Invisible Children Far From Genuine Activisim

Nathan Crites-Herren
The Paw Print

The controversial video, “Kony 2012,” targets Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) of Uganda. A group notorious for kidnapping children, forcing boys to become fighters, and using girls as sex slaves in Central Africa.  Released on March 5, it was viewed more than 100 million times online in just under a week, making it the most viewed viral video in history.
Jason Russell, the director of Invisible Children and co-star in “Kony 2012” is a charismatic front man, who has been popping up all over the Internet like a clean-cut Abercrombie & Fitch version of Jesus Christ.  “Kony 2012” was produced and distributed by the U.S.-based group Invisible Children.  In the video, Russell targets the LRA and Joseph Kony, putting a call out to the U.S. government for immediate military action to find and arrest Kony on charges of crimes against humanity.
Gaining popularity almost overnight, “Kony 2012” has raised awareness and mobilized millions of American youth to regurgitate the slogan of the film, “In 2102 Kony must be brought to justice.”   By using grass roots tactics of organizing, Invisible Children has been able to create an ever-growing base of support for this campaign.  In October of 2011, Invisible Children received the government support they were looking for when Barack Obama sent a letter to the organization stating that military personnel and a small ground force would be sent to Uganda to “remove Joseph Kony from the battle field.” Indeed, Russell and Invisible Children have been able to make “stopping genocide fun for American youth” as Russell puts it in his video, but the real motives of this campaign to stop the brutal acts of the LRA and Kony are far from wholesome.

Photo Courtesy of Associated Press: Joseph Kony, leader of the LRA

The propagandized agenda of Invisible Children is to promote a military solution to the end of the LRA and Kony, by supporting the equally corrupt and malicious Ugandan military with finical aid while encouraging the U.S. military to get involved with support efforts for the Ugandan military Invisible Children and company conveniently bypassed the wishes of the victims of this 26 year war, who according to a study done by the African Youth Imitative Network overwhelmingly opposed more military intervention in Uganda.  This blatant ignorance on the part of Russell and Invisible Children to seek a military solution to this genocide without first considering what the victims of the struggle feel is appropriate reeks of the usual tactics of religious zealots swooping in to assist the “helpless” victims with their problem.
In fact, according to numerous leaked government cables from the U.S. Embassy in Uganda, Russell was and still is actively involved in strategizing efforts with the Ugandan military, helping them to gain support in the region.  Even more concerning, is that these cables reveal Russell and other operatives in Uganda who represent Invisible Children actively spying on governmental opposition parties within Uganda, frequently giving names of labor activists and democracy advocates to the Ugandan regime which result in their arrest and in some cases torture.
With the wild success of the “Kony 2012” video and the fancy “rebellion is cool” vibe that Invisible Children tries to convey to American youth seems to be covering up some shady back-room dealings that are far from the interests of the people of Uganda. Basically, the relationship between Invisible Children the U.S., and Ugandan Government does not seem to be independent. It seems to be in line with the U.S. administration and the Ugandan regime in advocating and pushing the military solution as the only approach, and disregarding the voices of Ugandans such as Bishop Odama, Bishop Ochola, who come from the war-affected region, who have been pushing the resumption of a  negotiated solution to this 26 year war.

Photo Courtesy of Associated Press: Jason Russell, director of Invisible Children.

As always, the U.S. government’s reason for involvement in Uganda is far from humanitarian.  Recent discoveries of vast oil reserves in Northern Uganda and Southern Sudan have prompted interest from the growing industrial nation of China. This interest has in turn impelled the U.S. to act, wanting to secure that resource before China moves in.  Really, Obama doesn’t care about bringing Kony to justice; he wants boots on the ground in Northern Uganda simply as a display of power in the region, deterring China from moving in.
At the end of the day, Invisible Children is another organization proclaiming righteous aims that mask its real ethnocentric goals of placing American/Christian evangelical controlled influences within the African region.  Down with the privileged, shallow tactics of Russell and Invisible Children.  Up with the people of Uganda and their 26 year long struggle for freedom from the LRA and Government repression, the people of Uganda don’t just need military and finical help from the international community, what they really need most is solidarity. is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet