As pretty much everyone reading this is already aware of, in the last few days the internet, specifically social networking sites, has been quickly overrun by a new movement called “Kony 2012”. They have done a pretty good job of getting the word out there, it seems that everywhere you look there is a Kony 2012 picture as an avatar, or a status by some new celebrity in support of the movement. I want to discuss 3 things, 1. What is this movement, 2. What’s good about it? and 3. Whats bad about it?
1. What is this movement?
Joseph Kony is the leader of a group called “The Lord’s Resistance Army” that operates in Uganda. The group is essentially a militant extremist terrorist organization, and Mr. Kony is pretty much insane. The LRA and Kony have perpetuated all kinds of massacres all across Uganda. They have burn villages, killed families and raped women. They have participated in an armed conflict across Uganda that has resulted in many deaths. In response to this, a group called “Invisible Children Inc” has produced a 30 minute video (called Kony 2012) released on the Internet a few days ago that is aimed at both raising awareness of Mr.Kony for his crimes and bringing him to Justice, and also to lobby for an increased military presence for American’s in Uganda. This has caused a massive outpouring of support all over the internet.
2. What’s good about it?
It’s good to see people concerned about injustice. Mr. Kony is a sick man that everyone should want to see brought to justice. It’s good when Americans look beyond themselves and see that people in other nations like Uganda need there help. The concern for Justice is very honorable. Even better is the desire on the part of some to actually go to Uganda and help the needy people that live there.
3. Whats bad about it?
A whole lot. There are a lot of articles out there detailing this stuff, like this one: http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/03/07/guest_post_joseph_kony_is_not_in_uganda_and_other_complicated_things
It’s kind of all around the internet at once, but I will try and summarize briefly some of the concerns with this movement and then leave it up to you to research it more.
1. One of the main purposes of the group is to pour millions of American dollars into Uganda to fund the Ugandan government and it’s military. Aside from the fact that we do not have the money, America sending more war to Uganda is the last thing that place needs. America does not need another Iraq, war does not solve these problems.
2. The group is funded by the Ugandan government, which is notoriously corrupt and has committed many atrocities itself.
3. The LRA has almost totally died down in Uganda. Joseph Kony hasn’t even been there in years and there are only a few hundred troops of the LRA even left. So why do we need to send so much money and weaponry?
4. The documentary provides a massive over simplification of a complex issue. Most of the people are not even aware where Uganda is on a map and are now trying to involve themselves in a very complex situation.
5. Recently, they just discovered oil in Uganda. Considering all the crazy horrible things going on in the world, it’s very ironic America is focused here, where the Oil is.
6. It is not going to be easy to catch him if we send ton of troops. It took us 10 years to catch Osama Bin Laden.
It’s great to see people get involved, but this organization is very shady and has really simplified and exaggerated the facts. Uganda needs a lot of humanitarian help, mostly because these Child soldiers have grown up now. What it does not need is an American Military presence. Unfortunately, this has marshaled a large group of uninformed people advocating direct military intervention. This is looking very suspicious, its looking like this is another excuse to involve Americans in a needless military conflict. Oil was very recently discovered in Uganda, Oil China wants. This is a very easy excuse for us to go in and secure that Oil. People need to research organizations and find out where the money leads. American Military intervention in Uganda will have bad results. And this really just seems like a front for it. People have jumped on this bandwagon far to easy, with a naive American idealism that we can solve any problem just by getting involved in it.
I am hope I am wrong, but it really seems like this well meaning but mostly uninformed movement may cause a military build up in Uganda that will really hurt that nation, bringing more conflict and less peace.