not know him until today. And I worked in the international development sector for some time. You live and breathe this every day, but even someone working in a different discipline in the third sector will not necessarily be conversant in your area. My awareness has been raised, I am moved to take action, and I am a critical thinker who will explore the action alternatives before committing to a course, informed by experts such as yourself. Don’t underestimate the power of the mere awareness this has generated. And don’t expect each of the newly aware to fall in line behind a simplistice solution to a complex problem – step in and embrace the newly motivated rather than derogating us. Help us identify ways to mobilize. It is easy to poke holes in arguments and to criticize the overenthusiastic Labrador in all of us as unsubtle and uninformed. It is harder, but more productive to join with this newly mobilized force and help to direct their actions to the highest leverage actions. Help us to help you.

  145. Thank you, sir. I thought I might have been being a bit of a jerk when I listened to the film maker prattle on about his life and his son. I thought, what the hell does your son really have to do with the plight you are trying to highlight? It seems too self-absorbed to me. The idea is good, but the ego is getting in the way.

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  147. Lindsay Brown says:

    The problem is much more ingrained than simply … lets get media attention and then we ill catch him … by dad is in the British army and has seen what these rebels do up close and personal .. it has been going on longer than many care to think and the corrupt government over there know it exits but many are part of it. There are more where kony come from. It is not just him. Until the government in the country has been sorted out then making any amount of difference will be difficult indeed. These rebels are strong and many are in cahoots with the government. People need to look deeper into a problem than is twisted and entwinned in many ways

    • Rachel says:

      Are you doing anything to help Lindsey? I understand what you are saying, but you haven’t offered any solution that people can take action on. It’s a complex terrible problem and maybe we can’t solve it but standing by doing nothing is not good enough. It sounds like you know your stuff. What can people DO?

      • Laura says:

        Agree – Exactly my point above – what can I do? I want to help but there are mostly self righteous opinions about what won’t work. That part is easy.

      • Mark Kersten says:

        Thanks for the comment, Rachel, Lindsay and Laura. I think there is a solution and a way to help. There are many groups in northern Uganda and LRA-affected areas that work on peaceful resolutions to the conflict. You can support them and understand their work (groups like Acholi Religious Peace Initiative, the Refugee Law Project, etc.). If you are interested in my own views on finding a solution, check out the latest post: https://justiceinconflict.org/2012/03/09/taking-kony2012-down-a-notch-responding-to-criticism/ Thanks again for taking the time to read and engage.

  148. Michael says:

    the real issue stems from the fact that everyone here is basing their bias on the basis of this ONE video they put out. Invisible Children have been around for 9+ years and have been trying to get something done and heard for that long. The problem is people are JUST NOW hearing about it. This article says we should all know, BUT WE DON’T and secondly if you take a minute to actual watch other videos, read their thoughts and blogs, see where the money goes, and take a logical step back you will know exactly their intentions, why they do what they do, where they are working, and how they plan to stop Kony, and what to do afterwards. The problem is you all have your heads so far up your asses trying to be politically correct, or to have the right answer when the truth is all you have to do see its not about you. Its about saving those kids and giving them a better life. The writer says they talked to people and they say they have peace. Of course they do they aren’t the children that have been kidnapped and forced to kill their own parents. Talk to them and tell me you feel the same way. Because that is what the founders of Invisible Children did, they talked to those affected not those surrounding the affected. Wake up people and see that your own selfish desires stem your pessimism and your cynicism. Learn the value of life and stop putting down people trying to make a difference and instead help them get there.

  149. People are so close minded…losing all hope in humanity is the only excuse for people who want to believe that this organization is a fraud. For one – recall that the primary focus fo the video is to RAISE AWARENESS. Which it does. Listen, no matter what charity comes along, or good cause, they will all be questioned because people can’t see past the damn horizon. Get your heads out of your asses and have some damn hope. There are good people out there, trying to do the right thing, believe it or not. I support KONY 2012, and it’s a shame if you are too close minded to see only the negative from anything that comes across as positive in this world. Having hope in something good, and making a difference doesn’t have to have to make sense. It just has to be right in your heart.

    • chris says:

      hope doesnt stop countless African countries from maming and killing each other like they have done for centuries. Also just because it is right in someones heart doesnt mean anything will come from it. raising awareness for wealthy westerners to pontificate how sad it is in poor old africa doesnt help anyone. lets just all make a video about how sad the world is. this isnt anything new, stuff like this happens everywhere everyday. why concentrate on this issue when Robert Mugabe is kicking innocent white farmers off of their land. the reason that doesnt make headlines is because you cant stick a picture of a hungry african kid on the front.

      • Tom says:

        And what exactly do you suggest we do sit around and say bugger that’s just the way the world is. If somethings right in your heart that’s exactly the reason to do it and if you had any clue about the situation with Mugabe you’d think about it differently the guys a bastard but the reasons he’s giving the white farmers the boot is because they when it was still under British rule all African farmers were booted off the good land so these same white farmers could own it all and I’m talking nearly al the best farming land, then when independence comes round these same white farmers decided they wanted to maintain a white minority rule and implemented systems similar to south African apatheid and killed hundreds of Africans so what is happening to those poor white farmers is a result of the last century first white colonial rule and then civil war. As for the media wanting the starving child that’s true there’s only 2 ways Africans are portrayed in the media victims or villains, I’ve worked slot in Africa and lived there for quite a while and they are so much more than what they are perceived as in the west and you are just as influenced by the medias false portrayal as anyone so don’t try and get all high and mighty

      • chris says:

        so you obviously think kicking white farmers who have lived there for generations and know how to farm and replacing them with natives who have no idea how to work the land productivly or profitably is right or justified. just because it was a colony for a couple hundred years doesnt mean people can just be kicked off of their land.

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  151. Chelsea says:

    How could you be so heartless? People are always complaining about the media doing everything wrong.. brain washing us kids. Well honestly, I think getting involved in making the world a better place is something alot better than what you think we get brain washed in (sex, drugs and rock and roll). There is always someone who is going to complain about every situation.. I’m complaining about you guys complaining and soon after, you all will be complaining about me complaining about you complaining. Which is not nessesary.
    We all should be proud of Jason Russell making such an impact on the world to save so many lives. He and we are doing all we can and judging us would just be useless.
    I am 16 years old and I am going to follow what moves me. And ‘Kony 2012’ has succeeded to. I bought the ‘Kony 2012’ Action kit and two tee-shirts. I am in NO WAY doing what I can to ‘fit in’ or ‘follow the crowd’, but to be a better person, do what I know is right and help kids like Jacob.
    My name is Chelsea and I’m spreading the word for the heartless people like you.

  152. TheCarlos says:

    Good lord, what have I done? I apologize. Fairness should have compelled me to take into consideration the legitimate reasons an armed group might have to kidnap children and rape young girls. I am so very sorry for my naivete.

    • Saim Inayatullah says:

      Explaining the context for a situation doesn’t do anything to suggest that the situation *should* be that way. There’s a reason behind every crime, that doesn’t make that reason legitimate.

      Understanding the “baddies” doesn’t give them power, it gives you power because then you better know how to deal with them.

      • Mark Kersten says:

        I could not agree more with this comment, Saim – thanks for taking the time and effort to make it.

  153. shelby says:

    I agree with most of the points made, especially the poor governance, but I am actually appalled that you assume supporters of the campaign where in the streets celebrating Bin Laden’s death. I was disgusted my Americans celebration of that event and the media coverage that ensued. Not all of the supporters are uneducated douche bags.

    • Saim Inayatullah says:

      ” I don’t think it is a stretch to suggest that *many* of the same individuals who will form the legion of participants in ‘Kony 2012′ were on the streets celebrating the killing of Osama bin Laden.”

      The keyword is *many*. Not *all*, *many*. Which is probably true given the scale of the Kony 2012 movement.

  154. Steven Blancher says:

    Wise man once say. You can only solve a math problem by starting at the beginning. Though there may be millions of issues and of course a much more complex situation in the country, my response to anyone who critiques this with the goal of taking it down a notch is… what’s wrong with raising awareness and raising money for an org which you yourself said has done a great job. Guess gaining a little fame from speaking more or less against the movement is the right of any person. First time I heard from you, last time I’ll hear from you most likely.

  155. Peyton says:

    Sure, the organization might have its flaws and they might n

  156. Nlr says:

    Any time we can get young people to become passionate about these kind of humanitarian issues it is a good thing. The One campaign is what got me started as a college student and it changed the way I think about how much difference one voice can make. That is the real benefit here. Coming from a generation of young people who don’t even vote because they feel like their opinions don’t count in this country has been saddening and frustrating. Any time we have a chance to change that perception we have a responsibility to this country and to our world and children to sport it

  157. Carla says:

    This is bullshit. A lot of the world’s biggest problems are/were solved through awareness. The more we talk about it the more likely it will go away. ALSO, Invisible Children is NOT trying to accomplish an ultimate state of peace in Uganda, they’re just trying to capture Kony to BEGIN the process of bringing the LRA down. There always have to be a first step and I support this campaign fully.

  158. Leah says:

    I had never heard of Kony nor did I have any clue as to what he was doing. If not for the Kony 2012 campaign I would probably never known. I’m grateful that this was brought to my attention via Facebook and that I can help make more people aware. How could you possibly find fault in trying to save lives. Whatever way they choose to do it is better than not trying at all.

  159. Girl101 says:

    You all think too much. This is the future we’re looking at now. We need to make people aware. Don’t question it. Just become aware. So when Kony and his projects are finally over, we could all feel relief, not question a damn video. Just another Hitler and Bin Ladin that needs to be caught – end of story.

    Take it down a notch? Get over yourself.

  160. Ernesto says:

    This is a typical article of a person who knows politics and the problematic going up in Uganda much better than most of us. (or at least me) But I think he does not get the point what the campaign is all about. Its about spreading the word!!! In my twenty five years of life I have lived in the US, Mexico and Germany and nobody I know has ever mentioned the name Kony. In german I would say klugscheißer. So the conflict is much more complicated as shown in the video….daaaa I think everyone would suppose that. So don´t panic and criticize, make a campaign that shows the reality and solves the problem the way you would like. Ha not so easy right. Lets get more people involved!!!! Saludos!!

  161. Peyton says:

    Sure, the organization might have its flaws and they didn’t completely explain all the details and they don’t have all the answers to the what ifs, but they are making a difference. Let’s be honest, Americans are thought to be lazy, money hungry, egotistical, control freaks and maybe be we are, but you can’t say we don’t care about the other people that inhabit this globe with us. As its said in the video, “If this happened one night in America it would be on the cover of Newsweek.” And he is right, it would. I would like to think that of we were willing make the story front page news because it happened to an American why is not a big deal when it happens to any other person on the planet? A child is a child and although they may live on the other side of the world, no child deserves to be kidnapped, raped, or be forced to kill anyone. I agree that this should be stopped. No human is able to tell what may come of this, and I honestly something good comes out of all this, but no matter we made a difference. We don’t have all the answers, but if we don’t truly how will we ever know?

  162. jason says:

    i am going to go get kony myself and be a modern day hero!!!!! join the revolution!!!!!

  163. Sam Lee says:

    Despite the American Marketing machine in this campaign, it is an honest and sincere step. KONY 2012’s design is not to rebuild and fix the underlying problem of Uganda and its region. It is a very specific and targeted campaign with one immediate action item. I do agree that people in the West should be better informed in how to take action on social injustice in a helpful manner compared to what the West have done for the last century. Which have been mostly out of ignorance and in many ways have hurt the continent. I’m believing through this campaign many people will have heard about this type of problem for the first time and to some degree minimize the culture of convenient ignorance. Social injustices are complex systematic problems in our society. At least KONY 2012 is giving many people the first step to walk away from ignorance. Now… besides critiquing, what are YOU doing?

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  165. WBNS says:

    Sure, you can write an article about anything in the world. On the other hand, someone can also write an article about how your article does not make sense… and so on. Same with this video and Kony 2012. Their goal was to raise awareness… and obviously they have. To waste time pontificating over the practicality of “stopping” Joseph Kony is adolescent.

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  167. Laurie says:

    I was doing research on KONY 2012 and IC and came across this site. While I appreciate your article in providing a broader/ different perspective, I find the reader comments below it equally if not more helpful.

    Apathy is not an option. Criticism is easy, and more specifically, not helpful if it’s not constructive. Anybody can bring anybody else down a notch. Providing viable alternatives would have created an outstanding article and an honorable, and possibly far-reaching contribution in stopping this crime against humanity.

    Invisible Children / KONY 2012 is doing something extraordinary with social media to put a world spotlight on Joseph Kony. The founders are clearly passionate about the situation and have been acting on their passion for some 10 years. Their thoughtful, targeted viral campaign strategy could be the start of a massive trend in moving conflicts quickly out of the shadows, past political gridlock and on a fast track to resolution. The possibility KONY 2012 presents to us – a template for creating positive change in record time appeals to many many people.

