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Some Considerations on Kony 2012

Updated on April 15, 2012

The short film Kony 2012 will pull at your heart strings. It evokes that most human emotion: empathy. The mistreatment of children saddens us, even angers us and so it should. But let us consider some of the issues not raised by the film.

Invisible Children

In 2009 significant oil reserves were found in Uganda.

Two years later, October 2011, Barack Obama announces the deployment of 100 special forces to Uganda. The troops are there to "train" the Ugandan army.

Then we get the film; Kony 2012. The filmmakers are a "charity" called Invisible Children. The "charity" defines themselves as "A movement seeking to end the conflict in Uganda and stop the abduction of children for use as child soldiers."

Is it naive then to ask why are Invisible Children selling anti-Kony merchandise on the basis that it will show the world that you are "awesome"? Why would a charity even sell merchandise? To raise funds for the cause you might suggest. But why then are the charitable folks at Invisible Children earning a damn good wage? Is charity not meant to be about volunteering?

More important than all of this it has been widely reported that the actual proportion of Invisible Children donations that reaches Uganda is 32%. So if you spend the $30 on merchandising that they suggest, under 10 of those dollars will go to Uganda. How else would folks like Jason Russell manage to live a comfortable middle class life.

Being registered as a charity certainly has its perks. The tax breaks bestowed on "charities" like private schools means some sweet sweet profit for their shareholders. Or do I mean patrons?


Kony and the LRA

But also Kony and his followers are not in Uganda anymore. They are known to have fled to neighbouring countries. So any military incursion into Uganda will have nothing to do with Kony and the LRA. Remember the oil?

The film tells us about the guerrilla's, but for guerrilla's to exist, they have to have someone to fight. We heard nothing of those killed by the state forces, lead by dictator of 26 years; Yoweri Museveni.

Another Liberal Crusade

Around 10,million people have watched the video. A glance through the Youtube comments provides an array of condemnations on how evil and terrible Kony is and how something has to be done

This is to completely miss the point. You could capture him and put him on trial. Then what?

The conditions which breed conflict still remain; those being poverty, dictatorship, dependency and disease. So long as the conditions which breed such horror don't change then nothing will.

Thus, don't waste your time posting a video on Facebook or buying a t-shirt. That solves nothing. Remember the Make Poverty History wristbands? How did that work out?

Nothing less than structural change to the unfair economic system and patterns of geopolitical relations will make the plight of any African better, or proletarian anywhere for that matter.

Joseph Kony is nothing but another in the long line of smokescreens to divert attention from the moribund economic system which plagues the world and kills more people than Kony could ever dream of.

Jumping onto the latest bandwagon put forward by the petit-bourgeois elements of society never succeeds. People have to learn.. Obama's "change", Make Poverty History and now Kony 2012.

Let me make it simple. Obama; smokescreen, band aid; smokescreen, Live Earth; smokescreen, carbon emissions; smokescreen. Gaddafi; smokescreen, Kony; smokescreen. It goes on and it goes on.

Insanity is often defined as doing the same thing over again while expecting different results. Thus political liberalism (and I don't mean as in the Democrats) verges on insanity.

The Liberal crusades simply cannot work. The economic system, the grinding poverty it forces on the world is what creates these problems. And Liberals are committed to maintaining the economic system, not revolutionizing it. Therefore, such campaigns can never work because they are inherently flawed as those carrying them out do not have the political will or class awareness required.


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    • profile image

      Sicarii 5 years ago

      Comrade Joe,

      It's time for a revolution and this approach (Youtube and Facebook) is better than actually taking it to the streets and rioting and causing total chaos in our own homeland to make things happen. Trying to change things at the Government level have proven futile and too long to wait for. This approach makes it clear that the populus will no longer stand for it and coming together by completely excluding Government for the most part until Government has no choice but involve themselves and adhere due to the growing popularity behind the cause. We will grind the point till something is done at the level that everybody truly responds too. THE CELEBRITY LEVEL! Going forward..we should elevate all EVIL to Celeberity status but, not for the purpose of veneration but, to make their evil so obvious that it can no longer be ignored. Enough is enough. What has been going on to those children and innocents in Africa has got to stop. Once we make significant progress there...onto the next country or more urgent cause. It is better than knocking the idea. If you are not going to contribute, even for the sake or morale support...then don't hinder it with your personal opinions, either. LONG LIVE THE HUMANITY!

    • ChrisIndellicati profile image

      ChrisIndellicati 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Kony 2012 is just a propaganda film designed to take the money of well meaning people and incite a military occupation of Uganda for the purpose of getting oil. Invisible Children is a scam and Jason Russell is a charlatan that exploits the suffering of children for money. Joseph Kony does need to be apprehended though and pay for his war crimes. Great hub Comrade Joe you should post some links to boost your credibility though.

    • profile image

      arjeff 5 years ago

      Discouragement often is a result of listening to people

      who have their own best interests planned for your life.

      Doug Firebaugh

    • Josak profile image

      Josak 5 years ago from variable

      As we should all know, charity just soothes the symptoms, it's no cure, now this campaign is going on, money will be sent to Uganda and maybe the leaders of the LRA will be killed and then we will all feel better and go back to not caring about UGanda or any other African country for that matter and nothing will have been solved or even improved, the LRA movement will get new leaders and poverty will continue to drive the desperate into the arms of extremists.

    • profile image

      Jessica 5 years ago

      There are many things that are left out in this post. Like the bracelet campaign that invisible children has going in uganda. It helps to create jobs for the women there so that they can have a way to make money. They also provide them with learning how to save and profit from the money they have spent their time making. This isn't just about giving your money to war. They also out right say on their website that they use a portion of the money to fund the events for awareness in the united states and across the world. Therefore, of course that money isn't making it to uganda. Also, every charity has its workers. United Way, The Humane Society, Etc. they all have employees who need to be paid to keep the charity going. Many of their workers work in Uganda so they have to have a way to live even a "middle class" life. So I would take a second to think of the 30,000+ children that Kony has abducted and I would take a second to think on the 200+ children he has conceived due to rape before I would worry about thirty dollars I "squander" away on a T Shirt. Even ten dollars going to Uganda is better than none at all.

    • Comrade Joe profile image

      Comrade Joe 5 years ago from Glasgow, United Kingdom

      darockson, my "solution" is at least implicit in what I wrote particularly in the final paragraph.

      First of all, no solution can involve military incursions in Uganda. That is the product of logic that states to stop people dying, we have to kill people. Moreover the LRA are in neighbouring countries and violence in Uganda has subsided in the past 5 years.

      The overriding theme of what I have written is the inability of the Bourgeoisie to make the revolutionary change required. And revolutionary change is the only "solution" to the conditions which create the circumstances whereby great horrors will emerge.

      Buying merchandise is not going to make change - that is bourgeois gesture politics, which as always revolves around the dollar. Real social activism and class politics are where people can make a difference. If the working class in the capitalist countries stop allowing Bourgeois governments to exist, then the global patterns of exploitation will be defeated. That is the only way to the true liberation and emancipation of not only the African people, but also ourselves.

    • Comrade Joe profile image

      Comrade Joe 5 years ago from Glasgow, United Kingdom

      And I believe all should refrain from personal insults if they wish their opinion treated as containing even a shred of credibility. I only conduct comradely discourse, anything less is futile.

    • profile image

      darockson 5 years ago

      THEN WHAT IS YOUR SOLUTION???????????? Worlds most wanted man for crimes against humanity. I never heard of Kony until the campaign. Therefore it worked. Kony is famous, thus your post. DID YOU WATCH THE VIDEO! There is always a catch if the government gets involved. NOTHING IS FREE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE. Everything you said is explained and talked about in the video.

    • leanneswackyworld profile image

      leanneswackyworld 5 years ago from Clifton Beach, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

      I believe all should not google and actually read the financials! Fool! By you reading google an not actual facts is how people like you bring fantastic organizations down! Delete your hub!

    • profile image

      Ike 5 years ago

      This piece is not flawed. It's actually more reasonable than that propaganda "humanitarian" hit job I watched. And no they don't send 80% of their money to the charities, they've actually been sited by the foreign service as suspect and have a low charity ranking of 2 courtsey of Charity Navigator. Only 32% of their money goes to actual charity. (It turns out I can't post html links but google em)Obama's involvement revolves around oil period(comments refused html links but checkout stories from Nov. in the washingtonpost ).

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      donjuanc 5 years ago

      this piece is flawed and cynical about doing something to make things better.

    • profile image

      sr 5 years ago

      can you show sources for the data you provided? says invisible children gives 80% of their revenue to help. id just like to compare, thanks.

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      vic 5 years ago

      the gov't wants americas sympathy so everyone can come to an agreement w/ having a war. when really, we're agreeing to pay for the war and to suffer for years to come in debt.