Healthkicker Editor's Note: Part of being healthy is staying aware of what's going on in the world. So many of you wrote to us about KONY2012, and we feel it's important to let the readers know what other Healthkickers are talking about. Here's just one of the many posts that we received about the unfortunate happenings in Uganda.
Have you heard of Joseph Kony?
Joseph Kony is a man in Uganda who leads a violent rebel group called LRA (Lord's Resistance Army). He is currently the International Criminal Court's number one wanted person in the world for his crimes against humanity due to the war between his group and the Ugandan government. His crimes include the abduction of over 60,000 children out of their homes who are then forced into sex slavery, forced to be part of his army as child soldiers, or killed. The child soldiers are kept against their wills, and are forced to murder their parents and loved ones. The war against LRA has caused displacement of over 2 million civilians due to fear.
An organization called Invisible Children has been created to spread word of Kony and the LRA, and need your help to stop him and his army, return these children and allow Uganda to be safe from the fear of being murdered or abducted by rebels.
So what can you do?
Invisible Children has started the fight against Joseph Kony, but they need our help. They have been collecting signatures on their pledge against Kony to show support for his capture, and it has finally enlisted the US Governments help. They have now created theLord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act and Obama has taken part in placing troops in Uganda to help their efforts. But it can't just stop there. The Kony 2012 campaign needs to continue to grow and the world needs to see that people care about these children, or else the mission could be canceled at any time.
The main goal of the Kony 2012 campaign is to make Joseph Kony famous. We are not making him famous to celebrate him, but to make sure everybody knows who he is and what he's doing. Joseph Kony needs to be a household name.
We only have 2012 to do this. The campaign expires December 31st, 2012.
Do whatever you can to spread the word of Joseph Kony. Tell your friends, your family, share the video above, go to the website, sign the pledge, make a donation, buy a t-shirt, bracelet or action kit. Contact your government, politicians, and get everyone together to get Joseph Kony arrested.
And I bet these profits aren't going to their pockets. And watching a video and knowing about him isn't going to send him to jail, or get him captured, or do anything to really help these children. People aren't going to do much because "they have problems of their own", or "don't have the money to give" Maybe instead of writing a blog, or making a video, we should physically do something. They don't need our money, they need us. Or at least the military, and from what I've heard, Obama isn't going to be doing much for it.
@Kodomo_no_Tsuki@xanga - Sure, but I'm pretty sure that not writing a blog, not making a video, not making him famous is going to less than doing those things. You can be negative about it all you like, but all this video has done is raise awareness, and I'm sure that due to it; more is going to be done now than in the past 20 years that it has been going on in Uganda.
@Kodomo_no_Tsuki@xanga - Politicians want to keep their people happy, in order to get votes. If the people are unhappy, in this case, about Joseph Kony, there's a far larger chance that worldwide governments will get involved, and pull together to try this man for his crimes, and shut down what is left of the LRA. As Dr. Suess would say... "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not"
why does the campaign expire? if people really wanted to help it would never "expire" what a bunch of bullshit.
i've supported invisible children since it started, and really believe in the cause...but this kony 2012 shit they're doing doesn't make a whole lot of sense. it's great they're making people aware, but what happens after kony 2012 "expires"
With Kony 2012 making the rounds all over Facebook, Twitter, and (late as usual) traditional media, I've noticed that nobody talks about Joseph Kony being the leader of a radical and violent Christian group.
Now, I can't emphasize enough that I'm not belittling the movement to stop him (while it seems a bit more slacktivist than activist, anything is better than the usual nothing), I'm just pointing out that this is clearly a radical and violent religious movement based in a religion that many in the west feel uncomfortable accusing of such a thing.
Have YOU heard about Kony? Or the allegations about IC? There are a few things you should be aware of before you donate.
First, the 30 minute video advocates military intervention to capture Kony. That's where about 31% of the funds raised go. The rest is spent on producing awareness campaigns.
Second, Kony left Uganda 6 years ago. (though he does still make attacks in other countries, like the DRC) Not everyone in Uganda is thrilled about the film, because some feel that the IC campaign undermines local efforts to recover. Or that they could possibly give Kony strength to resume more intense attacks. ( Scource. ) There's a question of whether military intervention is the best approach. The Ugandan Amnesty Act encourages LRA combatants to defect and return to their communities. This is kind of in conflict with IC's message or military intervention, to me at least.
Third, I'm not trying to say Uganda has had an easy past, or that terrible things did not happen. However, there are a few things that trouble me about the video. Being aware is great, but if your contribution is going to be money, you should do some research and make sure your money is going to a cause you support, and is transparent about its funds. I am uncomfortable about how the video presents the people of Uganda. It's not directly said but it seems to say to me "look at the poor Africans. they have nothing. let's give them the gift of awareness" That's a rather one dimensional view of the Ugandan people. And perhaps a hurtful one.
TL;DR If you are now aware and want to donate to help, please research the cause and the people that you're giving your money to. Research beyond a 30 minute video.
@Kristenmomof3@xanga - You never tire of taking potshots at Christianity, do you? You are a hatemonger. Still love to play the troll, play hit and run..just click on your blog to see what kind of wholesome and loving things you and your husband wrap yourselves in. Evil, Zombies, Hate, Blood, Flesh, ??? And you are bringing up three kids with your twisted hateful mind... why is your profile picture with your head uncovered, wasn't it you that was always on a rant about that, being submissive, etc. Always using the El, Elohim, Yah, Yahweh, YHWH, etc to refer to God and Jesus. You still preached the Bible, which is what Christianity is based on... now you try to portray what this sick twist does and Christianity in the same breath. That is akin to blaming all the U.S. Military for what one lone psycho did to 16 innocents... it doesn't take long for people to figure out your game, Kristen...
@Ork58 - I find it interesting that whenever you comment on something I say you never talk about what I said... No, you just always attack me instead. I am not sure why you have such an issue with me? Also FYI... I am an atheist thank you very much.
Kris offered her opinion. isnt she allowed in this free country? I'm glad ppl question, otherwise we would still have slavery. what you said about Kris has nothing to do with what she said or this issue. You just tore into her and judged. How you are treating her is not right.
@Kristenmomof3@xanga - Because no one wants to acknowledge that Christianity too has these types of groups just like Islam. They will cry that this man doesn't represent Christianity while laughing at Muslims that insist most Islamic terrorist groups and radicals do not represent them or their faith.
Don't fucking jump on the Kony 2012 bandwagon when you don't even know wtf is happening let alone where Uganda is on the map. The video was cute, making people think that it's really that easy to capture this guy. He's not even in Uganda anymore. Your government has already shipped 100 troops over there to help out ages ago but to no avail. They find this whole kony 2012 thing cute too, but that's about it.
It bothers me that people are still supporting this video blindly. You didn't even mention any of the NEGATIVES about Invisible Children (and there are quite a few). But to keep this comment short I'll mention the most disgusting one, in my opinion:
Invisible Children want to catch Kony because he's disgusting, and he uses child slavery. Invisible Children supports the Ugandan military, who have been known to use child slavery.
Just so that you can make an informed decision about all this:
Invisible Children is a non-profit group. That being said, they do not allow external auditing and have had their finances called into question before. Additionally, they have been accused of manipulating facts to achieve their end. Only 1/3 of the money they have actually goes to direct aid, whereas more than that goes to films.
The group supports military action to promote peace, and bolsters the Ugandan military, which also has a past of rape, child soldiers, and human rights abuses.
Most importantly, the LRA has not been involved in Uganda for the past 5 years; and having traveled there this past summer for a mission trip, I never once heard his name (although I did hear some negative words spoken about Invisible Children).
Lastly, the Ugandan people are offended by this video, which portrays them as stuck in the past and hopeless. Just check out the news stories on the huffington post.
Please, if you're planning on getting involved, look into the cause.
As a recap, I sent this into healthkicker almost a week ago, the day the video came out. I was all caught up in the video and the idea of these horrible things happening and I think the thing that gets me most boiled up is the idea of someone doing this to people because other people don't have the same beliefs. Doing this to children and their families and then claiming it to be God's will. Also, when I sent this blog in, there was none of this "only 30% goes to the cause" "it's all because of oil" stuff going around. The reason I really liked the Kony 2012 campaign was because of their action plan. The Cover The Night is just an amazing idea (however, if everyone starts doing the same thing - it's going to get old fast.) Putting these things in people faces is one of the only ways I can see of fixing the problem. Making people aware is the first step to fixing any problem, but with most problems awareness never really works because it's so easy to just watch something and forget about it. @dead_poetic009xx@xanga - Also, I think the expiring this is to make this project have a deadline. People work best under pressure, so if they know that this has to get done in a time period, then they're more likely to do it. People see all these other causes and just think, yeah, they'll get fixed... one day.
If you'd done your research, you'd see that only 30% of the funds IC receives actually goes towards helping the Ugandan children. The rest is spent on producing MTV-style films. I suggest that before you start urging Healthkicker readers to donate to a cause, you also encourage them to do their own research. It's rather unfair to play on the hearts of gullible people.
@thatkyliegirlx@xanga - I understand where you are coming from. When you see horrible things happening to people it's not wrong to want to help. While there were known issues with IC's financial accountability, and news reports about Knoy's activity out there when the video was released, they were not nearly as easy to find. I know because I looked.
I donated to Invisible Children in 2006 (not much since I had just started university but still...) I was unhappy with that decision because I could not see how it helped or where my money went. Nor did I think the campaign (which lying down on the ground for a given period of time) was effective or informative. It has made me very cautious about all awareness campaigns.
As far as awareness not being particularly useful in terms of finding a solution I think you are correct. Fortunately, in the case of Uganda, there are other organizations already at work, and it might be good to send your support to those if you feel like it. Also, Invisible Children has responded to criticism on one of their websites. (not the www.kony2012 website however.) While it did not change my overall position on the campaign, it is informative.
***Friday 9th March2012***18:00 hour ***No Embargo*** RESPONSE TO INTERNATIONAL DISCOURSE OF LRA ACTIVITY Uganda welcomes all campaigns which seek to raise awareness and highlight the plight of people affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). We are grateful forrenewed efforts which seek to contribute to the arrest of Joseph Kony and the elimination of the LRA from the Central African Region. The Government of Uganda however, would strongly urge that any awareness campaign fully takes into consideration the current realities of the situation. The Lord’s Resistance Army has been a concern of this government since the late 80’s and have exacted a great toll on the Ugandan people and independent estimates approximate that 30,000 children were abducted and used as child soldiers over the course of the 25 year conflict. Misinterpretations of media content may lead some people to believe that the LRA is currently active in Uganda. It must be clarified that at present the LRA is not active in any part of Uganda. Successfully expelled by the Ugandan Peoples Defence Forces in mid-2006, the LRA has retreated to dense terrain within bordering countries in the Central African area. They are a diminished and weakened group with numbers not exceeding 300. The threat posed by the LRA in our neighboring countries is considerably reduced and we are hopeful that it will be altogether eliminated with the help of US logistical support. The people of Uganda, especially those in the north of the country are on a path of rebuilding, reconciliation and reintegration and are now vibrant and prospering communities. To aid this prosperity the Government implementeda 10 Year Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda (PRDP). The Ugandan Government is encouraged by this outpouring of international support for its continuing campaign to eliminate the threat posed by the LRA to all countries and communities. We are hopeful that our neighboring countries can also become free of LRA activity and enjoy the peace and prosperity that northern Uganda has experienced in the last 6 years. For God and My Country