    Is the film simplistic? Yes. Is it doing the job to build awareness? Oh yeah. Is IC responsible for resolving the conflict? I don’t think so. The founders of IC have a gift in telling a compelling story that, in turn, is compelling regular people like us to put pressure those who have the power to act to come up with an effective action plan and stop the atrocities. As for IC as a non-profit, it gets a 3 out of 4* rating on Charity Navigator. The attention this campaign is garnering is already shining a light on this 501 (c) 3: and will likely encourage the founders to review their organization, clean up any debris, fill credibility gaps and bring it to a 4*. All good.

    I look forward to any future articles you write that provide thoughtful, actionable solutions to this conflict. If justice in conflict is your passion – Act on it. You will be supported, on a global level.

  168. Rachel says:

    When an evil person is removed, killed, captured, another one can rise up, but you don’t leave a Hitler unchallenged. I also like many others had not heard about this until today. This is my own ignorance at what is happening in another part of the world, but I am not alone. The LEAST we can do when our brothers and sisters are hurting anywhere is hear about it, see it and offer our support in any way we can. The Invisible Children foundation may not have all the answers but they did what no one else has, they put this in our faces and asked us to DO SOMETHING

  169. Tom says:

    Firstly Joshua what are you talking about if this guy were a normal criminal you might be right but he’s a war criminal and as great a thing as the ICC is the arrest warrant means nothing the ICC has been operational for nearly 10 years now and hasnt successfully prosecuted one war criminal. These people are notoriously hard to capture and it’s not nearly as simple as you paint it especially because of issues such as state sovereignty and corruption.

    Secondly to the guy who wrote the article you make a lot of valid points but your not looking at the movie in the context of the actual scheme, it’s there as an advertisement and to get the most basic facts out there as quickly as possible and get people to look into the issue themselves it’s not just about raising awareness of kony that’s step 1 they want the world to be less ignorant of Africa as a whole and let’s be honest before they saw this video half the world couldn’t even point to Uganda On a map, invisible children have also said this is just the beginning stop kony i.e. a continuing threat to children and communities in the region (regardless of whether they are still operational in Uganda) and then start on the next issues in the region such as education, rehabilitation for child soldiers and corruption. Alot of the video talks about Uganda because that’s the background of the issue and just provides context. Also I saw an interview today with people from invisible children and they said that they want him captured and tried by the icc not killed so don’t twist their words mate.

    And to anyone who whines about the tone melodramatic think about how you might feel if your brothers and sisters were raped and you were forced to cut the faces off and shoot your parents.

  170. The only thing I’m amazed by is the swiftness with which this “the glass is half empty” rhetoric was posted. You’ve had to do a very careful dissection of the details in the video to come up with enough to fill this article. Instead of being the internet version of an immobile and always-unhappy Rush Limbaugh impersonator, why not put your need to criticize aside and HELP a little? Are you just unhappy because this idea wasn’t yours to birth? Seriously.

  171. Catherine Hildebrand says:

    My son who is 16 years old, brought this to my attention and asked that I watch the movie with him…He remembered that I included the issue of child soldiers in a power point presentation for a law class I was teaching…I am continually faced with the overwhelming ignorance of the western world with regard to attrocities happening each and every day around the world.
    My son wanted to know…I encourage all who want to demonstrate the power of one voice raised with other voices around the world regardless of race, colour or creed to join the fight to raise awareness about child atrocities everywhere!
    He is now waiting for his wrist band and T shirt…Who knows, Amnesty International may be next!
    Proud Mom!

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  173. Mari-chan says:

    My thoughts when I saw this movie… “Oh, this is not right! Something must be done to save these children… ” “Alright, these are the people they want us to contact and write to…” “Oh, I see. It is really a donation/money campaign. They want to *sell* their idea with bracelets and posters.” “Holy crap! They have some spendy looking vehicles. That is a awfully fancy HQ building…” “Where do people’s donations really go then?”

    And then I looked it up online at Charity Navigator as was suggested by John Green… … not the best score out there, but not the worst either. Just enough to make me a bit suspect, though. (I am, perhaps, a *bit* pessimistic!)

    All in all. It is a worthy cause… but I don’t foresee myself donating to their Invisible Children. I will, instead, contact my government/state reps and let them hear my voice and donate to charities that I know will do their best to get my donations where they need to go.

  174. Sian says:

    I think that’s a terrible attitude to have! For me – and probably a lot of other people- this campaign isn’t just about ‘stopping Kony’. This is about the world coming together and sharing campassion for one another. Kony has done some terrible things in the past and he is still out there somewhere… just like many more dangerous criminals! This is the beginning of something big, and we should be proud to be part of it! We are all coming together and sharing our beliefs. This can prove that WE can make a difference and change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in need of our help.

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  176. Rachel says:

    What concerns me is KONY 2012’s encouragement of bloodshed as a solution. What message are they spreading to the youth who will inevitably be caught up in the movement targeted directly toward them? Killing Kony in my eyes is the same as killing Osama bin Laden. Sure we’ve rid the world of a tyrant, but will it really solve the problems present in Uganda? Not at all, it can be argued that the government is almost as corrupt as the LRA themselves. By focusing completely on the death/ capture of Kony, I fear that if he is ever caught, the world’s attention will shift to other matters, and many will consider the problem solved. Kony is a terrible man who deserves persecution, but this should not be our priority. Kony’s campaign is supported by an impoverished and desperate population. Restoring Uganda to a country of peace and prosperity will not only put an end to Kony’s political influence, but will prevent a situation such as this from ever occuring again. We need to target our resources towards the people of Uganda, not towards military endeavours. Political stability often reflects the economic stability of a nation, while the video has done its part in raising awareness, I believe that it has circumvented the real issue by centering its views on the crimes of one man. What we really need to be asking ourselves is what allowed for the rise of the LRA, and how these underlying issues can be solved in order to prevent future conflict.

  177. Maria says:

    Seriously? Why do people have to think so negative about someone trying to make a differance. That’s the problem with the WORLD today. Negativity. In all its forms. We have to find someway to hate. Someway to judge because it makes us feel better. No one can do anything good in this world and help a person out without getting the 5th degree about it. I think its a wonderful cause! Will KONY 2012 go the distance and stop kony and hopfully his sendond in command as well and make a point that it can be done? There is a possibitly YES THERE IS. Were there’s a will. There’s a way. And no matter what. They man in the end has to answer to a higher power beside us. Just like bin laden did and as well as sadam and one day charles manson as well! I would rather be a person that tried to make a idfferance and did something good. Rather than be a mindless idiot in the world today worrying about some Facebook drama and what petty shit goes on in their lives as far as the internet goes. 2 out three girls in the us along would rather have big breasts than high GPA. More ppl would rather about about what’s going with kim kardashian and other shit on the tabloids with celebs and clothes and what’s cool. Worry about were the next party and how drunk and messeded up their ganna get tonight, who their ganna have sex with. I mean useless crap! I wouuld much rather worry about what’s going on the world for my sons sake. Good or bad and if I could help and make a differance I will. Its not cause I’m iggnorant or stupid. Its because I believe. I may not be politically correct and even memebers in congress aren’t and by far preident bush wasn’t either lol but I do have a voice. I do have reason. I can feel in my heart its right not in my mind. And if it fails. Then it does. But at least I can say I was strong enough and I tried and that in itself is enough to help me sleep better at night rather than sit back and weigh the opinons and options and what’s more right to do. So ask yourself. What feels right to you? What moves you. What makes you passionate? What makes you feel about yourself? I’m telling you there is no better feeling in the world knowing you have helped a complete stranger or even your closest relative and that you have made a differance someone in their life and they know that you care and that you are willing to put your life on hold to involve yourself in a good way in theirs…..its your call and your freedom that allows you to speak out on this. Men faught for our freedom so that we can voive our opinons and say and do as we please. We take it for granted everyday. At least we can give someone what a chance for these kids to be able to do the same. A step in the right direction. A chance for hope. That to me is worth more to methat all the riches in the world and whatever else you have to say neagtive on this situation. REAL TALK!

  178. xyllix says:

    As far as this blog post goes, I thank you for shedding some light on the subject.

    All the Recent Updates and News On:


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  180. Thanks for shedding some light on the subject, however your being partial and only looking at it from the worst perspective? so what if they get paid to do this? their doing it for a good cause! they could have possibly been killed all those times they went to uganda. Anyway. Thanks.

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  183. It cost $850000 to make Americans aware of the situation in Uganda, and Joseph Kony should have gone viral years ago. This exactly why you should donate.

  184. El Jefegrande says:

    Reading some of these comments scares the hell out of me. We only had a couple military advisers in Vietnam in the 50’s as well, and look how that turned out. It was also seen as a quick campaign that we would be out of in less than a year. Guess how many years we were in Vietnam for? guess how many lives we lost in it? Have you ever been to the Vietnam memorial in DC? All those lives were lost, and the beginning of that war began with a very similar tone as the Kony 2012 movement.

    It all started with the French asking us to back a government (the south Vietnamese) in their war against a rebel organization in the North called the Vietcong… Eerily similar right?

    • Rachel says:

      I agree that bloodshed is not a solution to the problem! We need to focus on why the LRA was able to take root in Uganda. Is the LRA a result of a desperate and impoverished population, or is it the people’s frusteration at the corruption of their government that fueled this movement? Engaging in military conflict will by no means solve the problems in Uganda, rather than focusing on killing the criminal, we should target our resources towards healing the nation.

      • El Jefegrande says:

        I agree that Uganda’s problems are systemic. And i agree with you that we need to avoid bloodshed. But here’s the reality, we don’t have Economic advisers in the country, we have military advisers, and this Kony 2012 business is only advocating for taking the guy out militarily (you need a military to arrest him). Id rather not have the possibility of my brother getting shipped out to Uganda to kill a man who does not effect my life in anyway, but you can bet he will effect my life if the Kony 2012 people get their way and we eventually enter into that country and my brother gets malaria or gets killed by one of the child soldiers they are trying to protect. I know people will say that they don’t want to use our own personal troops, but history tends to dictate that we will. Can’t argue with the many examples of interventionism in American History

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  186. Diandra D says:

    What amuses me about this blog is that after all the research I have done over the years (reading books, reports released by the ICC, and speaking with Ugandan natives) is that anyone thinks that this is just an issue about Uganda or could see the campaign as analogous to the capture of Osama bin Laden. The LRA no longer has any identifiable political purpose. Two no one is suggesting that the LRA is still terrorizing Northern Uganda on a large scale. Three the purpose of this campaign is and continues to be to force that promotes awareness. Two days ago no one cared, contrary to your unsupported assertions that everyone knows who Joseph Kony is. If that were true this movement would not happen because it would be similar to trying to gain momentum for something obvious. Imagine trying to start a movement whose slogan was Obama is the President. No one would blink because we all know this. KONY2012 allows for formal discourse to finally begin on a situation that has affected thousands while largely unseen outside of the affected region. Think about it. If the disappearance of Natalie Holloway deserves international attention, why should we pretend that this conflict that has spanned decades is not important.

  187. Cece says:

    Firstly, they do not just say if people knew about Kony that it would bring a stop to him, it’s saying that if everyone as a whole knew and fought for this cause, then the government wouldn’t be able to take out the troops anytime soon without a riot occurring.
    Secondly, I believe the reason why the video is focused more on Jacob than the entire population as a whole is because it’s easier for an audience to get an attachment to a sole person that they see and feel like they know. Referring back to Jacob is a way to keep the viewer connected to the video. And he says numerous times about his son that he is featured in it because he wants people to see that someone with so much innocence could, down the road, be affected by it. It also shows that his son, a ‘5-year old white son’, cares about this issue, and he can’t even comprehend half of the story. If a 5-year old can see it’s wrong, the rest of us should too.
    And thirdly, who says killing or capturing Kony won’t be enough? In order for the troops to get close enough to kill him, would it not require infiltrating their camps, killing several of his followers, and causing a little havoc? Relate to WWII and the death of Hitler. Because the armies were within the enemy lines and taking over, after Hitler’s death no one else was brave enough, or even capable, of attempting to reassemble his army and fight back.
    Just my opinion I guess. Take it for what it’s worth.

  188. Ray says:

    This article just made me sad for the person writing it. The funny thing is, this is exactly the type of apathy that IC has been fighting against since 2003! I’m not a maniac that got fired up because I watched a video called Kony 2012 and just couldn’t wait to get home and post it on Facebook. I’m a maniac because I’m a teacher and he kidnaps kids, murders and mutilates innocent people, and all to just keep power. I’m sad that someone wrote this artcle, used a bunch of big words, and once again is trying to tell people that we shouldn’t care about capturing Josephy Kony. I haven’t heard any better ideas coming from anywhere else around the world! It just makes me sad for the author. 😦 The point isn’t to raise awareness of the Ugandans…it’s to raise the awareness of the US citizens. I show the original documentary to my students every year and NO ONE knows him. again, just makes me sad. I suggest the people that are getting caught up in the hype go and watch the original Invisible Children documentary on Youtube. Then you will see that Kony 2012 didn’t just happen overnight, this is a 9 year work in progress. Become part of the solution, sir. I think the video talked about fear of change in how the world works. The rules have changed.

