The Problem with Invisible Children & the Kony video.

Via on Mar 8, 2012

Make KONY Famous? Yes. Riveting video? Yes.

Like everyone else, elephant went crazy over that Kony video.

26 50 million views between vimeo and youtube? Wow.

But there’s a problem. Read the article at the bottom. ~ Waylon.

Update: Invisible Children’s eloquent response to mounting criticism.

Update: “For those moved by learning about Kony and the LRA and wanting to help, but unsure about the status of ‘invisible children’ I want to make you aware of the excellent charity ‘war child’ which is working with ex-child soldiers effected.” ~ Reddit.

More: “Why the Kony documentary and Invisible Children are one-sided – please read.”

“The argument AGAINST donating money to Invisible Children.” (vice.com)

“Revealing analysis of Invisible Children Inc.’s financial report. Only 32% spent on providing aid.

Read this. Excerpt:

We got trouble.

For those asking what you can do to help, please link to visiblechildren.tumblr.com wherever you see KONY 2012 posts. And tweet a link to this page to famous people on Twitter who are talking about KONY 2012!

I do not doubt for a second that those involved in KONY 2012 have great intentions, nor do I doubt for a second that Joseph Kony is a very evil man. But despite this, I’m strongly opposed to the KONY 2012 campaign.

KONY 2012 is the product of a group called Invisible Children, a controversial activist group and not-for-profit. They’ve released 11 films, most with an accompanying bracelet colour (KONY 2012 is fittingly red), all of which focus on Joseph Kony. When we buy merch from them, when we link to their video, when we put up posters linking to their website, we support the organization. I don’t think that’s a good thing, and I’mnotalone.

Invisible Children has been condemned time and time again. As a registered not-for-profit, its finances are public. Last year, the organization spent $8,676,614. Only 32% went to direct services (page 6), with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production. This is far from ideal for an issue which arguably needs action and aid, not awareness, and Charity Navigator rates their accountability 2/4 stars because they lack an external audit committee. But it goes way deeper than that.

The group is in favour of direct military intervention, and their money supports the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces. Here’s a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army…read the rest here.

The film:

 

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About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom

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60 Responses to “The Problem with Invisible Children & the Kony video.”

  1. Jen says:

    "Only 32% went to direct services (page 6), with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production." duh. this is not news:
    http://s3.amazonaws.com/www.invisiblechildren.com

    raising awareness exactly how they proposed to…. and it worked…. nuts!

  2. karlsaliter says:

    Hmmmm, think a little editing is in order…

  3. karlsaliter says:

    (Over here, I mean.)

    • elephantjournal says:

      You mean, on your article? Well it's for sure a riveting, vital cause and awareness is always good. We just got some tweets today criticizing our support of the video in our three blogs, including yours, so I researched and offered those links there. Awareness is always a positive. ~ Waylon

  4. Michaela says:

    Do some direct financial comparisons with real figures from other charities; you will find much the same thing. This is NOT a reason not to take action or give. I'm disappointed in this article.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Did you read the links? Did you read the tumblr article?

      "…Military intervention may or may not be the right idea, but people supporting KONY 2012 probably don’t realize they’re supporting the Ugandan military who are themselves raping and looting away. If people know this and still support Invisible Children because they feel it’s the best solution based on their knowledge and research, I have no issue with that. But I don’t think most people are in that position, and that’s a problem.

      Is awareness good? Yes. But these problems are highly complex, not one-dimensional and, frankly, aren’t of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture, as hard as that is to swallow. Giving your money and public support to Invisible Children so they can spend it on supporting ill-advised violent intervention and movie #12 isn’t helping. Do I have a better answer? No, I don’t, but that doesn’t mean that you should support KONY 2012 just because it’s something. Something isn’t always better than nothing. Sometimes it’s worse.

      If you want to write to your Member of Parliament or your Senator or the President or the Prime Minister, by all means, go ahead. If you want to post about Joseph Kony’s crimes on Facebook, go ahead. But let’s keep it about Joseph Kony, not KONY 2012.

      ~ Grant Oyston"

  5. Christian says:

    The three founders make $88,000 $89,000 & $84,000 a year totaling only about 2.93% of the total budget. These founders are not running off with money. People are claiming that "32% of the profits are actually going to Uganda to help while the rest is going into the founder's pockets," and that is just ridiculous – it's only 2.93%.

    Good they have done: given out 840 full-ride scholarships, put $3.3mil last year alone directly into the their programs in Central Africa (or 37% of their operational revenues). Look at their responses to many of people's criticism's here: http://www.invisiblechildren.com.s3-website-us-ea

    BOTTOM LINE: not a whole lot of people in America are familiar with the issues facing Uganda, the Child Soldiers, and Joseph Kony, 8 years ago, 3 years ago, or even hardly today – still! But because Invisible Children exists, this has started to change, and many more people are familiar with the issues. We would more than likely still be in the dark and unfamiliar with Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army if it weren't for Invisible Children and their efforts. All the people you see going around doing screenings and tours are going around the country volunteering their time. The heads of the organization make modest salaries. Their message is getting out, and Invisible Children took over Facebook, Twitter, & news organizations this week. That's awesome. It's working. It's a functional organization. Don't look into it too deep.

  6. Daiva says:

    Everything, like us, is not perfect and of course such a massive campaign and spreading so fast will come under scrunity on several aspects, BUT I see even the bigger picture, not only Kony and not only Uganda, but generally with Arab Spring and movements like this many more "Konys" will realise that they are not invincible…

  7. Joe Chisholm says:

    I must say I am surprised….that EJ would not see this as a one sided and naive interpretation of events far outside this 2nd year political science student's admitted limited knowledge and experience….

    Kony is a brutal and extremely bigoted and maniacal egomaniac….his tactics and actions speak volumes and a groundswell of action will make a difference….

    Non profits, especially filmmakers have great expenses and overhead..not any kind of excuse but without dedication and the associated expenditures that allow these individuals to tell these stories, perhaps situations like this one and others portrayed in films and filmmaker projects would go unmade and world's political and economic issues would be left in places like Uganda…where the comfortably insulated persons in communities like our across the country and around the world can remain uninformed and oblivious….and free to drink rice milk lattes and go to their yoga class in their 4WD Audis while their nanny picks up the kids from the new charter Montessori school…..

    I personally know the people at IC and can state that the attacks on their character or truth of intention are far from fair and unwarranted…to what end can this conversation serve when the concern should be the kids in harms way?

    Elephant has long been a voice for the unheard…can't this issue stand alone without the rhetoric of voices without action here while others actually act…and serve the needs of the greater good? in this case the lives of these innocent children?

    from Mr Oyston's comments….

    "Is awareness good? Yes. But these problems are highly complex, not one-dimensional and, frankly, aren’t of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture, as hard as that is to swallow. Giving your money and public support to Invisible Children so they can spend it on supporting ill-advised violent intervention and movie #12 isn’t helping. Do I have a better answer? No, I don’t, but that doesn’t mean that you should support KONY 2012 just because it’s something. Something isn’t always better than nothing. Sometimes it’s worse."

    Really Grant? As someone who has personally seen FB and TakePart gather over 1.3 million signatures and countless 'friends' rally around a cause these statements are shallow, false and opinionated at best…change is ongoing.

    Filmmaking and the power of media changes public opinion, policy and politics on a global scale…… and encourages action everyday, it is the leap from intention to action that drives social justice, activism and change…look what it did for you? without the KONY 2012 project and the raising of awareness you would not have a soapbox to stand on…good on you for exercising your rights to free speech and engagement…..too bad you can't see the forest for the trees…

    Support something, anything…. because it is your right to stand up for what you believe in and help to create change in our world today for a better tomorrow…

  8. Martin Murphy martin says:

    Like all challenges humanity faces, kony is not actually the fundamental cause of the trouble, the fundamental cause of the trouble is the monetary, global economic and pol;itical systems both in the developed and undeveloped countries. (as is). Whenever you get chairites and money, you will get a career. All the charites, dont solve a problem, they just patch it up. the reason being is that they become income generating machines as opposed to fundamental problem solvers.

    All charities, govt officials, NGO's should work to make themselves redundant, so they can go onto the next challenge..but they dont… None of the largest charities could solve their problems with more money and they all make a profit but like the Catholic church, they keep on asking for money…

  9. Martin Murphy martin says:

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/www.invisiblechildren.com… A reply from the promotors of the video in response to criticism…

  10. Michelle Margaret Fajkus yoga freedom says:

    Thank you for continuing the dialogue on this extremely important human rights issue. Here's my two cents. (I feel an essay brewing…)

    "The violence in Uganda, Congo, and South Sudan has been the most devastating — anywhere in the world — since the mid-1990s. Even conservative estimates place the death toll in the millions. And the LRA is, in fact, a relatively small player in all of this — as much a symptom as a cause of the endemic violence. If Kony is removed, LRA fighters will join other groups or act independently."

    "Until the underlying problem — the region's poor governance — is adequately dealt with, there will be no sustainable peace."
    Obama Takes on the LRA: Why Washington Sent Troops to Central Africa

    Still, I support and admire the awareness-raising video of Invisible Children's KONY 2012 campaign. If it's getting millions of people to learn and care about these issues, that's a step in the direction of success, a movement toward truth and social justice. But social justice is not simply posting things online, incendiary or not. It is: Kony getting arrested, going to international trial and being convicted and duly punished.

    Let's not jump to easy, inaccurate conclusions in this complex, horrifying situation.

    Namaste,
    Michelle

  11. Anna Robb says:

    Grant Oyston and Waylon Lewis I don't see you devoting 10 years of your life to a cause such as this…..it's just so easy to sit on the sideline and criticise…
    Anyone who has worked for a non-profit organisation knows that only a percentage can get to the real cause because those people devoting their life to a cause have to (GASP) eat….! Oh and pay for their children's education…! And pay these things called bills…!
    26 million views as of today. I'd say that was money and time well invested. And I can bet Grant Oyston isn't going to do one single thing about stopping Kony. Are you Waylon?

    • elephantjournal says:

      Anna, Anna. We all devote, and sacrifice, hopefully, our lives to our own causes. Kony is not my cause, but spreading awareness about such is. We hosted three article yesterday about this issue, and this contextual blog has brought further thousands of readers into awareness. That's likely far more than you, my friend, you who're throwing rocks in your glass house…

      No one is saying Kony should get a pass. Awareness is always a positive—

    • Criticism is a good thing, Anna. Any ethically solid organization will be able to take it. And I believe IC can.

  12. muriel quinn says:

    The criticism of the Kony 2012 is what’s one-sided.

    Kony is a bad guy. A film maker wants us to know that. So his budget goes to making a film.

    The situation is complex. The film, and our reaction are not.

  13. missbernklau says:

    Gahhh Waylon isn't against what they're doing at Invisible Children (at least that's not the impression I got) he's just posting opposing views to create deeper awareness of all the facets of the situation, because that is un-biased journalism!

    • Jess says:

      Exactly! I applaud you for displaying all the facts and letting your readers make their own decisions. Bonus points for helping us make the best, most informed decision we can!

      • bradd says:

        Ha! Compare this to the softball treatment John Friend got at the hands of Waylon a while back. Waylon was an ENABLER in those interviews. I can't help but sense there's a little petty professional jealousy in this post.

