Invisible Children has come up with another powerful campaign, Kony 2012, and another powerful video that you can view here:
While I am bracing myself for an onslaught of media making it sound like the war is still happening in Uganda, I am thrilled that there will be more awareness of the atrocities committed by the madman, Josephy Kony, and his Lord’s Resistance Army.
I have taken issue with Invisible Children’s perpetuation of the perception that Kony is still active in Uganda and that there are still “night-commuting” children in Gulu. At the same time, I have to give them immense credit and respect for the amount of visibility they have brought to this conflict that now ranges through Central African Republic, Eastern DRC and, by some accounts, South Sudan.
The video makes it seem pretty simple to capture Kony this year, just by keeping the world’s attention on him and keeping the 100 US military advisors in Uganda. I think it will probably be a little more difficult than that, given that the Ugandan army has been trying to defeat the LRA for nearly 3 decades, and the US did participate in a joint operation (Operation Lightning Thunder) in 2008-9 led by the armies of Uganda, South Sudan and DRC without success. The jungles of eastern DRC provide a lot of good hiding places for a small group of 200-or-so rebels, and they have a pattern of dividing up after an attack and re-grouping in a new location, making it even harder to track them down.
That said, I am glad that the United States is finally making a long-term military commitment to stopping such extreme human-rights violations. Also, having the military advisors there means the Ugandan army will have access to top-secret intelligence and military satellite images – things we weren’t likely to just hand over the keys to.
The things Kony forces his child-soldiers to do are beyond horrible, and beyond the comprehension of anyone who hasn’t heard the stories or talked to the children. I have written about some of my own feelings in What If It Was My Son? This is a man that needs to be stopped, and if public awareness around the world is one piece in the puzzle of stopping him, then I hope this video spreads far beyond the 3.5 million views it has had so far.
Mark D. Jordahl