Kony 2012, the Sequel: Get Your Snark Shooters Ready

Kony 2012, the Sequel: Get Your Snark Shooters Ready

Kony 2012, the Sequel: Get Your Snark Shooters Ready

I’m all for Africans solving their own problems. It has a nice ring to it. “African solutions to African problems.” But what does this self-reliance mean when it relates to violent, murderous lunatics such as Joseph Kony?

Obviously, the fact that he has been operating in four different countries–the Central African Republic, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan–for over 20 years and uprooted over 2 million people should say something about how the governments in this region have been incapable of capturing him on their own.

Still, Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 viral video which highlights this issue has been met with at least as much criticism as praise. The group has weathered a storm of vitriol from many critics who believe IC is too often self-serving, egotistical and factually inaccurate in its claims. Don’t expect an end to this debate in the near future. Invisible Children is scheduled to reveal a part two sequel in continuation of the capture Kony campaign. It would be fair to say that snark shooters on most social media outlets are now getting in position.

Some of the criticism is justified. Military intervention in the region has caused more problems than solution in recent years. A good example of this was the failure of Operation Lightning Thunder in 2008 when Ugandan forces backed by the U.S. attempted to capture Kony at his main base in Democratic Republic of Congo in Garamba National Park. The mission failed miserably. So, in 2011, when Obama sent 100 advisors to assist the Ugandan army in an attempt to stop the LRA, skepticism was appropriate. The corruption of the Ugandan and allegations of government soldiers committing similar atrocities doesn’t help simplify the case.

However, it’s important that this distaste for military force (which IC advocates) doesn’t obscure their other good deeds. They’ve provided assistance to better use radio communication and information and also created the LRA crisis tracker to empower villagers and also educate them.

I recently came across Jason K. Stearns’, author of “Dancing in the Glory of Monsters”, blog entry in the Christian Science Monitor and realized how much I share the sentiment he expresses towards the campaign and its critics. The Kony 2012 video is accused of distorting facts and simplifying matters. It’s painted as the same old story about a white guy who thinks he must save poor Africans. Some Ugandans who watched it at home were not pleased either. Some said that the video feels like it is celebrating their pain by making Kony famous. One must respect their opinion as victims but, as Mr. Stearns points out in the blog, I would also like to see critics providing ideas for alternative solutions.

The bottom line is that the video has pushed policy makers to act. Imagine that you are living in an isolated village in the Central African Republic and go to sleep at night worrying about the LRA killing, kidnapping or raping you and your family members, then positive thoughts or hopes will not offer much comfort.

The African Union, which usually pinches pennies and is slow to act in even the most dire scenarios, has finally decided to deploy 5,000 troops to capture Kony in response to the IC-generated publicity. The campaign by Invisible Children certainly has flaws. But I’m hoping that the much anticipated sequel to Kony 2012 will go in-depth and include more voices from the victims in order to shed greater light on this unfortunate problem, the region and what its people have to deal with.

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