Most people have heard about Joseph Kony and the LRA in the last 48 hours. Most people connected to the mainstream news media, Facebook and YouTube anyway. In fact the youtube video when I viewed it was barely 48 hours old and had almost half a million views. Checking back today, a mere twenty hours later it has reached the lofty sum of fifteen million views. People power!
The cause is strong and seems to have quite a lot of public support and why not? Who wouldn’t be against the arrest of a man responsible for the traumatisation, murder and rape of thousands of young Africans. I do have some thoughts/questions about the movie and the movement. No, I’m not being a heartless pig who is frowning upon a movement of the people for the sake of hearing my own voice. I’m not being heartless towards those children either. Just asking questions.
1. Will making Kony famous do anything except perhaps elevate his status to that of the antiheroes we already know about around the world, dictators and terrorists alike. There does not appear to be a plan other than forcing governments to take note of what the people want. Mob rule in other words. What can a western government seriously do?
A plan would involve an action that give governments the ability to move on a topic. The people filmed in the video are campaigning for the US government to invade a sovereign country (or three) in the attempt to arrest this man. Perhaps a plan would have foreseen the obvious diplomatic problems with this and used the voices of the Ugandan people to put pressure on their government to either start their own campaign or ask for assistance.
A plan would involve an action that decides how on earth a military intervention is going to protect the thousands of child soldiers this man uses to protect himself. US or any other forces will be forced to fight against these children, wound and kill these children, if anyone is going to get close enough to capture this man.
Is there a plan that would involve the infrastructure and systems in place already to deal with thousands of illiterate children who have no idea how to live in a peaceful and prosperous society?
2. Showing hundreds of young people saluting with their fists or the ‘peace’ sign raised to the air and showing hundreds of young people repeating the words of a leader does not inspire me. It scares me. A war cry or chant I can understand but rote repetition does not stir in me a sense of freedom. These young people have set aside their right to speak their own words and think their own thoughts so willingly without serious information to act upon. Why? Have they asked questions or simply believed? What faith is this! Hopefully not a misplaced faith.
3. Who is Joseph Kony? Why is there no information about him? This may be my incorrect assumption but as this is comments on the movie and not on any research I’ve done I still feel this is a valid point. I feel very much like the director’s son. A picture I’ve been shown and a mantra I’ve had repeatedly seared into my soul but who is this man? The International Criminal Court wants him for kidnapping, mutilation, murder and rape. So I’m told. I’m not playing at being a sceptic. I simply wonder why such a lack of hard information in a video that uses such emotive imagery and words. I want to know who Kony is and why I should hate him. Some dates, places, names, events, evidence could have been produced ensure that all the bases Surely such a momentous occasion warrants that.
Simply put I think this is a valid cause with some flaws. We will see what happens and we may be wrong but I refuse to see a video and devote my entire cause to it simply because I’ve been shown a video. Am I being cold and heartless towards those children? No, I’m simply making some observations and asking some questions about the video. What do you think about the it?
An interesting article here by a freelance journalist who has apparently lived and worked in Uganda.