Tag Archives: Uganda

We Are Not Invisible: 5 African Women Respond To The Kony 2012 Campaign

Courtesy: The Australian

By Guest Contributor Spectra, cross-posted from Spectra Speaks

The Stop Kony 2012 campaign launched recently by Invisible Children to raise awareness of the issues of child soldiers in Uganda in which they propose what they believe to be the ultimate solution — arrest Kony, the LRA rebel leader responsible for over 30,000 child abductions — was met with overnight “success” (i.e. over 50 million views on YouTube) and then heightened controversy; there are critiques that suggest the video promotes a white saviorist approach to humanitarianism, others that applaud the effort but challenge the film’s inaccuracies, and many more that call for the inclusion of more African voices in Invisible Children’s advocacy efforts.

Almost overnight, the web was flooded with so much commentary from western media on the erasure of African voices that it became challenging for me to even locate perspectives from fellow Africans; ironically, African voices weren’t initially just being drowned out by the success of IC’s viral campaign, but by western voices sharing their own take. Fortunately, African voices stepped up to the  plate, offering a wide range of perspectives; you can find a compilation of African responses to the campaign here, and a more general roundup of the Kony2012 issue here.

Nevertheless, I’m (as always) acutely aware of the amplification of male voices on the Kony 2012 campaign. Hence — and in the spirit of women’s history month — I’d like to highlight African women’s voices. The 5 women below aren’t just adding to the conversation, but inspiring critical thinking about how we can be more conscious about the media we consume, more humble in our efforts to provide support to fellow global citizens, and mindful of the gift social media has given us. Africans now have the power to combat harmful narratives about Africa simply by telling our own.

So, here they are: 5 responses from African women to Kony 2012, and westerners seeking to support Africa, ethically and responsibly, now and in the future.

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‘They Feel Like We Have An Agenda’: Religion And The Invisible Children Campaign

By Arturo R. García

As the debate continues regarding Invisible Children’s campaign calling for the capture and arrest of Joseph Kony, the matter of faith has been making its way to the forefront, on both sides.

Religion, of course, has been at the center of Kony’s mission with his terrorist group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, as detailed by sources including U.S. military reports and by J. Carter Johnson in Christianity Today six years ago:

Kony, 41, envisions an Acholiland ruled by a warped interpretation of the Ten Commandments. He uses passages from the Pentateuch to justify mutilation and murder. He promotes a demonic spirituality crafted from an eclectic mix of Christianity, Islam, and African witchcraft.

Any resemblance to these religions is superficial: While the army observes rituals such as praying the rosary and bowing toward Mecca, there is no prescribed theology in the conventional sense. Kony’s beliefs are a haphazard mix from the Bible and the Qur’an, tailored around his wishful thinking, personal desires, and practical needs of the moment. Jesus is the Son of God. But instead of saving the world from sin through his sacrificial love on the Cross, he is a source of power employed for killing those who oppose Kony. The Holy Spirit is not the Divine Comforter, but one who directs Kony’s tactical military decisions.

Despite dabbling in the Bible and the Qur’an, Kony’s real spiritual obsession is witchcraft. He burns toy military vehicles and figurines to predict the course of battles from their burn patterns. He uses reptiles in magic rituals to sicken those who anger him or to detect traitors in his midst. He claims to receive military direction from spirits of dead men from different countries, including Americans. He teaches that an impending apocalypse will usher in “The Silent World,” where only primitive weapons, such as machetes and clubs, will bring victory.

But while Kony’s self-aggrandizing beliefs have been on record, if not the public eye, for years–earning him a dubious endorsement from Rush Limbaugh, as it turns out–the religious leanings of some of Invisible Children’s chosen allies started coming to light last week.

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Meanwhile, On The TumblR: Rosebell Kagumire Adds Her Voice To The #StopKony Debate

“How you tell the story of Ugandans is much more important,” says journalist Rosebell Kagumire. “If you’re showing me as voiceless, as hopeless, you have no space telling my story, you shouldn’t be telling my story.”

The image and words shown at left are part of a video by Kagumire, which you can  get to by visiting Andrea’s post here. And, as ever, thanks to everybody who’s been following our Tumblr page for more quick hits during the week.

#StopKony: Activism Or Exploitation?

Courtesy The (U.K.) Independent

By Arturo R. García

The online campaign against Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony gained serious momentum online Wednesday. But so have questions regarding the organization behind hashtags like #StopKony.

The group, Invisible Children, has said it released its latest video (TRIGGER WARNING for one scene) to help spur action leading to Kony’s arrest “and set a precedent for international justice.” Between YouTube and Vimeo, the 30-minute short film has been seen more than 21 million times since being released Tuesday. In addition, blogger Scott Ross noted (emphasis his) that the campaign, “took up six of the top ten trending topics on Twitter, and ‘Kony’ and ‘#KONY2012′ accounted for 3-4% of all tweets.”

The video, narrated by Invisible Children co-founder Jason Russell, was released days after the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) issued a report saying Kony’s paramilitary group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), had engaged in 52 new attacks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing at least 35 people, abducting 104 others and leaving more than 17,000 residents displaced from their homes.
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