There is a town in Northern Uganda named Gulu. To get there from Kampala—Uganda’s capital—our bus traveled about 200 km, cutting through lush tropical jungles and eventually emerging into the dryer terrain surrounding Gulu. After nearly two weeks in Kampala, I thought I knew a lot about Uganda (a very arrogant assumption to begin with), but just a few minutes in Gulu proved me wrong. The city, its people, and its struggles were different.
The worship pastor at my church is a Ugandan who came to America many years ago and now leads regular mission trips back. Before I went there with him, he encouraged me to read as much as I could about Uganda so that I was as prepared as possible. And there was a lot to read.
Uganda is a former British colony that gained Independence in October of 1962. Between then and now, it has seen a handful of leaders including the infamous Idi Amin. Uganda is . It is full of life and promise, but at the same time fighting the battle that so many former British colonies fight: a stable and honest government.
, Ugandahave a lot on their hands. nter Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army. If you haven’t already watched the highly proliferated Kony 2012 video and don’t have any previous knowledge of Kony, here is the short summary Kony is a vicious thug that parades around Eastern and Central Africa, kidnapping young boys and turning them into killers. In addition, he and his followers kill parents, rape their sisters and brutally disfigure whomever they please. It is estimated he has kidnapped nearly 66,000 youths. This has not gone unnoticedparticularly successful web campaign to make Kony famous. If you haven’t already seen the video, I suggest a view.
Whereas people are re-posting, retweeting, and sharing this powerful video, misleading and overly simplistic plan. he most notable is a blog “Visible Children.”
Is this cause worthy of support,or another poorly thought out scheme at improving the world that ends up being more promotion than solution? I want to think critically about whether or not I should personally partner with this campaign a Christian.
the video articles limited amount of time in the regionI am still not entirely sure where I stand. Though, as you will see, I lean in one direction over the other.
The first issue that springs to mind is connection between the IC and violence in the region. You don’t have to read very widely to see vitriolic critiques greatest propagator of war. This fair, but there is truth to it. Good intentions can have heartbreaking results. Jewish Zealots, Islamic Extremist, and Christian Crusaders all contribute to the stereotype connecting religion and violence. There are two ways that I can see the IC campaign potentially spurring violent activity
First, sending US troops to interact with Ugandan troops. So, whereas the campaign is interested in bringing Kony to an international court to be tried, violence take place in order to make that happen. Furthermore, the victims of this violence may end up being some of the same boys that IC’s to protect.
Secondly, there is an imperialist flavor to any instance where the est comes in to help the ast. I am sure that there are Ugandans who feel that Kony is a Ugandan problem that can be solved with Ugandan ingenuity and resources. Of course, the country probably isn’t of one mind here, and Kony has definitely operated in more than just Uganda. In fact, Northern Uganda has not seen Kony for a handful of years now – another reason that Ugandans may not want to have any further involvement.
On the other hand, there is something that strikes a sensitive chord in this campaign.
Kony is the worst kind of monster because he intentionally proliferates his evil acts, making zombies out of young boys and leaving emotional and literal scars on the communities that he invades. Not many would be opposed to capturing a murderer or rapist roaming their neighborhood’s streets even if it meant some violent measures had to be taken. It would make sense to view this situation as analogous, but on a larger scale. Kony is a criminal, intentionally putting the lives of innocent people in danger. It is likely that there will be violence in the process of arresting Kony, but how much future violence will be avoided in the act?
Another aspect of this campaign that I find particularly attractive is how quickly it can involve its viewers. he video does an excellent job of presenting the problem and then providing simple ways that those who are interested can take action. Not many videos can do that. The Visible Children blog the video : “these problems are highly complex, not one-dimensional and, frankly, aren’t of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture, as hard as that is to swallow.” his is a clever line, it is a gross misunderstanding of the power of visibility. The number of people aware of your cause, whether it is a theology blog or a humanitarian project, dictates what you will be able to accomplish. Visibility is currency. may not make Kony glow brighter infrared sensors (if only), but it motivate people with considerable power and resources to act.
Ultimately, I think there are too many good ideas here to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
an inflammatory statement. So, if you’re already annoyed with me, please keep reading so that I can finish the job. I see a lot of people posting criticisms of the Kony 2012 campaign.I have talked to and many don’t actually the criticisms they post, they just want people to “be informed.” I actually had a similar response a few minutes after watching the video. And I think my mind went through this process: of people have watched this video. Its now about as as McDonalds I .”
If you actually disagree, and genuinely think that the Kony 2012 campaign is a bad thingfine. That’s your prerogative, and I would never accuse you of thoughtlessly being anti-mainstream. In fact, this very post mentioned some of the negatives. But if you’re like me, and you wanted to be critical because you thought it might give you a social or intellectual edge – please rethink your motives because they are probably self-centered.