Why I won’t be supporting #Kony 2012
March 10, 2012 Leave a comment
Forget Invisible Children’s troubling finances for a moment. What do these people actually want? The picture above shows the charity’s founders posing with members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Their now extraordinarily successful video openly advocates support for the Ugandan armed forces, and they have intensely lobbied the US Government to assist the Ugandan regime in crushing Kony and the LRA. They argue these forces are in the best position to stop Kony. I don’t doubt for a moment their sincerity and good intentions.
Just one problem, folks: the Ugandan army and the SPLA stand accused of atrocities such as the use of rape to control local populations, murder, torture and looting. Ironically, the SPLA has systematically utilized child soldiers.
According to Foreign Affairs, “the Ugandan government’s aggressive counterinsurgency measures” against the LRA has included forcing the population of northern Uganda “to relocate into what were effectively concentration camps… poorly protected from attacks, and faced dreadful living conditions. A study carried out under the auspices of the World Health Organization in 2005 found that there were 1000 excess deaths per week in the Acholi region”.
They have a lot to say about Invisible Children: “In their campaigns, such organizations have manipulated facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRA’s use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony — a brutal man, to be sure — as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil. They rarely refer to the Ugandan government atrocities or those of Sudan’s People’s Liberation Army, such as attacks against civilians or looting of civilian homes and businesses, or the complicated regional politics fueling the conflict”.
Scathing stuff, but this clueless activism that puts heart before head is all too familiar.
Recently Invisible Children deleted a telling statement on their blog on the subject of military intervention:
“…when speaking of pure pacifism, we disagree. Invisible Children believes in the usefulness of strategic intervention in humanitarian crises. To ignore this is to allow another Rwanda. “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”.
Yet Kony isn’t even in Uganda, and Invisible Children admits this. The LRA operates in an area larger than France, stretching from southern Darfur to parts of South Sudan and the northern Congo. Taking Kony and the LRA down would require military intervention in no less than four African countries. To this I say: no thanks.