Kony 2012 campaign shows how gullible the internet can make us…

The initial presence of the video by a charity calling themselves ‘Invisible Children’ made me a little excited that a new movement might be unfolding. I watched the video that had gone viral for about ten minutes then turned it off because it was actually a bit hard to watch. As a public relations piece it was highly successful but close scrutiny of the charity and its intentions showed an extremely worrying disregard for the dangerous precedent they were setting. What they were advocating was a military intervention in Uganda, and were working closely with AFRICOM who are the United States’ ‘Africa Command’.
The videos that the charity makes provide hardly any substance. Nobody can claim Joseph Kony’s innocence but nobody can claim that there aren’t tyrants all over Africa. According to the Ugandan government, he is not even in the country any more. Despite this, Barack Obama has already sent one hundred US troops into Uganda. The military of Uganda, who the charity is fund-raising for, has been implicated in accusations of genocide and mass rape itself. A screening of the video has also led to an expressed outrage amongst the natives. And whilst Uganda is relatively peaceful at the moment, the country is in the state it is because of Western imperialism.
The Lord’s Resistance Army – to which Kony’s child soldiers are conscripted – dates back to 1986 when President Museveni committed a series of mass atrocities on a secularised group in northern and central Uganda called the Acholis. Joseph Kony built a militia that countered the government. His crimes are inexcusable and shocking, but all war crimes are inexcusable and shocking. The United States are currently number one for war crimes but won’t answer to the International Criminal Court itself. Yet, it is mandatory for Kony to do so.
We cannot invade every country on this basis because that is imperialism, and the US always has an ulterior motive. Interfering in Uganda due to a public demand is insanity, especially when that demand comes from people who clearly do not have a good grasp of what they are actually arguing for. I know that this sounds condescending to people who may be well-meaning, but the precedent is massive. ‘Invisible Children’ are using a heart wrenching video that affects but does not educate, and suggests that the US invade Uganda to catch Kony – a man that is not even there. There is clear vested interest in Uganda because China and the US compete over resources there. It would be the usual US ‘humanitarian intervention’ that would be painted as success in the media through the lens of embedded journalists suffering from a type of Stockholm syndrome.
If you are still not convinced that this movement is dangerous then watch some of the other videos they have made, especially interesting are entitled ‘[Invisible Children] musical you can believe in’ and the massively sinister ‘The Fourth Estate’. It is also important to highlight that only one third of the money raised goes to Uganda, and out of that third a portion of the money goes on military aid. Invisible Children’s ‘visionary’, Jason Russell, was also arrested as the video was reaching its peak for indecent exposure. It was certainly a strange phenomenon and I don’t think that this organisation is quite the right one for dealing with war crimes, but they do show that in the future, under the right guidance, we might be able to mobilise millions to help good causes.

Dan Kiddle