    • Kay says:

      Amen! I am a student at a high school. I was talking passionately about this in school today and the department head of social studies asked me if I would present this campaign to all the teachers. Now, the video will be shown in all the social studies classes! We need hope from somewhere. I am happy there are mpre people that ARE willing to have that hope than people -like the person who wrote this- who bash even the slightest bit of it.

  189. Erika says:

    I agree with the need to critically analyze the campaign – in truth, if this is an “awareness campaign” that is not properly representing the situation on the ground, the Ugandan people, and the specifics about what this campaign plans to carry out in the end (that it’s asking us all to participate in), it is leaving a lot to be desired. However, on the flip side, it is indeed sparking debate and I’m impressed with the number of people willing to take part in the debate – I knew of the situation and am learning far more in the past 3 days than I have in years since I graduated Uni.

  190. Cc says:

    I hope the following will help clear up some issues. I intend to leave my own opinion out of this.









    info@invisiblechildren.com // 619.562.2799
    From the website:
    “The LRA is currently practice in northern Uganda (where it originated) but it continues it’s campaign of violence In democratic republic of Congo, central African republic, and South Sudan.”

    1. That Joseph Coney is known as the worlds worst war criminal?

    2. That the U.S. military advisors support the Ugandan army until Cony has been captured the LRA has been completely disarmed.

  191. dozeregg says:

    250+ comments on a blog I’ve never heard of (not that I should have, I’m no activist) seems like right or wrong they’re getting what they wanted…

  192. Eric says:

    the author of this article is looking waayyy too literally. yeah the first goal is to stop him. Of course they can’t imagine what to do next. That’s why they’re raising awareness, so that the government can get involved and search for a solution. This project is about raising awareness so that we can’t ignore this problem!

  193. Uphir says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with this article. Yes, recognition is necessary, but what people fail to realize is that *anybody* who already had an interest in human rights already knew who the guys name was. It doesn’t really do anybody any good to have a bunch of people with no real interest and no idea what they’re talking about suddenly jump on the bandwagon. All that does is make it harder to sort through the B.S. Ask 100 college World History professors a history-related question, you’ll probably get the right answer. Ask 100 college World History professors AND 1000 other random Americans the same question, and you will be MUCH less likely to get the correct answer–and if you do, it’s only after sorting through 1000 more opinions than necessary. As this article states, recognition accomplishes nothing when problem isn’t identified correctly to begin with.

    So, short version, everybody who really cared already knew his name, now all we’ve got is a bunch of rebel-without-a-cause kids who don’t actually give a crap trying to act like adults by having a ‘mature’ opinion on a worldly matter. The people who care enough to make a difference already knew this guy’s name.

    • Kid says:

      I completely disagree with you.The people that can make a difference in this world are not just well educated adults. A complex problem like this needs the diverse perspectives and solutions that people on the street can offer. At one point, there were very few people who knew J. Kony’s name. Are you saying that we should have stopped there, saying ‘Fine. Nobody else needs to know, because these dozen or so people know, and they are smart enough to figure it out by themselves?’ If every movement stopped because ‘everyone who really cared already knew about it’ NOTHING WOULD BE DONE. And you cannot deny that everything started with one person.

      Do you understand the power of 7 billion people? I do, because I’m one of them. People start to care when they are made aware, and when people care, they do things- no matter if they haven’t graduated high school yet.

      And may I say that these ‘rebel-without-a-cause’ kids have just been given a cause?

      Give us credit please. We care just as much if not more than you, because it is our future, and it is people our age that are being victimized. We don’t have to act like adults- there are many adults I’ve met that know or care half as much as kids I know. People my age talk, debate, raise money and volunteer. We cry for the world. We think. We are intelligent beings. How dare you say that we don’t care enough to make a difference. Look around you; look at Craig and Marc Keilburger and what Free the Children has done.
      Get off your high horse and open your eyes.

    • Keek says:

      Hahahaha oh boy, that literally makes me sad to see thoughts like that. And extremely pissed off. You really want to categorize America into ‘who really cares?” Gooooood luck with that. I’d like to know, exactly what “the people who care enough to make a difference” are doing if it’s not THIS? Seems to me like they are the ones who created Invisible Children and Kony 2012, with the means for America, and the world to know, YOUNG or old. It’s silly you seem to imply that just knowing Joseph Kony’s name about five days ago, before this went viral, means you’re an honest believer and you really care. I’m also sad to see an adult acting like a child, while criticizing kids for getting excited about, yes, a worldly matter. This isn’t an act of rebellion, it’s a good thing that people are learning and becoming aware of it. Sorry you’re superiority party is being crashed.

    • The Man of Twists and Turns says:

      Perhaps you’re forgetting that we live in democracies? In order for anything at all to happen, average non-expert citizens need to know who Kony is. Democratic governments don’t make policy to win over college professors.

  194. Rachel Belo says:

    This is ONE action of something (and someones) who have been working in this for a long time.
    Kony 2012 is ONE film… after another and another and another… and they all explain the conflict, explain and show the kids.

    Kony 2012 got a huge covarage? NICE! That the way it should be. That’s the way every F*UP BAD actions just be seen!

    No one started life knowing it all. If all this covarage gets ONE action down. It good enough for me.

  195. Raquel says:

    I think we all need to remember everyone has the freedom of speech. The creators of the video saw a problem and are proposing a solution. No, it doesn’t mean everything is correct, and it doesn’t mean that they have all the facts. However, it’s an idea to impact lives of others for the better. However, we need to make our own educated opinions from reading articles from both sides of the argument and decide where we stand.

  196. T says:

    There are so many problems in Africa and there are many organizations that are available to pledge to why should this be different? There is soo much hype on this particular issue now because they are soo close to catching a CRIMINAL and saving so many victims it’s awful to think they might give up. Stop trying BS reasons to not support it and just pledge!

  197. Joseph says:

    I have to disagree with this article. This evaluation of the movement is taken from a research perspective, but misses the point. Yes, if you go worldwide to all the political figures and ask them who Kony is, the chances are that they would know exactly who he is. He is a popular figure to human rights activists, probably, he was the world’s worst criminal. But that’s missing the whole point of the movement. It doesn’t matter if people know who he is, and by people I mean political figures and activists, it’s about the general human population. Usually people don’t know who these people are, and they don’t seem to actively seek out these problems because it doesn’t impact their lives. That is why this movement is trying to bring the problem to the people. There is power in the masses. The Kony 2012 movement is to make Kony a popular topic, to scale him up to face recognition, so if you stopped some random guy on the street and asked him showed him a picture, then they can say, “Hey! That’s that terrible guy, Kony! (or whatever exclamation they want to make)” It’s so the US population can take the decisions of the government into their own hands, to advocate for what they think is right.

  198. T says:

    FYI these guys have been around for years an their first documentary was filmed in Africa featuring many off Kony’s victims

  199. TheLaughingMan says:

    This blog doesn’t solve the problem neither, so what do you propose?
    I can sense a great intent of hitchin a ride of popular trending.

  200. Matt says:

    Anyone who seriously believes that raising Kony’s profile isn’t any longer a requirement needs to get out more. The vast majority of the general population has no idea who he is.

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  202. Vanessa says:

    No matter how you look at it, this video has made the “whatever” generation, as we’ve come to be known, get PASSIONATE about something. That in itself is pretty amazing. If nothing else, this video has gotten people to care. Whether or not its the best way to solve the problem – you have to start somewhere.

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  205. Wachizya says:

    I understand where you’re coming from. As a learned scholar in the field of international law etc, it must be hard to see someone with less experience get up and DO things you never had the initiative do. If you insist on belittling the efforts of the Invisible Children’s Organization, come up with a alternative. Put all those degrees to use.

  206. Brianna Turner says:

    All I know is, that if my six year old daughter was abducted to be a sex slave, devastation would be an understatement. Think about your own children, people. And in my opinion, ANY movement done to try to end this, is a good deed. Stop with all of criticism. Kony is the leader, and if there is a big enough stand against this, killing Kony would eventually end this. Think about Hitler. After Hitler died, the killings stopped soon after. #STOPKONY2012

  207. josh says:

    The vidoe could have been better but so what?! look at all these comments. the video whether you liked it or not made you aware of the sitution to an extent, which you then researched to educate yourself. i think its safe to say that kony deserves to be captured or killed for his crimes.It is aimed at the youth to take action, but thats because we are the future of the world. Don’t you want a better society. just like Bin Laden because it provides justice and retribution for all victums. what if it was you? or your sibling, parents friends, anyone you care about?(another sad thing is today people don’t care about others). Even though there are other problems in Ugonda and else where you have to start some where. fix Kony then we can move on to other issues like their government, education, and standard of living. Be involved or don’t but people shouldn’t critize the Kony campaign cause at least its creating a positive and making people think. what have you done lately?
    Are you ready for April 20th? I am.

  208. Mark,
    Great post, it makes me sad to see the angry teenage responses at your post. You’ve made some great points. While I would agree with some that the picture may be taken out of context. I would agree that while IC is doing good (which you acknowledge) that this campaign is not as relevant as they would like you to believe. Im sure the guys from IC are great guys, but this video/campaign I would agree is a swing and a miss. And the notion that young people should get out and tell their congress people to get more troops sent to Africa is absurd. That’s just what we need, more troops on another continent…

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  210. Simone says:

    This article is completely naive and you obviously have not done your research on this issue because if you did then you would know that “Kony 2012” is not just about making this one man famous and letting the grown ups handle the rest. Its about making people aware of the things going on in our world outside of the U.S. borders. Capturing Joseph Kony is only the first step there are so many more people out there that are just like him but since it does not directing affect us then it is simply not important enough. Its true that Joseph Kony is known but he is not known enough by the public because if he was then our government would have done something by now. We need to make people aware of whats going on because if we dont then this will continue to happen.

  211. Josie says:

    I think there’s a lot to be said about everything that involves the KONY2012. And there’s a lot of bad to be said, as there are in most cases. While I agree with many things in this article I must disagree at one point. Because it states that most people know who Kony is. Most people don’t. Believe me. Politicians, sure. But as we all know the comon people do have a say in things like this. And I give kudos to IC for SHOWING this. Because people are actually aware of what’s going on. And that’s the ‘first step’ so to speak. But the Kony2012 campain in itself is a bit on the naive side.
    Yes, Raising awareness is great. But there is only so much we can do. The rest is up to the politicians. And of course there’s the ever lasting problem that even if Kony is caught, the LRA will remain. It won’t dissapear magically with Kony, and that’s what people have to realize as well as take into account. There needs to be a solid plan to END it all. And just catching Kony won’t stop the rest of the LRA.
    What does annoy me the most about this article in particular is the notion of ‘White people going down to Africa to be the savories’. Because just because people want to help other people it doesn’t mean that there are white people ‘saving’ ”black” people. This is simply people trying to help OTHER PEOPLE getting a better life.
    All in all this is a very interesting debate. And I can’t say that I will be taking any sides here. I support both for different reasons, and while the IC in itself is a bit shady (and gave me a weird feel when I was watching the video itself because there were many things that I thought should be said that weren’t) it is spreading a message across the world, which the world itself (And especially the Western) needs to know.
    Today when I woke up I had no Idea who Joseph Kony was. Now I do. That’s really all there is too this for me. I know, and I feel a little better because I can now help. Maybe not by participating in the IC campaign. But by doing other things that will help to hopefully resolve this horrible issue in time.

  212. Kay says:

    This is an excerpt from a letter to Barack Obama from numerous commissions, societies, and unions in the areas affected by the LRA.
    How’s this for the thoughts from the general population.

    “We feel that our own governments have abandoned and forgotten us, and it only discourages us further when we hear statements from our elected leaders that the LRA is no longer a threat. In Congo, senior government and military commanders deny the existence of the LRA and have made calls for the Ugandan army to end operations against the LRA in Congo; some Ugandan army units have already been pushed out of Congo. In Central African Republic, our government has other priorities and has failed to support or protect the population of the eastern Mbomou region as we continue to live with the LRA scourge. In South Sudan, the local government of Western Equatoria State has shown an interest in supporting efforts to end the LRA threat, yet we have seen no commitment from our new national government to address the problem and support populations in the affected areas.

    We urge you to use all available channels of diplomacy to pressure our governments to recognize the LRA threat and to make addressing the problem one of their top priorities.”

    I believe if there is a cry for help, you should listen. Especially when it’s something that infringes on the freedom and safety of our fellow human beings AND morals that are being ignored and just straight up messed with.
    The purpose of the video was to get the masses aware. It did just that. I’m tired of people being pessimistic about things like this. You could be the reason that the world, especially in places like Africa, can’t ever be progressive. The civil rights movement of the 60’s came into being BECAUSE of the masses. Have some hope.


  213. Manuel Schwab says:

    I watched a (non viral, non narrative) video about this war a while ago and I was shocked. I saw maimed kids and dead people killed by kids of the LRA… when you look into the eyes of this children all you see is pain and desperation.
    This video, as narrative as it is, shows us a problem that is very big and very cruel… Imagine you were living in a place where, even when it’s not that often anymore, many kids are captured and used as soldiers for clearly no reason than giving a leader its might… Imagine your child or yourself in a situation like this…
    And yet this campaign gives no Idea what happens after catching Kony, but it has a goal thats worth giving attention and support… It’s about destroying and abolishing the mastermind of this war.. And when the mastermind is no longer existing, the LRA will get weaker and maybe this war will end after so many years and so many victims…

    • Sarah says:

      If you wanted to you could find the many blogs where East Africans are discussing this movement, and no, most of the ones I have seen are less than impressed by the movement.

  214. K-Nicholas says:

    It seems as though a bunch of people responding to this are looking at it as a cinical attempt to gain fame based on refuting something popular in the mainstream. I don’t look at it that way at all. This is someone looking at the facts and letting other people know them too. I don’t see any anger or ignorance in this post. It is very important to look at everything you have available to you prior to making a judgement or going into action. The ones who seem angry and like they want to seem cool are the people using profanity and cheap shots to make the article look bad.

    I agree that it is very important to make people like Kony more known to the public. They are evil and they need to be held accountable for their actions. I also believe that there is a bigger picture that needs to be shown as well. Rome did not fall in a day, as one might say. I applaud the Kony 2012 video for shedding light on the situation but I also Applaud this blog for looking at the bigger picture.

    I personally don’t agree that finding and killing someone, even one as evil as Bin Laden or Kony, is the answer and was actually offended when Bin Laden was murdered, and feel fine using that word. Yes these men deserve to die for what they have done! However I also believe that trials and sentancing prove a better point.

    As for being happy when Hitler was killed, you may want to check your history. Hitler committed suicide, perhaps for fear of being put to trial. He took the cowards way out. It is wreckless to not think of the “what if this doesn’t work side”.

    This is a man who uses children as his military and therefor his own personal protectors, which is why attempts at his arrest in the past haven’t turned out so well. A military attempt to capture and or kill this man will undoubtably end in the bloodshed of the children this initiative wants to protect.

    All I ask is that the people reading this post do their research and really know the facts before deciding to follow any initiative, As someone who works in the Documentary film industry I know the expenses envolved in making a piece such as the Kony 2012 video and it is huge. It is a very challanging industry to be part of and I have the utmost respect for people who want to get the word out about what is happening in our world. That being said, I also know that no matter how much you try to be unbiased there will always be a spin one way or another on every form of media. After all we are all only human. That is why it is so important to educate yourselves fully rather then blindly following one group or another.

  215. chris says:

    when i see these comments that say other people are heartless for trying to question things my heart sighs.

    • Cereja says:

      I wonder if these wonderful, caring people accusing us of being lazy and heartless have been caring and pro-active enough to look up IDP camps and Operation Iron Fist.

  216. chris says:

    all these teenagers who will likely now go out and protest about solving issues they have no idea about. Is that a bad thing? maybe, maybe not. But i see this as an opportunity for some middle class white kids to make themselves feel better.

  217. chris says:

    To make a difference in this society is to click a button. sad or is it a good thing?

  218. kaur91 says:

    I came across this website researching the KONY 2012 movement. I think it is important to question an idea, rather than jumping on the bandwagon. With that said, we must look to the future and not the past. IC only spent 32% of their money on helping Uganda. So what? He’s not in Uganda anymore, he’s not active, he’s in peace talks. So what? It has been all said and done. That is no excuse for what he did in the past. Every person should be held responsible for their actions. I may not agree with how IC spends their money, but they are making an effort to make a difference. Everyone gets so bogged down in the small details, how this isn’t the right way to go about the issue or the right solutions. Sometimes you have to take an action against something to get the movement started. You present an idea or a cause, you give a solution. It doesn’t have to be the only one, there is always an alternative. You can criticize anyone, find flaws in any argument, and find opposition. I believe it is too early to be writing off this campaign. We can make a difference as a collective voice, against any wrongdoing. We can show the world and people like Kony, that we will not stand for injustice and we can, will, demand that action against it. That we can make one idea into something big and global.

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  220. glassghetto says:

    Yeah, I agree with many of the conclusions of the article. The video provides a very brief summation of the problems of Uganda and its neighbours. It is a very complex socio-political crisis with no easy solution. If there was an easy solution then it would not have been so bad for so long. Simply arresting Kony is no more likely to end the conflict then arresting Al Capone ended organised crime. As the video itself points out, remove one soldier and there are 30,000 ready to take his place, and potentially even more ruthless then he is.

    What the video does do is provide a very emotive portrayal of a tragic situation far away from the the capital and technology rich western democracies and motivates its audience to try to do something about it. Not just by mindlessly donating money (although, hey, what we might spend on an iphone could probably buy a radio tower or a classroom full of books in Uganda) but by getting involved, talking to people, getting out of the house and making a noise. It encourages the audience to become more of a participant in their democracy by reaching out to their democratic representatives (both elected representatives and cultural icons). There are definitely times when it feels a bit too much like a Facebook ad (“Facebook world” is actually used o.O) but the director does have a point that social media now gives us an amazing platform to connect, inform and influence each other. Many people feel apathetic about political and social issues because they feel they have no way to take part and influence policy, myself included. The idea that writing/emailing/video-messaging politicians, doing fund raising, handing out fliers even organising trips has actually had an impact in foreign policy is very empowering. I know these are not new things, they have been around for centuries, but as political decision making becomes increasingly centralised (from local government to central government, from central government to federal/union bodies, to UN ambassadors and Security Councils) the size of popular movements needs to also increase. The Kony 2012 campaign could be the first draft of a blueprint for really leveraging social networking and the internet to get people more involved in their countries decision making, helping us gather enough people together on a single topic to get the attention of the politically/economically influential minority in a very peaceful way.

    The article points out that Uganda is actually having a relatively peaceful period at present and that perhaps attention should be focused on Somalia instead. No doubt there are thousands of worthy causes and one could argue that anyone of them should take priority. The Kony 2012 video focuses as closely as it can on just one issue, an issue that the director feels particularly strongly about. I think that very focus is what gives the appeal its greatest chance of success – the human psyche is primes to pay more attention to recognisable individuals then large groups and more interested the specific issues then the big picture. However, the process of spreading the awareness and driving action that is being presented in the video could be applied to any issue that strikes a cord in people. Perhaps it will inspire many more people to bring to peoples attention many other issues and eventually help to shift our collective attention as a species away from excess and centralised power and towards balance and equality.

    I think it is very practical and sensible to look at things from many different points of view and to diligently check independent source material. Things are vary rarely what they first appear to be (particularly on the internet!) and there are plenty of people out there happy to take advantage of peoples innocence and good intentions. However, I also know I can be overtly cynical and quick to find grand conspiracies in everything. This time I think I’m willing to hope for the best and lend a little of my time in support. The world may or may not get any better as a result, but trying to make the world a bit better is a lot better on the mind and soul then simply brooding on it.

  221. samantha says:

    Even though the point of the video is to get everyone aware of Kony and make him a household name they do ask you to spend money and support their cause. Anyone who says the point of it is to just get the name out clearly is being sucked into all of this (they ask you to spend money on something so you can partake in one of their events). Money that goes towards questionable things like the military in Uganda who also rapes, kills, and has done questionable numerous other questionable actioons. Before supporting IC know what they really support and thats clearly military force (shown by the picture at the top of the page). Continue telling people about Kony yes, because he does need to be stopped. But question IC and what they support and consider if they really have the right course of action.

  222. David says:

    Horribly written article. I agree what the author is saying, I believe. However, the article was verbose and ambiguous.

    • Derp says:

      Horribly written comment.

      I agree WITH what the author is saying*

      HOWEVER, I BELIEVE the article was verbose and ambiguous.*

  223. Reagan says:

    I’m a fourteen year old freshman in high school. I see right in both sides of this “Kony 2012” story. At the end of the day, everyone will have a different opinion. If any of you have watched the entire video, you will know that it is very persuasive towards the minds of every generation. I know we all concur that Kony is a heartless, low-down piece of scum, and no child in their right mind should have to be forced to do anything that is as consummate as killing their own parents or being forced into sexual slavery. However, this cause is bringing a nation together. It’s showing kids, teenagers, and even adults that words spoken or written are more powerful than the world could ever know. This whole crazy experiment is helping our own young adults, such as myself, and others to really do something that matters to them.

    This may not be a big deal to people who find this as a scam; no matter what, this story is spreading EVERYWHERE throughout this nation and other countries. People are going to believe every ounce of knowledge they hear about Kony.

    All I’m really saying is this cause is changing the way people will act and think forever.

  224. Kate says:

    Found the article really great, will share among my colleagues. On the topic of “we need to do something” – the opinion that the majority of comments seem to express… Kony 2012, along with the IC as a whole, and their followers epitomize “white man’s burden” discourse. This is disturbing and, quite frankly, disgusting. I hate the whole discourse of “the need to save the poor African children from being abducted” and the firm belief that America, and only America, can stop the evil Kony.
    Unilateral intervention by the U.S. in this conflict is unacceptable, and will have horrible consequences on the U.S. profile, as well as the whole regional situation in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    As for popular awareness of the youth about the issue… in my view, it’s pointless. Development agencies working with Ugandan government and local populations should handle this, and professionals should handle the peace process (both of these things HAVE been going on already, btw). This is a matter of regional concern and actors involved in the region’s recovery and development efforts. Get the youth pay more attention to your domestic problems and fight for justice at home instead of practicing remote imperialism over a distant country.

    • nick14alpha says:

      Read the video, it isnt intervention of any kind, its simply deploying troops, not to fight but to assist in tracking him down, assisting the ICC.

      Thats not intervention, that would be doing the job for them or fighting, when thwy are merely taking a back bench seat on behalf of the ICC. They are already there, the aim is to KEEP them there.

      Its also to show that in this new age of technology, people will not stand for this sort of thing on the planet.

    • Karen says:

      So if it were the 1930’s and 40’s would you be part of America First?
      Just curious . . .
      “…and the Wolf chewed up the children and spit out their bones…But those were Foreign Children and it really didn’t matter.”
      PM (October 1, 1941) Dr. Seuss
      (since one cannot embed a picture) – http://www.tfaoi.com/am/8am/8am205.jpg

    • Celia says:

      I really enjoyed with article and will be sharing it with many fellow social work colleagues and students. There are so many questions that immediately popped into my head once I saw this Kony 2012 movement. I completely agree with Kate around the idea that the video creates this “save the poor little African children” discourse and the idea that only Americans can stop this tragedy as though it is beyond the level of control for Africans. I have yet to see anyone talk about the root of the problem and how it was created in the first place. I’m NOT at all saying that Kony 2012 is a terrible idea, because at least it raises some awareness. But what I am saying is that there is not enough information provided, and no real solution. I suggest people start asking more questions before they jump on the “American” save all be all bandwagon. What role does America have to play in the cause of this issue? How has colonialism played a part in this issue? There are so many questions that people should know the answer to, even though I’m sure they do not want to ask, or even care for all that matters. The point I’m trying to make is that capturing Kony isn’t going to solve the problem because there are hundreds of Kony’s all over the world ready and willing to take his place….then what!

    • akarenlarson says:

      Kate, I think you misunderstand the mission of the IC. Also, if you watched the video, you would know that the ICC is also tracking down Kony.

      Also, I’ve done a fair amount of research on this issue. The U.N. and other governments and organizations have attempted to have peace talks in the past. What usually happens is this: They can’t get in contact with Kony for months. When they finally receive a reply, it is usually “no.” Occasionally, the response is “yes.” For the latter responses, Kony usually doesn’t show up, or he makes an extravagent show of exactly what he was doing.

      And for the “America needs to save the poor, starving African children” vibe, I get that. There are organizations that feed on that message. This is not one of them. IC actually is not trying to feed these children–they are trying to save them, reunite them with their families, and educate them. They are actually working with Ugandans to help them rebuild their community and gain independence.

      Why does Uganda need our help? Well, the Ugandan government was actually fighting against the LRA and being mercilessly defeated. They can’t do it on their own. You might as well ask, “well, why couldn’t the Jews fight for their freedom in Germany during the Holocaust?” I’m pretty sure they tried.

      And I’m actually offended by your grouping of African countries as if Africa is one big problem. Africa is made up of many different countries. The IC isn’t talking about Africa, they’re talking specifically about Kony and stopping the LRA, which currently affects a few countries in Africa. A few COUNTRIES. Do you understand what that means? That the armies of more than one African country cannot stop this man. But I guess you’re right, we should just leave them all to suffer.

      For the record, I do think it’s good to help certain African countries gain stability. I’m that kind of person that thinks everyone should get to eat three meals a day, so I’m that kind of person who supports organizations that support helping countries–even those outside of Africa–find their own source of stability.

      And for not being an American interest…oh boy. We are still one of the most powerful countries in the world. When these kids, who were forced into violent lives, grow up, who do you think they’re going to take their anger out on? Their captors? Think again. Kony knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s not just breeding child soldiers–he’s breeding an army of discontent that will last a lifetime if not more.

      Before you jump on the bandwagon of “I hate organizations that trick kids into giving their money away,” do your research. This article is just as biased as IC’s video. Everyone has an agenda.

    • Charlie P says:

      I don’t think this is about “unilateral intervention by the U.S.” It is about the WHOLE WORLD being aware of an issue that is completely unacceptable on a very fundamental, human level. This video is an experiment because it is only recently that the phenomenon of social media has made it possible for the planet to be united in this way. It is not about what each individual can do personally having watched the video, it is about the potential power of world wide attention.
      It was through facebook that the people of Egypt united in there intention to end a dictatorship that has been around for years and years. I also believe that the rest of the world watching on had a massive impact.
      The video comments on this being a unique moment in history- we have the means to spread rapid global awareness about things that are of fundamental importance to all of us- wherever we come from, whether we or black or white, African or American, 5 years old or 50 years old. Yes the politics are complicated and there are details most of us do not know about, even with the best intentions and hours of research. However, this does not change the fact that kidnapping, killing, raping, disfiguring and torturing of children is completely unacceptable to all of us and cannot be allowed to continue where it is known about. Yes the solution may be complicated and we may not know the answer as individuals looking from afar, but this is an experiment to see if the eyes of the world can influence those few people with the power to change things. It has to be worth a try and I for one completely support it.

    • Matias says:

      It isn’t difficult to see that Invisible Children are not focused on transitional justice. There are, however many NGOs there that would be able to support postconflict peacebuilding and grassroots development in Northern Uganda and Central Africa if the threat of violence was not so pervasive. Strengthening civil society and rooting out structural violence is not what Invisible Children is claiming to undertake; what they are trying to do is create a starting point with which this growth can occur, which would be having Kony tried by the ICC. Subsequently, then, more local initiatives could be undertaken to restore justice and promote reconciliation among victims/perpetrators, especially where that line is blurred.

      As for the White Man’s Burden, we all get it, post-colonialism and the West as savior. I don’t see that as the case whatsoever. It isn’t unilateral intervention per se. What we have is a contingent of consultants without guns in their hands, trying to help capture a war criminal. This is not Iraq. In order for stability to be sewn from the grassroots, Kony must be unable to inflict any more harm on people. Development NGO’s can enter the region and work WITH local communities to restore THEIR sense of livelihood and civil society. But as long as Kony is at large that can’t be done, so continuing to delegitimize efforts to do so is only perpetuating the conflict indirectly. The ICC will then prosecute him based on his violations of universal human rights, which he undoubtedly is guilty. This is not post-colonialism, this is Responsibility to Protect and seeing to it that such crimes do not go unpunished by the international community as a whole. Clearly regional actors have not been able to prevent his egregious crimes for the last 25 years, and based on your prescriptions about securing human rights in Central Africa they would continue for another 100.

    • Tom says:

      Very well said Kate.

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  226. Keek says:

    Hhahaah to me this is utterly ridiculous, why, for any reason at all would you counter the voice, actions and ideas of this organization? The video is a short 27 minutes long, meant for a specific audience, with a specific tone. Hence “a five year old white kid” getting more time in the film than a Ugandan child. It’s meant to be comparative, it’s meant to hit home with any American viewer, which it has successfully done. The premise of making Kony “famous” goes beyond a villians popularity contest. Obviously there is a reason behind it. The fact that they used a simple, easy to understand term for their campaign doesn’t make the reasoning behind it superficial or any less important. It’s going towards a bigger picture, educating the majority to benefit the minority, even if it is just a button click away.
    Though I agree that a look at the bigger picture surrounding this issue is beneficial and should always be considered, I feel as if the points of this article should be a separate matter, why must it incriminate someone/something that is successfully paving it’s way to making a difference of its own accord? It could just as easily have suggested adding these points in a positive way to the ideas of the Kony 2012 campaign rather than taking them away and shedding a negative light on the idea.
    Anywho, an opinion is an opinion.

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  229. Kari says:

    Until you have met on of the LRA’s victims, spoken to those who have to live in fear, we can only sit in our comfortable western homes and pontificate. Regardless of your thoughts on this movie – there was no reason for the US to get involved except that its citizens cared and democracy worked. I also wonder why it took us so long to go after Hitler – or why we never responded to the plea for help during the Rwandan genocide. Sometimes you have to act, and after 26years Kony has finally met his match in the youth of the world.

  230. Rachel says:

    To say that mist people already know about this is very untrue. Until today, I didn’t know anything about this. The majority of my friends I’ve talked too didn’t know about this. I’m a soccer mom in suburbia America without a clue! I am thankful for this video and am going to do what I can to help! Right this moment I am showing the video to my children (ages 10 & 14).

  231. Kari says:

    Until you have met one of the LRA’s victims, spoken to those who have to live in fear, we can only sit in our comfortable western homes and pontificate. Regardless of your thoughts on this movie – there was no reason for the US to get involved except that its citizens cared and democracy worked. I also wonder why it took us so long to go after Hitler – or why we never responded to the plea for help during the Rwandan genocide. Sometimes you have to act, and after 26years Kony has finally met his match in the youth of the world.

  232. kimcambron says:

    wow. I barely know where to start here. Maybe by asking if you have ever actually been to Uganda…for how long…and did you do any aid work at all…anywhere.

    I have never been to Uganda, but I have been an aid worker in Nepal and Haiti. My field is communications. Allow me to educate you a little on what is actually going on with the Invisible Children, from my perspective.

    1. It is exploitative to comb through the victims collecting their stories. We heard plenty, through the representative voice of Jacob, who you casually overlook as you mention how prominent the white American child was. People in countries with this degree of abuse are notoriously difficult to engage in conversation and they have very good reason. Retaliation is brutal.

    2. The white American boy is a method of closing the gap and creating a viscerally shared experience within a culture who cannot in any way shape or form identify with the atrocities these people have experienced it. You cannot help but connect emotionally when the story is presented in this context. Any one who knows anything about communication knows that, in order to get people involved emotionally, you need to bring the situation into something that feels close to home. The fact that Haiti has slipped out of the public eye, even though the tragedy still exists, is evidence of this. We do not have the attention span for things that we do not understand at a core level.

    3. The public NEVER makes decisions based on rambling pedantic papers throwing “facts” and “figures” about. We all know those things can be conveniently highlighted to prove an individual’s point of view. We make decisions based on emotional engagement. It has been scientifically demonstrated that making decisions is impossible without engaging the emotional centers of the brain.

    4. You offer absolutely NOTHING in the way of an alternate solution. And, PLEASE do not give me education and water treatment systems as an answer to a huge human rights atrocity like this. As necessary as those things are, they are not fast solutions. Is your solution that we all sit around with our hands in our laps and discuss this?

    We can all sit around and debate this in our coffee shops and cafes…we can write lengthy dissertations about the futility of any efforts made to bring this nightmare of a man down…meanwhile children are being abducted, raped and are dying.

    I think this kind of discussion is appropriate within your comfortable offices and lounges, but putting it on a blog where people can become easily swayed with your academic assertions and stentorian tone is incredibly irresponsible.

    The danger with this is that I agree with some of what you are saying…and this makes you MUCH more dangerous than someone who is an idiot. We are dealing with a public who is paralyzed to the point of inaction on so many world issues of great importance. If this campaign does nothing more than give millions of disenfranchised and impotent feeling people the idea that they can make a significant difference, then it has done more than anything else has done on behalf of children in decades. But I think it is insane to speculate on what could happen as a possibility of a campaign like this…as it has never been tried before. I am holding on to the possibility that this could change the way we feel about our voice as a people…forever.

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  234. shawna says:

    omg i can’t beleave this! we will stop him we will

  235. Chris says:

    Ask an average American to name one, just one soldier who died in war. But they do know Kony now. How ironic?

  236. xbadxapple says:

    Shared, also a huge inspiration for an article of mine on the topic. Such opinions are needed.
    Unravel your heads, people! It’s just a populist campaign, god damn it.

    What, there is a problem with tyranny in Africa? Oh, shucks, it’s not like Sani Abacha and his regime in Nigeria got between 4 and 5 billion dollars via corruption streams from corporations and foreign “investments”, is it? And that’s just one example.

    Why now, in 2012, when LRA does not even operate on the territory of Uganda? Trying to wash our hands after decades of subsidizing war regimes and mass murders? Oh yeah, that will work.

    Btw, a plus is making people active, but what does “active” mean? Giving 25 dollars per shirt to a NGO makes me “active”? I call that marketing, really. And it seems it’s a working one too, will be interested to see the financial niveau rising of Invisible Children at the end of the year.

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  239. Angelina Tamar says:

    I admire the enthusiasm and dedication of my generation, but I get concerned with the borderline cult mentality that emerges so quickly from messages like the Kony 2012 campaign. Interested to see where this ends up.

  240. Najd Geist says:

    I have to respectfully disagree with a few of this article’s points:

    – It makes it seem like Kony is already famous around the world. If that was the case, then the video wouldn’t be spreading like wildfire. This is news to many people, including me.

    – They claim that killing Kony won’t stop the violence. Of course it won’t. But he’s still an instigator and symbol of that violence, regardless of his current influence. This is like saying hunting Osama was in vain because it didn’t end al-Qaeda.

    – The article claims, without ample evidence, that Ugandans don’t support taking down Kony. The video claims, without ample evidence, that Ugandans do. The difference is that the video presented a few people who have been hurt by Kony and want him captured, so we know that that’s at least not a myth. Not to mention, the person who wrote this article briefly mentions that he’s been to Africa, while we know that the creator of the video claims to have spent 10 years researching this problem. If it’s a battle of “he said, she said,” I have to side with the guy who’s been working on this for 10 years.

    – The article claims it doesn’t mean to slight IC. Except, it has very sharp verbiage that, in fact, belittles IC for all the awareness they’ve brought on.

    I hate bandwagon activism as much as the next person, but this seems to me a black-and-white cause. This man is the #1 wanted man in the world, and has enlisted thousands of children to be soldiers and sex slaves. These two facts alone are worth the awareness.

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  242. nick14alpha says:

    The fact is not everyone knows. My dad is 60. He has never heard of Kony, and yet he and my mother each night watch the news, and read the paper each night too. Im not saying they see everything but i mean, a lot of people have never heard of Kony.

    The biggest point on this, is pointless. Who cares if we do not know the full extent of the crimes.

    Does nobody realise, that by actually spreading his name everywhere, people WILL RESEARCH what its all about?

    Either way, people need to open they’re eyes and watch the video.
    Invisible hand already disd this on small scale and there are now US soldiers deployed there.
    Why on earth would people want to spend a week researching until they pledge?

    This guy is as bad as Hitler. And the video completely outwits you on your post.
    “If this happened to my son or any white person in the US, it would be slashed across the media within a day.”
    30, 000 children have died in the last 25 years and hardly ANYONE knows it is happening and why.

    This is a terrific way to help people and do something. Its not a charity, you do not donate money, you simply raise awareness.

    I think you should not try and prmote yourself. Whatever you said first off, you did target this movement.

    You have kids?
    How would you feel for your child to pick up a gun and kill your wife.
    Why sit there and pick up bad points.

    I seriously despise of fake journalists like this writer. I really do. The fact is you contradict yourself so much. And like i said, think if it was your child killing your wife.

    Just stop moaning, and do something.

    You really are worthless to open a debate on it, if you do not agree fully, just do not post, no one will say anything. But creating a post to ‘tone it down’ is disgusting. Your disgusting. 30,000 children were abducted, and still are, and you care about the whole Bible of what Kony does and has done.
    Killing 30,000 people over 25 years and evading capture, that should be enough alone.

    Osama Bin Laden was tracked for 10 years after 9/11. 3,000 people die, and America goes to war. 30,000 children die, people want to use it to promote themselves as good journalists. A true journalist would support it without question.

    Im done with this but just one final note to anyone questioning why hes doing it…

    He is a modern day Hitler.
    Surely your grandfathers didnt fight for you to criticise someone just as bad, in fact possibly worse.

  243. Karen says:

    You write:
    “Incredibly, there is no mention in the film or the campaign that northern Ugandans are currently enjoying the longest period of peace since the conflict began in 1986. Virtually every single northern Ugandan I spoke to during my own field research believes that there is peace in the region. . . . there have been no LRA attacks in years. In the mid 2000s, the ‘LRA problem’ was exported out of Uganda. The LRA is currently residing in the DRC, CAR, and perhaps parts of South Sudan and even Darfur. Today, land issues and the recent Walk to Work crisis are higher on the agenda than the LRA in northern Uganda.”

    Out of curiosity, how many Northern Ugandans did you speak to that make you an expert in this matter?

    With this one paragraph, you have communicated to me that since Kony is no longer a current threat in Uganda, that the mission to stop him is not worth the effort. Just because he is no longer terrorizing the people of Northern Uganda (who have been terrorized by their own government as well, I completely agree on that) does not mean that he should be allowed to “export” his killing, raping and abduction of children anywhere else in Africa. In my opinion, this one paragraph undermines every other argument you have made, justified or not.

    In addtion, while I do understand that it is propaganda filled (which they stated in the film they were using it), the whole point of the video is to motivate some people to DO SOMETHING, rather than just sit by and watch. Everyone I have spoken to tonight about this (11 so far), did not know who Kony is, nor did they know the horrific situation facing the people & children from this region of Africa because of his actions (let alone that it has been going on for over 20 years). Ignorance is not bliss. Perhaps this video will motivate people to do more, to research and get the facts about the whole situation! Already 4 people have asked me for resources they can use to help them find out more about the situation (one of which I recommend is the website for the documentary of Uganda Rising, which does bring forth the severe issue of Uganda’s government). Perhaps you could enhance your post with quality resources people could use to research the information you present in your writing, so that they too can become better informed about all aspects of the matter. As others above have commented, it begins with awareness (which demonstrates that the Kony 2012 video has its purpose) and continues with getting educated about it.

  244. lichencomputer says:

    It is amazing to me how many people have jumped in with dismissive responses to this critical input, becoming so rigidly dedicated in a short time to one view (going on very little information) on a complex matter that has very little to do with them. The shocking and tragic information that the IC video paints for us calls for action — but if you do feel compassionately called to action, the complexities of the matter should interest you. Your view should be your own, and if you intend to participate attentively, then your view should not stop at the first installment of your education on the matter, before you have even begun to think critically on the matter.

    When a defender of the IC says “At least they are doing SOMETHING”, they imply that with the right emotional context, it does not really matter to them what that SOMETHING actually is. Raising awareness is key, and the author of this article gives due credit to IC for their success in that effort. But IC does much more than raise awareness, and their choice of action has huge holes which their own video of course only hints at. It is not a waste of time to give pause and consider new information before acting when so little is at stake for you and so much is at stake for others.

    If you were moved by the IC video, and if you now understand, thanks to this article, that supporting IC means supporting the Sudanese Liberation Army, and if you are yet still unwilling to become even more informed and/or think critically on the matter, you probably should not be responding to the views that this article presents. I say this because if you are not willing to think critically about a view that you just spontaneously adopted, and if you must defend that view even so, then you show that your main concern is not for the situation but for your own feelings of validation.

    • Mark Kersten says:

      Thank you very much for this thoughtful comment, lichencomputer. I share and greatly appreciate your dedication to critical thinking and your rejection that critiquing does not equal “doing nothing” while doing something is always better. I could not agree more with you on the point that “if you do feel compassionately called to action, the complexities of the matter should interest you…if you are not willing to think critically about a view that you just spontaneously adopted, and if you must defend that view even so, then you show that your main concern is not for the situation but for your own feelings of validation.” Many thanks again for the comment.

  245. Maxx D. says:

    My view on the whole story differs slightly then the rest I believe, I am an advocate of the Kony 2012 campaign because I believe all children deserve to be free to experience life to its fullest and people who act against this are the worst kind of criminals in my mind. But more importantly, this will get people to be more involved in the ICC most wanted, if we can just ban together and take down one of these people, it will show the rest of them that they are not invincible, and that together, we have the strength to take them out and create a better world for tomorrow! Call me a feel-good story lover, but this is just my own views I care to share with all:)

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  248. The Man of Twists and Turns says:

    “I don’t think it is a stretch to suggest that many of the same individuals who will form the legion of participants in ‘Kony 2012′ were on the streets celebrating the killing of Osama bin Laden.”

    Um, yeah, that IS a bit of a stretch. You provide absolutely no basis for making that claim. Moreover, you completely ignore the many segments of the film which emphasize the goal of arresting Kony and sending him to The Hague.

  249. Greg says:

    Just a small point, word you use the word “mystic” wrongly. Perhaps you mean “fanatics”, “biggots” or “terrorists”.

    Otherwise, a very helpful article. Thanks!

  250. Greg says:

    Just a small point: you use the word “mystic” wrongly. Perhaps you meant “fanatics”, “biggots” or “terrorists”.

    Otherwise, a very helpful article. Thanks!

  251. Dom Jacobs says:

    I have only watched the video once, but from what I remember the charity is asking for money to be donated so that it can fund military action in Uganda. But surely the best way around this is to use the video as a way of getting the people to pressurise government to provide more military support, through campaigning and writing letters to officials, and then ask for people to donate money to help rebuild the areas that Kony has damaged. What occured to me is that is funding military action not illegal? In my opinion, the whole concept should be based around the children and ensuring that they live as good a life as they can, Kony is simply the side story which is in the way of achiving this ambition. To me the whole concept of this being a social media experiment is unfair, never should this sort of issue be considered an experiment. It almost seems as though people feel as though if this fails then at least it has shown the power of the people, or it is good that a new and interesting idea was tried out. People are so quick to jump on new trends without taking a step back and thinking. Plastering every single corner of a city will take us no closer to capturing Kony, perhaps peoples efforts would be better focused on making and contributing to things that will help those affected in the region directly (food packages etc.).

  252. MyFriendAli says:

    …….(REVOLUTION; Raise Awareness!) ……. WE HAVE GOT TO #STOPKony #KONY2012 ……. (Full Video) vimeo: goo.gl/d5TOR & Utube: goo.gl/zo545 & Teaser: goo.gl/OnizS ……. LRA Crisis Tracker: goo.gl/ksuOi ……. Action Kit | Invisible Children Store: goo.gl/0prxq ……. PLEASE SHARE!

  253. Nur U. says:

    they could have just made their sweet awareness movie without asking for “a few dollars” which will make them rich within a short time..for me this is just taking advantage of the pitiful situation others are going through..

  254. Really? says:

    Wow. It’s really sad that so many people have been uninformed for the last 26 years—even though this issue has been reported on the news/in newspapers various times. It’s awesome to create awareness about an issue but it’s also awesome to know who and how you’re supporting it. Also, it’s awesome that when someone tries to inform you they give you the most accurate and most useful information—not bombard you with emotions, catchy songs and merchandise to stir your heart and open your pocket. Just because an idea sounds good and makes us feel good doesn’t mean we should follow it without question–always pay attention to the man behind the curtain, or you could be doing more damage than good.

    Also I love how so many people are attacking the writer for “complaining” and doing “nothing”. He’s actually doing a lot…getting people do take a second look at something after automatically jumping on the bandwagon. Even if you continue to be misinformed about the actual situation (though you dangerously feel that you are now super aware about the CURRENT situation in Uganda) and refuse to accept the truth of the facts clearly sitting in front of you (e.g. where the funds are going, the fact that ACTUAL UGANDANS LIVING IN UGANDA do not have a good impression of the IC, the fact that IC has been under investigation etc), at least for a moment this guy held your attention. I also congratulate IC for getting/holding your attention. That’s where the accolades should stop. I’m glad you feel all warm and validated now that you FEEL more informed and empowered and shared the video link on facebook/twitter/tumblr.

    But if you’re actually going to take the extra step and actually DO something (instead of clicking “like”/”share” and gaining two points on your good citizen of the world tally) instead of donating your money to a suspect organization (characterizing it as simply “not ideal” is an understatement) PLEASE research a legit foundation which actively sends money to the victims instead of using your money to create fancy videos/paraphernalia to REMIND you of an issue you didn’t give a S@#& about when the first reports surfaced years ago. I’m sorry I turned bitter at the end of this comment but I’m SO sick of people’s inability to analyze anything and think independently.

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  256. Renata says:

    This is only one example of several criticism – missing the fact: 1) LRA is still very much alive, and they were active during my visit in June 2011; 2) fine, some of you would like to hear more Ugandan voices, so how exactly would you ask children to tell you about their experience being abused and/or the abuser? 3) Living in constant fear isn’t enough for the UN to intervene ? (knowledge is power, so why not share it)

  257. Brandon C. says:

    sending advisers to a foreign country to help teach how to use the GPS, night-vision devices, and jungle tactical maneuvers hardly seems imperialistic to me. The “intervention” would last maybe a year, and that’s a VERY conservative estimate. Plus, Joseph Kony is just the tip of the iceberg. This campaign is more than many realists care to discover. It’s not just about Uganda, or Kony, or The Invisible Children. This would connect people. A global community of PEOPLE, not government officials, that approaches a common enemy encourages tolerance in that self-same community. THAT IS CERTAINLY SOMETHING WE NEED.

  258. Macy says:

    Sure, there are flaws in his plan. But, he also made a promise to that boy, Jacob, and he is doing whatever possible to keep that promise. Even if there hasn’t been an attack for quite some time, it still needs to be stopped.

  259. TC says:

    They want to capture Kony by appealing to cultural icons and policy makers. My question is, when does invisible children go after the policy makers for their part in slaughtering children around the world?

  260. anthony says:

    actually invisible children has plenty of videos showing the stories of the north ugandan kids.thats how they started in the first place.also just because a lot of political figures know who he is doesnt mean the mass does.im sure hundreds of thousands of people are hearing about this for the first time because of this campaign.idk who wrote this but they definitely need more research

    • Mark Kersten says:

      Thanks for the comment, Anthony.

      Just to reiterate, my intention – as stated in the blog, was not to take aim at Invisible Children in its entirety, nor its past projects or productions. The critique was focused on its KONY2012 campaign and film. I agree – many people are probably hearing about this for the first time and I’m happy that many have found themselves reading posts, like this one, which attempt to give a balanced view on the subject and add to the debate.

  261. Ruth says:

    I didn’t know who Kony was, now I know. I think the aim (for me) of this is changing a mindset, so that people like this do not get swept under the blanket unnoticed, and injustice will not be tolerated, by any-one. It is not going to happen overnight, but we are a bored generation, let’s change this, for next generations, who will make a change in their country/community/schools where they prevent/stop/highlight injustice from all walks of life. It sounds like a far away Idea, but it all has to start some-where. But it’s an idea none the less, and an idea worth spreading.

  262. Randa says:

    Whoop whoop for government manipulation!! haha

    • Mark Kersten says:

      Thanks for sharing – great to see that they are taking the critiques, here and elsewhere, seriously!

  263. Bee Here says:

    It’s easy to click a like button…or vote for a favourite…or whatever you do on Facebook

    A superficial black & white awareness of the issue….successful
    Effort required to make it look like shit is happening…almost nil

  264. Gloria says:

    Nothing is perfect. It’s sad soo many people are trying to find the flaws in KONY 2012, instead of praise it’s attempt at making a difference. Sure the problem may be larger than Kony, but the fact is he’s done terrible things and should’nt be roaming freely any longer!!! The video CLEARLY says that the problem has moved out of Uganda but he is STILL at large, STILL causing pain! He needs to pay for his transgressions! It started with a promise to Jacob, and help is needed in order to keep the promise! Sure there are tons of evil people out there, but the elimination of 1 bad guy will STILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE! A difference to a country or to 1 person, it’s STILL A DIFFERENCE! A difference not many people were aware of, a difference EVERYONE can help create, a difference that has been brought to the light in that “flawed” video. A short film is getting millions of Americans off their media crazed, social networking obsessed, conforming to society’s ASSES to stand & fight for a greater good in the world! That in itself is a difference and if in the end that’s all the KONY 2012 movement was able to do, then it STILL did some GOOD!

  265. isaiah says:

    I see this diffrenetly, I could agree with you if this was aimed towards adults, but notice how its not. Children are well known as the future, now if you implant the idea of love in the teenagers of today, ones going to college or graduating soon. The idea is to implant the ideas of love and equal rights which has been so lacking in history. If you could make every person in power compassionate and cringe at the destruction of his fellow man. And I mean really teach them its wrong, then what will those nation leaders want there young children to know. It will stop a cycle of hate with love. Kinda like how the Spaniards changed south America. So know let me ask you, how many young teens around the world are unifying for peace? How many of those teens will teach those values to they’re siblings and they’re children, and their children’s children. Now let me ask you this. How long before this already viral mission infects government? And how many generation would it take for this cycle to take full effect? 🙂 not that hard guys. Think outside the box.

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  267. Crys says:

    Everyone is always suspicious about things like this: big projects that want support from the entire nation for a problem halfway across the globe. I think that’s a good thing. The video’s goal is to garner interest in a topic. Sure, it could’ve explained all the details and the history, but it’s goal was focused on getting a general message out to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. That being said, people should never take anything at face value: uninformed support is just as bad as brushing the project off as useless because there are flaws. Personally, Im glad I ran into this video. It piqued my interest, I am currently informing myself, and then I’ll form an opinion, and take action. Hopefully, everyone else does the same.

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  272. Whether you agree or disagree with the whole of Kony 2912 and the way it was put together, it is hard to scoff at a grass roots campaign emanating from the United States to stop a indicted war criminal. I also don’t have a problem with ‘stop’, ‘bring to justice’, and ‘kill’ being used inter-changeably in this and certain other situations. Although it does not fit neatly with what we American’s typically expect as far as due process… the fact of the matter is that there are evil people in the world, and some of them deserve to die for what their crimes – whether it was today, last year, or a decade ago. Just look at the Nazi leaders still being brought to justice in South America… do they get a free pass because it was over 60 years ago? No. And Joseph Kony should not get a free pass because the bulk of his atrocities occurred some time ago. Thumbs up to the Kony 2012 movement.

  273. i cannot believe an animal such as joseph kony is getting away with such shocking crimes like this , this animal is worse than the devil himself and needs to be stoppped !!!! wtf is our world doing allowing this to continue ??????????

  274. brasscavalier says:

    Reblogged this on Brash Cavalier.

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  276. Techninja says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this article. I can’t say whether or not I am a huge fan of the Kony 2012, I do believe that it is an atrocity and that people should at least be educated about it. I am not a firm believer that there is anything more that the USA should do because the USA is not always the answer. We’ve seen that when the US tries to intervene in other countries and direct its reconstruction with our own ideals. It is often when the victims solve the problem themselves that the best solution comes about, for who knows better what to do about the problem then those who are most affected by it. Of course we shouldn’t just leave them to fend for themselves, but this is not a case where the US taking charge is the solution. Help should come in the form of aid such as food, medicine, etc. and advisers who have a thorough understanding, of not only the situation but also of Ugandan history and culture. The advisers should help the people help themselves. It is like having a bully problem; your big brother may come and protect you for a while from the bully, but the moment he leaves, that bully will come right back and hurt you. However, when you stand up to that bully and make him stop yourself, the solution is often permanent. We have to believe in the Ugandan people. We have to believe that no matter how poor or how devastated a people may be, that they are still human beings and that they still have power to take control of their lives and do something about it. Look at the uprisings in the Middle East! The US took very little action in those besides its typical stating of its position and still many of those countries accomplished something! And don’t say that this can’t be accomplished in Uganda because there is such a large militant force that will hurt people who oppose them. People get hurt and killed in Syria every day, yet there are those who still protest everyday and the world is hearing them.

    Even if we take out Kony, the problem is unlikely to be solved. Someone else is likely to take his place and continue the LRA. And, as this article stated, the LRA is not the only problem, the government must also change if there is to be no further terror. In fact, it is quite often that groups such as the LRA rise as a response to corrupt and tyrannical governments. Take out the LRA without solving the government problem and we’ll just see the rise of another militant group. This problem must be treated at its roots. If this problem is to be solved, the entire problem must be solved.

    I would like to say kudos to the author of this article. With everyone suddenly shouting out their support for Kony 2012, I was wondering if anyone was taking the time to actually think and learn about what they are supporting. To the person who wrote this, “I find it interesting that individuals like the author of this blog will ride its popularity to promote themselves, through critique. Its rather disgusting actually” I say I find you disgusting. First, did you take the time to read the tidbit about the author? This is not done merely for popularity; this was done because he has a sincere interest in the topic. Second, WHAT THE HELL is wrong with critique? Why do you think we have arguments, debates, peer-review, etc? Its so that we can come a complete and better understanding of what we are actually talking about. If we never critiqued anything, nothing would ever get better. In fact the Kony campaign can learn quite and bit from this article and IMPROVE their own argument/campaign. Critique helps us spot the flaws in our reasoning and fix them so that we can create an even more convincing argument. Just because this is a good cause does not mean it is above critique. Sure it might be above things like “This is stupid, no one should support something so far away” (even that is debatable, people debate all the time about whether people should be worried about things that don’t affect their every day lives). Debate and Critique are a form of conversation, and if there is anything this world needs more of it is conversation with each other. Only through conversation can we come to understand each other and only through understanding can we achieve solutions and results.

    Sorry for any grammatical or spelling mistakes, it’s late, I’ve been up for so long working on a research paper, and I’m tired. If there’s anything in here that is confusing because of grammar or spelling, please reply and let me know so i can fix it!

  277. Techninja says:

    Oh yeah, sorry for the double post, but i would like to say to the author “Goo job, keep doing what you’re doing!”

  278. John says:

    So many people have become emotionally invested in this issue by watching a simplistic video. Rather than dealing with the very real concerns that this article raises, they would prefer to viciously defend their emotional connection to the issue by attacking the author as some ivory-tower intellect who has no solutions to a problem (a problem that they are more than twenty years late on). The vast majority of comments on both the video and this article reveal that almost none of these people had even heard of Joseph Koney prior to the release of this video. The simple fact that an issue like this cannot be addressed without an awareness of the social-political realities or the history of colonialism is lost on these people. None of them actually care what Ugandans are saying about this hype (hint, most Ugandans think these people should update their knowledge).

    Please note, you can be opposed to Joseph Kony and ALSO be opposed to bad solutions.

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  280. akarenlarson says:

    The problem you identify isn’t actually IC’s fault–if people don’t research what they hear about, it’s THEIR fault. It is our responsibility as global citizens to research what we hear about. OF COURSE advertisements have an agenda. THEY ALL have an agenda. We’re SUPPOSED to research what we hear. I, for one, have been behind the IC for years. I’ve done the research on this issue. I don’t agree with the IC 100%, but you know what? WHO ELSE IS DOING ANYTHING USEFUL? I’ve researched, and I haven’t found anyone garnering results like the IC. I’m tired of my generation complaining about something good just to stand against it. The same thing happens with Obama. I don’t agree with everything he does either, but I doubt I will find anyone, ever that I agree with 100%. I don’t think anyone will agree on anything 100%.

    And wait. I understand that you’re upset with the IC for several reasons. But you’re seriously going to downplay the arrest/killing of one of the most heinous men in history? Why don’t you SUPPORT the IC? Why don’t you email them and say, “Hey, there are some things I have questions about, and I also have a few suggestions to make your campaign more effective and credible.” Why does everyone in our generation have to criticize instead of recognizing someone’s attempt to better this world and JOIN to help? What happened to positive critique? Why must we slander someone who’s trying to do something, and who actually has? What about the radio towers to warn villages of the LRA’s whereabouts? What about their commitment to rebuilding schools and providing scholarships for students to attend? Yeah, they make money. Well, they’ve got to make a living, haven’t they? It’s not like they are hoarding their wealth in mansions and spending it all on lavish parties. They make money, and then they pay their workers and give back. They pay themselves, too. If you have a problem with the way they spend their money, ask for some transparency. Maybe you’ll get some. If you don’t, THAT would be something to write about.

    And just for the record, this article is propaganda in itself. You also have an agenda. You ALSO fail to mention or cite any of your sources besides your own experience of asking Ugandans questions about the state of their country. You have to make sure your hands are clean before you go pointing blame on someone else; otherwise, you’re no better than the political attack ads.

    You sound like a critical thinker. In the future, I would find your articles much more interesting if you: A) Discussed an organization like you did here, then B) pointed out some weaknesses and ways in which it could be stronger, and then C) provided avenues for your readers to take action. Because right now, it seems like you want to deter people from helping stop Kony. Was that your intention?

  281. FacebookFrenzyy says:

    First, let me apologize for my rambled statement, I’m sick and have had quite a few sleepless nights. I’ve spent the past 4 hours reading over these comments, as well as trying to find more information on Joseph Kony and IC. What I feel some people don’t realize is that this is so much bigger than him. Look, what I took out of the video was finding out that he exists, and that obviously he must be stopped. The sole goal of this video was to raise awareness, and it has certainly done that. As a 16 year old, you might be surprised to know that I try very hard to educate myself about the world, and am sickened when all I see on Facebook is ‘drama’, and nothing about the world at large or an acknowledgement that there are more pressing things in happening right in front of them. Today however, I saw a healthy debate on the IC group itself, but no one was coming out to say he shouldn’t be captured. Everyone I’ve talked to online and in person is in agreement he must be stopped. It is not up to me or known how to do that, but the outcome of this particular leg of the overwhelming task of Ugandan reform should be him being sent to The Hague (ICC). I do not want to see another Qaddafi-type situation (military intervention included) where we prop up a small group with no knowledge of who they are (ironic saying that here, isn’t it?) I hope that from this we can have an influence on ALL of the issues that face the world today, as there as so many. I certainly don’t think of my self as someone who ‘jumps on the bandwagon’, but I’m also not a policy maker. I don’t know enough to find a solution to this, but even the best of us haven’t at this point. What I can do however, is help influence positive change by getting my government (in my case Canadian) to talk about this about this and find a way to capture him, but more importantly assist the region in becoming independent and safe. Yes, it may be relatively peaceful in Uganda now, but because of this man other areas near Uganda are not. And the only arguments that have actually upset me here are the one about the charity only giving something like 31% of their profits to help the region, and more importantly that the rate of kidnappings have dropped by 80%. First, most charities are like this, I’m not a big fan of charities for this reason, but it certainly isn’t unique to IC or new. To address the second argument, I don’t care if it’s dropped by 99%, HE’S COMMITTED CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY. Have we really reached a point where if it’s not happening as much now it doesn’t matter? He’s done disgusting things, and should be tried for them, I think we can all agree on that. But like I said, I’ll leave the decision making to my and other governments, since they know more about the inner working and geopolitics than I do. I won’t be giving a dime to IC, mainly because I don’t have a dime to give. But I will continue to advocate for human rights and to highlight other atrocities occurring on our little planet.

    Anyways that’s my opinion, I just think we’re all human beings and should stand up for each other. Than again what do I know, I’m only a 16 year old Canadian.



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  283. Braden Gammon says:

    Just saying,

    I had not even heard of Joseph Kony until I watched IC’s video, and neither had any of my friends or teachers. I think that it is even more wrong to assume that the general population DOES know who Joseph Kony is.

    I also think you do a great job underestimating the power of psychological warfare.


  284. ckl says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for this, Mark – the best articulation I’ve seen of why I’ve found this so disturbing.

  285. michelle says:

    If kony is as popular as you say then why have there been so many hits on your site?! Perhaps searching to find out about this man they know nothing about?! Not sure why you would want to minimize kony … A man leading a group that forces a funeral procession of 60 to boil and eat the man they were carrying they after they ate him they killed the 60 people in the procession….pretty sure this man sounds as sadistic as those on the poster with him…this is ONE of the crimes he committed just one… Don’t use your eloquent tongue to confuse people into thinking that the video is not worth of the reputation is is getting.

  286. MOBY says:

    One problem at a time, eh? ;-D

  287. Those with negativity are just trying to find anything to bitch about. Perhaps you aren’t going to get off of your butts and try to do something about it, and it really upsets you that you won’t. Every voice matters. You have to take ACTION to make something happen. If you aren’t going to do anything about it, just sit back, relax, and shut up.

  288. LucasM says:

    Just so everyone knows, Kony wants to overthrow the Ugandan government and establish a theocratic government enforcing the 10 commandments. LRA stands for Lord’s Resistance Army.

  289. Rick Marcy says:

    If Katy Coric didn’t know about it til just over an hour ago then I don’t think anywhere near as many people had ever heard about Joseph Kony til 3 days ago!! Join the cause and stop being a skeptic will ya!

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  291. Paul Bork says:

    Thanks to Mr. Kersten for this article. I have followed Invisible Children for about 6 years now and have attended their events supported them in some of their campaigns but have also recognized many of their shortcomings. I believe deeply in the words of Margarat Meade who said “never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, thats all who ever had.” Invisible Children is indeed a very ambitious and altruistic group of people that have made enormous differences in the lives thousands of Ugandans. That being said, one of my many issues with Kony2012 along with IC in general is the entire modus operandi. They bring to light a human rights issue and conflict in Uganda yet, perpetuate the stereotype of Africa as a murderous, savage monolith and I understand the resulting paradox is not their fault. For how is IC supposed to raise awareness about the fighting, without once again reminding everyone that Africa does indeed have much conflict? It is a double edged sword.

    The reductionist nature of IC though is brought about by their energetic, fun, creative and emotional-roller coaster like marketing and audience. There is no accountability for those at IC to make sure that the facts are checked, the scholars have been consulted and the realities match the message. This is because the majority of those who will carry the message through social media are the most socialized people… teens. Many of them could not point out Uganda on a map nor after attending a number of IC events, name the capital city of Uganda. I don’t want to sound judgmental and harsh but this is a reality, I have attended these events and of course this is not the case for ALL IC members but is reflective of many of them. I couldn’t help but notice, in the Kony2012 video, how everyone was jumping up and down when the news came of Obama sending a task force into Uganda. It seemed naive and hinted toward wishful thinking. My first thought was, man these people watch Blood Diamond and Tears of the Sun way too many times. What do they think is going to happen? Obama is forming Seal Team Six and planning a covert, James Bondish operation? (Yes, I am speculating a bit. However, don’t be surprised when you take the time to think about the movies about Africa you have seen the list includes a bunch of movies that are all basically the same; Hotel Rwanda, The Constant Gardner, Blood Diamond, Black Hawk Down and Tears of the Sun, Lord of War).

    What I think Mr. Kersten is getting at and many people are forgetting is that Joseph Kony has not operated in the bush for almost 30 years by accident. There are many people to blame for this conflict, many of them African heads of state. Where has Kony gotten the weapons from to arm thousand and thousands of children? Additionally, what factors come into play, if say, Kony is assassinated or arrested? Omar Al-bashir in Sudan who funds the Janjaweed in Darfur has been implicated in assisting Kony. Now that Southern Sudan is a new nation and borders Northern Uganda how will that impact relations and actions on the parts of governments? Invisible Children has been operating for almost a decade, the efforts to stop Joseph Kony are not new, although I believe they have been bolstered by the work done by IC and many other NGO’s. Invisible Children are not the only people who are concerned about this conflict and I believe they need to take some clues from the actual experts who do study it and I believe effect even greater change but as of right now they are missing a number of pieces to the puzzle.