  14. A friend of mine wrote this response to the controversy:

    "Saw the video, read the criticism via the link you provided below. Here's my two cents: yesterday I had no idea who Joseph Kony was, much less the atrocities he's perpetrated, relatively under the radar, for so many years. Last night, via the voice of Invisible Children, I feel more aware, perhaps more empowered. I told the kids about him (in kidspeak, so they would understand). The important message they came away with was: even though we're little, WE (my kids) are not invisible, and WE (my kids) can provide a voice for the kids in Uganda that don't. That THEY (my kids) can help bring a very bad man to justice in some form. While Invisible Children may not be without it's failings, the overall picture, which is to bring to light what hides in the dark-FAR exceeds the nickle and diming of the charity. My kids woke up not talking about Invisible Children this morning, but about Joseph Kony. The message is making a difference."

  15. Eblue says:

    How do we know this is "the worst it's ever been?" as the film touts, and will getting rid of Kony be the answer or are the problems more deeply rooted?

    Thank you EJ!

  16. Kevin says:

    I tried really hard to find a reason why this Kony 2012 movement was something to be skeptical of and I noticed I’m not alone. After some serious digging I find no real reason not to fully support what this video is trying to accomplish. The issues cited here [http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/] shouldn’t keep anyone from getting behind such a movement. This is typical nonprofit fare and much of this is overblown. Creating a video of this caliber is massively expensive, trust me. Sadly it takes a flashy video to get most people to pay attention to an atrocity such as this one and I think “Invisible Children” has done a fantastic job in briefly pulling us away from our insignificant facebook/internet indulgencie and showing us how working/believing together can actually accomplish something important.

  17. There will always be naysayers, which is a good thing. But I think in this case, shedding light on this dark corner of humanity is more important than any criticism of IC. As Bob Marley says, "there is so much trouble in the world." We can throw our hands up in frustration and disillusionment and give up any actions to the benefit of the whole as ultimately useless. I have felt that way. Ultimately, I'm a cynic. I believe the world is fucked. On the other hand, even the *attempt* to help other beings on the planet makes us more human and makes life more meaningful. And, to that end, to focus on one idea is empowering because we may be able to witness a tangible result. It's not saving everything; It's surely not saving all of Africa, but it is saving something. That's one of the reasons why this video appealed to me so much, and that's why I will continue to support Invisible Children.

  18. elephantjournal says:

    #
    Samantha Loach The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything I am heartned that people have took the time to watch video and felt aware and compassionate enough to share. At the end of the day Gover.ents and the powers that be HATE the fact that people are awakening it makes us much harder to fool…i will keep sharing PEOPLE POWER :D
    9 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 7
    #
    Samantha Loach Even if this campaign gets just a few schools built only good can come of that EDUCATION !!!
    9 hours ago ·
    #
    Samantha Loach World goverments have more than likely done dodgy deals with Uganda and really wouldn't want info being uncovered. That is what usually happens when crimes against Humanity get uncovered.
    9 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1
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    Marianne Braun Ille Without Awareness, there is NO action.
    9 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 6
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    Matt Baker Glad to see this page posting multiple perspectives.
    9 hours ago · UnlikeLike · 4
    #
    Bret Blumenthal Last Night I posted Invisible Children's 30 min vid. on Kony. Today The controversy is running wild about this nonprofit's motives and donation usage. To be honest, I could give a shit about anyones motives, nor do i plan to really donate anything. That does not mean the world does not need to know who this guy is and what he is doing. He is abducting children and forcing them to kill thier families at gunpoint, turning the boys into children warriors and the girls into sex slaves. There was a boy named jacob from Uganda, His family was killed and his brother's throat was sliced in front of his eyes. He wanted to go to school and become a lawyer, now he doesn't care if he lives or dies, he just wants to see his brother.
    9 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 18
    #
    Samantha Loach These negative snippits about this campaign are strategic god forbid goverments get exposed for dealing with leaders guilty of Crimes against Humanity…..how many times as that happened
    9 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 5
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    Samantha Loach Well said Bret :)
    9 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 2
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    Samantha Loach I was very heartned yesterday that my Son took the time yesterday to watch video and it made him aware of something he had no idea about…
    he shared and purchased bracelet.
    9 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1
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    Melissa Moore Tornay http://www.invisiblechildren.com.s3-website-us-ea
    9 hours ago ·
    #
    Bret Blumenthal Thank you :)
    9 hours ago · LikeUnlike
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    Karl Saliter Hmmmm.

