Invisible Children Advocacy Group vs. Joseph KoneyExploiters or Social Change Agents? Controversy over a half minute video, “Koney2012,” viewed by millions in the second week of March, 2010
Invisible Children: Our Mission• “Invisible Children uses Film, Creativity, and Social Action to End the Use of Child Soldiers in Joseph Kony’s Rebel War and Restore LRA-Affected Communities in Central Africa to Peace and Prosperity.”• See controversial 30 minute video now:www.invisiblechildren.com
Our Three Methods “Make the world aware of the LRA. This includes making documentary films and touring them around the world so that they are seen for free by millions of people “Channel energy from viewers of IC films into large-scale advocacy campaigns to stop the LRA and protect civilians. “Operate programs on the ground in LRA- affected areas that provide protection, rehabilitation and development assistance.”www.invisiblechildren.com/critiques.html
How Invisible Children Started• “In the spring of 2003, three young filmakers traveled to Africa in search of a story.• “What started out as a filmmaking adventure became much more when Jason, Laren, and Bobby stumbled upon Africa’s longest-lasting-running war--a conflict where children were both the weapons and the victims. www.invisiblechildren.com
How It Started• The filmakers “produced the documentary Invisible Children: Rough Cut in 2005. At first they just showed it to family and friends, but it wasn’t long before millions of people had seen the documentary and knew about ‘invisible children.’” (See trailer for video in next slide)• “In 2006, Invisible Children Inc. became an official 501(c)3 non-profit.” www.invisiblechildren.com
Who We Are• “... storytellers ... visionaries, humanitarians, artists, and entrepreneurs... a generation eager for change and willing to pursue it.• “... headquarters in San Diego... talented staff, hundreds of committed volunteers... thousands of young activists who want to use their voices for peace.• “... offices in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Africa run by development professionals primarily from war-affected region...”
How We Make a Difference• “Half our work happens on the ground in Central Africa, and the other half happens in the United States.• “In Central Africa, all our programming is a partnership between Invisible Children and the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army)-affected communities. We focus on long-term goals that enable children to take responsibility for their futures and the futures of their countries (addressing) the need for quality education, mentorships, the redevelopment of schools, and financial stability. “
How We Make a Difference• “In areas where the LRA is still active, we focus on civilian protection and rehabilitation.• Our work in the U.S. focuses on advocacy and inspiring America’s youth to ‘do more than just watch.’ We believe that by trying to unite our voices we can use the systems, influence,and resources of the U.S. to expedite an end to the conflict.”
Invisible Children Inc. FINANCES 2011• Total Revenue: $13,765,177 Grants/Partnerships 22%• Total Expenses: $8,894,630 Central Africa Programs 37.14% Awareness Programs/Film&Media/ Awareness Products about 45% Management & Fundraising about 20%
Critiques of Invisible Children(You be the judge. Under Critiques on their home page, they answer most of these objections straightforwardly.)• Invisible Children is a charitable organization and should not be involved with politics.• Most of the money they raise stays in the United States for staff and promotional expenses.
Critiques Against IC• The video and leadership give the impression of perpetuating the “White Man’s Burden” and Savior complex.• The video can make one feel exploited emotionally rather than objectively informed.• The video exaggerates facts about the LRA and oversimplifies a complex situation.
Critiques Against IC• Critics suggest that IC is drawing charitable moneys from other organizations with greater scope of ground services.• There is also the suggestion that IC’s high- powered awareness techniques may produce “compassion fatigue.”
A Sad and Embarrassing Breakdown• Co-founder of Invisible Children and star, with his son Gavin, in the film, “Kony 2012,” Jason Russell was picked up by police, 16Mar’12, for public incident of naked mania and indecent behavior apparently caused by exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition.• In a 2011 interview with PMc Magazine, Russell expressed rather grandiose opinions about himself, his accomplishments and his future plans.
Joseph Kony 1961-• Altar boy, left church at age 15, apprenticed as village witchdoctor, affiliated with Alice Auma’s or Lawkwena’s Holy Spirit Movement, group represented the Acoli people.• Claims that his LRA wants to establish a Ugandan government based on the Ten Commandments--though he seems to have broken most of them.• Then developed the Lord’s Resistance Army--significant by 1988.
Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army• There can be no question about the terrible harm and death Kony has brought to children and adults.• It is also a fact that his power and effectiveness have been greatly reduced.• The Ugandan army has reduced threat to northwest Ugandan for the most part.• Many Ugandans are raising objections to this Western media blitz and campaign.
Concluding Facts and Questions• Kony remains Number 1 on the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) list of most wanted for crimes against humanity.• Compassion must be balanced with experience and wisdom from those closest to atrocities. Outside help can be counter- productive, especially in the long run.• It is a good thing when people’s sense of justice is brought to bear on government policy--sometimes beyond its immediate self- interest.