After watching the viral video Editor in Chief Sofia Guellaty decided to post the link on MSQRD in support of the project. But deputy editor Caterina Minthe, who lived in Uganda, has a different point of view on the matter.
Read her article and react at the bottom of the page. We want to know what YOU think about it!
In between living in Dubai and moving to Paris, I lived and worked in Uganda as a journalist.
When Kampala was announced as my next posting, I (shamefully) admit I had to get a map to see where it was located. Boarding a plane after a much needed three-week vacation in Scandinavia to Uganda, I received an email from my mother and learned about the LRA for the first time. I was 23 years old.
Uganda was a mission filled with incredible experiences: I went on safaris, rappelled down a cliff next to a waterfall (never again), took a malaria pill every day, almost cut off my thumb washing dishes, and exceptionally, had the opportunity to interview President Museveni at his ranch. I remember excitedly rising bright and early and watching the children begin their 6am walk to school as our driver took us to Museveni’s home only to wait sixteen hours to be finally seen the next morning at 2am (still bitter). Following our interview (pictured above) Museveni had his PR pull us over on the side of the road on the way back to Kampala. We were ordered to hand over the paper branding Museveni’s signature approving our research project. I realised then when I saw the paper being ripped up before my eyes, that it could have been a lot worse.
Sometimes I awoke to gunshots in the middle of the night in my guarded bungalow in Kampala. Other nights were spent in lush gardens watching the World Cup games with my friends. Anything can happen in Uganda. It’s one of the most special places I’ve been to.
I’ve seen the Kony video and unlike millions of others -for some reason, I didn’t want to share it. Though I entirely support creating awareness about the subject, something about the American ‘Wanted’ aspect of the campaign bothered me. Today I read an article that compared the Kony campaign to “selling Osama Bin Laden paraphernalia post 9/11 – likely to be highly offensive to many Americans, however well-intentioned the campaign behind it.” Then, I read another article that pointed out that “the signs just say ‘KONY 2012′ and not ‘Justice for Kony 2012′ or anything that would indicate the negativity surrounding Kony. Many express that their first impression of the sign was that it was actually campaigning for him.” Furthermore it states, “Public opinion for using the US military for humanitarian aid doesn’t always work. People knew about Hussein’s atrocities for years, yet that didn’t help in solving the problem.”
This is true. So awareness doesn’t matter? I believe that it does, it just doesn’t necessarily equate with action.
A final quote from the second article has one woman asking, “They (Invisible Children) made $13 Million last year, and yet they haven’t considered hiring a small private security force to go and wipe Kony out?” … Why doesn’t any of Invisible Children’s fiscal budget go toward military training and resources instead of awareness t-shirts and bracelets? With all of the programs Invisible Children supports, why not a more direct approach to Kony’s extraction?”
I still don’t have much of a view on the matter. All I know is that I knew who Kony was seven years ago, and I know for a fact that one or a hundred million kids wearing a fashionable Kony shirt or bracelet will make no difference in the heart of Africa. What I also know is that now, I know all about Invisible Children.
In fact, I’d say that Invisible Children is almost stealing a bit of Kony’s thunder, wouldn’t you?