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  293. Katy says:

    Most people’s argument against kony 2012 is that they left Uganda years ago. I would like to point out that THIS WAS IN THE VIDEO! you people call us uninformed when you don’t even know what exactly youre complaining about, except that it’s gotten big and you are annoyed by people standing up for what they bevieve in.

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  295. heriR. says:

    Hi Mark,

    Great points.

    I wrote a blog post here with additional facts http://rsemadagascar.tumblr.com/post/18913580475/is-militarization-and-us-interference-the-best-solution

    1. There other previous US interventions in Uganda and they all failed

    2. Most political leaders in Uganda do not want the US to come

    3. and perhaps the fact that oil was discovered in Uganda in 2011, so everyone wants in. The US gov have realized too late how heavily the Chinese are in the area and in the rest of Africa so that they can get their hands on the natural resources. It’s a very sad state of affairs. The US gov don’t probably want to miss out entirely on what the Chinese are already enjoying. They’re already providing strategic advice to the Ugandan Army and it stated the same week a top general in the Chinese army visited Uganada to try and make sure they win the oil contract. Coincidence? I think not.

    • The Man of Twists and Turns says:

      Do you have any idea what you’re talking about in point 3? What you’re suggesting is that the US would rather come up with some elaborate pretext to invade some tiny, unstable land-locked country in Africa in order to seize a small quantity of oil there rather than simply approve a pipeline across North America that would be far more secure and reliable. Is that really what you meant to suggest?

      Some things are about economics, and some things aren’t. This is a case of the latter.

  296. Jake Simkin says:

    After witnessing first hand the accounts and photographing the atrocities mainly in DRC of the LRA, I have hundreds of photos of people mutilated, heads cut off, women raped, pregnant mothers with stomaches ripped open with smashed fetuses. I would like to see this man dead and the LRA abolished. You can criticize an action of an organisation to do such a thing as mass propaganda but at least somebody wants to try.

  297. thetimelady says:

    An issue, I feel, that needs to be brought up, is the idea of what is being told to the masses. This 30 minute video did tell a story – but after looking at different articles, the video is filled with extremely emotional scenes and messages. Yes, this is a terrible act on human rights and something needs to be done. On the other hand, I think on an advocate side of things, all points of view need to be presented to make a proper understanding of the issue.

    I am not gonna lie, I was one of the many millions who, after watching this video, was so pumped up to do something and wanted to take down this evil bastard Kony – I was looking into the prices of posters and those kits. Now, I am taking a step back and re-evaluating the situation. I feel almost embarrassed that I ran right into this without taking a second glance of what this issue is all about. I have begun questioning the tactics of this campaign and wondering what, in particular, made me want to become so enthralled in this issue when I knew barely anything about it.

    I am in my first year of my sociology major and this really intrigues me: this whole idea of how social media and social advocacy can capture the minds of individuals in such a powerful way. I don’t have any answers on this right now but as social media develops (as I know it will) the way in which humans interact with one another will become even more complex.

    I just question now if this hype will last? Will interest still be there by April 20th? By the end of the year? Is it our need, as human beings, to connect with one another that when we see an opportunity such as helping those in Africa that we jump to arms with no hesitation?

    All that I have learned over the past 24 hours is to research beyond what is given in topics like this: There is always two sides to the story. Yes, Kony needs to be stopped and through this social media campaign, the end of his reign is fast approaching. On the other hand, I appreciate this article on brining up the thought: What happens after Kony?

    I appreciate the work of all NGO’s and all of their hard, dedicated work and their drive to improve the lives of so many. As well, thank you Mr. Kersten for presenting this article. You have those who agree and disagree, but you provided information that needed to be presented.

    Gosh, I feel like I have written an essay for school…

  298. deena says:

    yes, killing Kony will not stop the rest of the army, just like killing Saddam and Osama did not stop terrorism. think about it. same shit, different country. but look, instead of sitting in your comfortable homes arguing and whining behind your computer screens about whether or not this is a conspiracy, use your time to do something useful (by yourself, or through this Kony 2012 campaign – whichever you believe in) to actually try to help and make a difference instead.

  299. Joe Mack says:

    let me start by saying that if it werent for the #KONY 2012 video i wouldnt have had my eyes opened to this problem. i literally cried the fist time i watched the viral video, admittedly i have a soft spot for an suffering child, most do. i am not on facebook or twitter. i stumbled upon the video after seeing #KONY 2012 for the 1000th time on a YoutTube video comment on very unrelated #KONY 2012 videos. finally i gave in. My first thought was i need to do whatever i can for the #KONY 2012 cause. But i am very neutral in all my beliefs so before i gave in i had to play devils advocate and i sought after articles like this one.

    Not only have i read a lot of articles like this one but i have also read almost all of the comments. the #KONY 2012 movement has a genuine cause but it is understating the problem and giving the wrong solution. I personally believe anyone who takes away a child’s innocence deserves to die, but im american. we are brought up to cherish our young, like the video focus’s on.

    The Answer………… forgiveness.

    i stumbled upon some great videos on YouTube by journeyman pictures. There are 3-4 videos that i found that all are 20 min long all on the subject of issues with central African youth, terrorism, and military. They are just as moving as the Invisible Child videos. But what i took away from them was far different. the majority of the Africans that were interviewed were preaching forgiveness. that it was the way to fix the entire problem.

    at first i didn’t understand how anyone could forgive Joseph Kony, but hear me out.

    The man that inspired me the most appeared in 2 of the videos. He is a priest. His daughter committed suicide after she was rapped and tortured by members of the LRA. Then years later his wife was killed by a LRA land mine. If his story is true, he truly has seen and suffered from an evil that i can never understand.

    Since his wife died his mission has been to preach peace and forgiveness. He hopes with them(peace and forgiveness) he can help others to never go through what he had to go through. and it makes sense.

    2 things come into play for me…..

    1. the Ugandan government has already granted amnesty to anyone who defects from the LRA.


    2. Joseph Kony uses children as his defense.

    it is estimates that 90% of the LRA have been abducted and forced to obey. So why should they be punished for wanting to survive???

    any force that goes after him will probably have to kill kids to get to him. even though i despise this man and i would love to read a headline that he is dead…. i couldn’t kill 1 child to get to him in order to arrest or assassinate him. nor would i be able to ask anyone or expect anyone to be able to do that.

    by killing or arresting Joseph Kony you are trying to fix evil with evil.

    Invisible Child/#Kony 2012 movement had the right idea by exposing everyone to the injustice but they forgot to leave their american ideals out. If peace is their mission why arent they preaching it? i personally think they are telling the people how to fix the problem and not asking them how they would like it to be fixed.

    • The Man of Twists and Turns says:

      Uh, Ugandans are brought up to “cherish their young” too. It’s a universal human inclination, not some special character trait of Americans or Westerners.

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  303. Andrew Pettit says:

    An interesting perspective on the Kony 2012 campaign. Your post title is likely designed to draw attention. I believe your real call to action – or at least a more desirable outcome of your message – is for us to look deeper into the issues such that we could contribute to a more thoughtful, effective response to what seems to be an issue with far deeper complexities than the inarguably disgusting-but-surface attrocities outlined. As you and others have noted, the campaign video shares the reactions of a very young boy to a clearly oversimplified portrayal of the issues. His reaction, in turn, shapes our own. I believe you are asking us: (1) “Are we capable of and responsible for something more?” and (2) noting the campaign is catching our attention, and rightly so, “Are we informed enough to drive the next steps?” Rather than “Taking ‘Kony 2012’ Down A Notch,” could we lift both the campaign and the important questions raised in your article higher?

  304. All I do know is, that if my six 12 months old daughter was kidnapped to be a intercourse slave, devastation can be an understatement. Take into consideration your individual kids, people. And in my view, ANY motion accomplished to attempt to finish this, is a good deed. Stop with all of criticism. Kony is the chief, and if there is a sufficiently big stand against this, killing Kony would ultimately finish this. Think about Hitler. After Hitler died, the killings stopped quickly after. STOPKONY2012

  305. Daniel S. says:


    The link isn’t for the writer of the article as his statements are made against the video only and not the organization behind it, this is for those who are posting numbers and spreading false/poorly researched information on the web, we must remember that not all of our cited sources are correct especially when we are citing other blogs and forums or even small independent news websites. This is Invisible Children’s finance records and it also acknowledges the Ugandan Government’s human rights issues, they do not put any money into the Government or into the the Ugandan army. They build schools, churches, radio towers, fences, walls ect. The video may be too simple, yes, but putting money into the cause is doing more than some simple “we will stop him” campaign. The organization’s only part in actually STOPPING Kony and the LRA is in spreading information about his actions and trying to get the masses behind this movement and even other causes out there.
    I personally would feel better if Invisible Children gave us links to donate to other organizations if we still felt uncomfortable about their spending or the tactics of their campaign. I don’t like your photograph of the Invisible Children’s founders with that militant group, its a slanderous, cheap shot for someone who claims to praise the organization’s cause. I think the photograph was meant to be symbolic or metaphoric however is being used in a distorted manner here which is damaging to the movement to a whole.
    I personally glad to see a article which isn’t stating to “Do nothing because IC is corrupt and evil and hates Africans BLAH BLAH BLAH.”
    So thank you for that at least.

    • melanie says:

      Well put Daniel. Its strange how so many people have taken such seemingly personal offense at this campaign. I do think those who do, seem to really miss the point. In essence you could say that for 10 years that Invisible Children have been doing a lot of work in the country, trying to help communities build their lives…the rest of the world has been carrying on with theirs in complete ignorance of the continuing violence in the country. Too often people get on their high horses to criticize, which is clear with criticism about this campaign, when those very people haven’t gone further to understand the work of Invisible Children and the investment they’ve made to so may in Uganda

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  307. Megan says:

    This is a good and thought provoking article. It is always, always good to research an organization beyond the information that organization is providing on their own website. Being a whistle blower can make someone unpopular but it is an important civic duty. And I, like others, got to the end of the film and felt like my consumerism nerve was being tickled or like I had accidentally walked into a time share presentation. Beyond that I felt like IC was a little too eager to take credit for all the advances in the LRA situation.

    Getting the information out there to uninformed people is an important first step, yes, and hopefully people will be proactive in getting all their facts before deciding which charities and organizations they will support. Capturing Kony is also, of course, an important step. At this point, however, the whole situation is very complex, crossing borders and involving many actors. Cutting off the head won’t necessarily kill the beast; when a big one falls many little guys have a tendency of popping up. And in this case it seems like there are many people who could be on the “bad” side of our “good versus evil” dichotomy, unfortunately not necessarily playing for the same team. If we waste too much energy pointing our fingers at trying to figure out who “the bad guy” is we turn our backs on other crimes and we don’t want to end up just replacing one bad situation with another.

    I think ultimately we really run the risk of turning this whole campaign into about the youth of the western world: how they stepped up, how they were compassionate. And I’m sure I sound like a pessimist but as someone who feels quite invested in social justice my response to that is – well, it’s about damn time and it had better not end up with Kony. I think the people who SHOULD be the stars, and who should be the central decision makers, are the people who live in Uganda and the other affected nations – the people who are actually deeply and mortally invested in creating and preserving peace, who understand their regional and national sociopolitical climates and what things like tribal conflict really mean. Westerners have the resources and the ability to give them freely, but ultimately we’re not the ones who have to live there. And as far as the comments that “doing something is better than doing nothing” – as far as I’m concerned, when people’s lives are in question you shouldn’t just do “anything”. I think people want this to be as simple, and it just isn’t.

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  311. GMK says:

    If nothing else, those who are knowledgable about the LRA and the crimes that have been committed for years, should be glad that the word was spread! No, this video is not the solution, but it’s true that SO MANY people have no idea who kony is. In this post it says that he is well known, and I think the facebook/twitter/youtube blow up is proof that he was vastly unknown! Yes it’s sad youth no longer pays attention to news, but we can’t make them! This is the new way to inform people.

  312. Arj says:

    You make a lot of good , critical suggestion.
    If you have so many ideas for what the organizers of the campaign should do, why don’t you try to do it yourself?

  313. Amy says:

    I feel that this cause is completely just and maybe the video has a very dramatic tone but the is to keep you interested as a motivation for change. This is not a global issue criminal I at all, we would hear a out it at least on CNV but no knows such things are happening today because no one wants us to know . You may feel that this is a dramatic reaction but to me one child killed is one too many. I was born in the Untied States so I do not have to worry about and I’m sure the same for you but if I was one of those children I would want to be rescued for being held against my will. Just as the nazis followed orders that’s what’s going on, this man speaks of peace when he really means pretend there is peace while he plots. No one is asking these abducted children and when one of them is raising their voice then we must listen. As humans it is our job to help and I completely disagree that we should not react to this

  314. 3ariana3 says: