Kony Baloney

16 Apr

Stop watching YouTube and read, dammit!

I honestly don’t know what to make of Invisible Children. Frankly, the campaign has been getting on my nerves along with such tosh as “Picture of the Day!” and “Facebook user answered a question about Facebook user!”.

Just too much.

I was convinced that it was more Charit-me than Charity. You know, something that makes absolutely no tangible difference other than giving people a fuzzy “I’m-such-a-good-person feeling.”

I hate things like that – if you want to make a real difference, watching viral videos and solemnly discussing them before heading off to the Square is not the way to do it.

Be that as it may, I cannot deny that Kony2012 has done wonders for making all of us aware of the situation in Uganda, and I applaud those using it as a springboard to do something real. (To my friends at http://intentionalliving.co.za/, I apologise for my comment regarding your latest campaign. I just saw one too many STOP AT NOTHING! KONY 2012! posts that day. Mostly followed by those same people complaining about inanities like traffic, Kony long forgotten.)

 The problem is, Kony2012 is simply not as accurate as it pretends to be.

To everyone taking the situation in Uganda seriously (and here I suppose I include those of us who only write and talk about it), it’s time to look beyond the unashamedly emotionally manipulative Invisible Children and start reading more widely.

Not being someone who makes a habit of reading books on War and Africa, I can with absolute confidence recommend Jane Bussman’s The Worst Date Ever to start with. A comedy writer accidentally turned African correspondent, the book follows her journey from Los Angeles to Uganda and back. Written with devil-may-care wit and humor, Bussman has succeeded in making the topic a genuinely interesting read.

Following her encounters and investigations, one soon realises that Kony isn’t the only bad guy in Uganda. The government itself – Invisible Children’s “good guys” – is not much better.

According to Bussman’s sources, Kony’s LRA has repeatedly attempted peace negotiations with religious leaders only to be sabotaged by Government Forces. Just to be clear  – the LRA is beyond fucked up, but what I’m trying to say is that the Government might not want him gone. His presence, after all, brings in gazillions of Dollars in Aid money that seem to end up right in their pockets.

Did you know, for example, that the thousands of citizens living in so-called “Protected Camps” were forced to be there? And don’t be fooled by the name – these camps, with families prostituting their daughters for a ration of porridge, are anything but safe and happy spaces. Of the food that does get there, the main supplier is a company owned and profited from by the President’s dear, darling daughter. To add insult to injury, Kony’s rebels reportedly have no trouble getting in anyway.

Point is, the Ugandan story is more complicated than Kony2012 and their own child army of Facebook warriors have made it out to be.

 If you don’t feel like the reading the book, read this article instead:


 It’s time we see that “The Full Story” is the only invisible thing in Invisible Children.










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