Archive for March 8, 2012

AFRICA: The Kony Viral Video

Public Enemy No. 1?

If he isn’t there already, crazed African warlord Joseph Kony is well on his way to being the most hated man in the world thanks to a video that has gone viral on the Internet.

In a little more than three days, the video “Kony 2012” has been viewed more than 50 million times on YouTube. Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, P. Diddy and Justin Bieber have mentioned it on Twitter and Facebook. And money is rolling in to the San Diego, California-based activist group, Invisible Children, which produced the 30-minute video.

Kony is the enigmatic leader of a renegade rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army which has been terrorizing parts of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and the Central African Republic for more than two decades.

Uganda in Africa (CIA World Factbook)

In October, President Barack Obama dispatched 100 special operations forces to help Ugandan troops – mostly through training – end Kony’s 26-year reign of terror.

The 4GWAR Blog first wrote about Kony — who is under indictment by the International Criminal Court — and his killer cronies back in April 2010.

At that time Human Rights Watch said the LRA had killed 321 people in a raid on a part of northeast Congo. And 250 other people were abducted including 80 children. The United Nations and other authorities have said LRR turns kidnapped boys into child soldiers forced to kill and girls are turned into sexual slaves.

While the video has raised awareness about Kony’s depredations, and lots of money, critics in both the U.S. and Uganda question Invisible Children’s motives and strategy. They say the video campaign oversimplifies the problem, noting that Kony’s band is just one of the many militias, rebel armies and national troops ravaging Central Africa for years. They also question what Invisible Children is spending its money on since its financial reports indicate only just over a third of its $8.9 million 2011 budget  actually went to African programs. The charity addressed many of these points on its Webpages.

March 8, 2012 at 10:18 pm 4 comments


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