    #

  19. elephantjournal says:

    Mat Hill Why don't you try reading what's in front of your eyes? These well meaning but ill-educated middle class do-gooders are supporting the Ugandan Army, who have a track record of using child soldiers, and tactics including child rape and murder to get what they want, supposedly to chase a man who hasn't set foot in Uganda since 2006, and similar national militia in other countries. They are on a mission that has gone horribly horribly wrong, and they're too wrapped up in the swashbuckling to admit it.

    There are lots of charities out there that do really useful work with liberated kids in Uganda, and you should still write to your representative to keep pushing for action in bringing Kony to justice. The easy option, of joining in this huge Internet phenomena, is just a cop-out for those who want to be seen to be doing something about it and can't be bothered to do any actual work.
    9 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 11
    #
    Christy Patton bit slow with the critique but at least you got it up..well done..
    9 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1
    #
    Samantha Loach I have took the time to read everything, negative and positive :)
    I will still Share.
    9 hours ago · UnlikeLike · 4
    #
    Sonia Jewell I just watched the kony video. And what I took from that is that is that most of the money is to bring awareness in april. To set into motion a grass roots movement. Not for raising aide money to help the invisible children. So I don't know why people are getting all down on them. My thought is before this went viral NOT many knew who Joseph Kony was.
    9 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 8
    #
    Sonia Jewell My bad and to have the technology for the ugandan troops. http://s3.amazonaws.com/www.invisiblechildren.com
    9 hours ago ·

  20. elephantjournal says:

    #
    Christian Eaton The three founders make $88,000 $89,000 & $84,000 a year totaling only about 2.93% of the total budget. These founders are not running off with money. People are claiming that "32% of the profits are actually going to Uganda to help while the rest is going into the founder's pockets," and that is just ridiculous – it's only 2.93%.

    Good they have done: given out 840 full-ride scholarships, put $3.3mil last year alone directly into the their programs in Central Africa (or 37% of their operational revenues). Look at their responses to many of people's criticism's here: http://www.invisiblechildren.com.s3-website-us-ea

    BOTTOM LINE: not a whole lot of people in America are familiar with the issues facing Uganda, the Child Soldiers, and Joseph Kony, 8 years ago, 3 years ago, or even hardly today – still! But because Invisible Children exists, this has started to change, and many more people are familiar with the issues. We would more than likely still be in the dark and unfamiliar with Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army if it weren't for Invisible Children and their efforts. All the people you see going around doing screenings and tours are going around the country volunteering their time. The heads of the organization make modest salaries. Their message is getting out, and Invisible Children took over Facebook, Twitter, & news organizations this week. That's awesome. It's working. It's a functional organization. Don't look into it too deep.
    8 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 19
    #
    Dale Starnes Hmm. So… how refreshing – let's take the wind out of the sails of a campaign for people helping people. ..What use is bringing race and presumptions of savior psychology into the conversation? …wtf else do Americans have to be doing – trample each other for cheap tv sets at wall mart?
    8 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 12
    #
    Mat Hill Good post, thank you, Christian. Goes a long way to explaining some of the accusations that have been levelled against the group.

    So, what is the charity's policy on helping the Ugandan President and his Army?

    #
    Randolph Roeder Uh oh … it's getting cogent in here … I hope this doesn't signal that the discussion will soon be tampering off …
    8 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    Andrew Kubak Good discussion and links
    8 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    Mat Hill For example, Christian, this isn't "too deep", right?

    I mean, he obviously appreciates the publicity about Kony, but asks a couple of very pertinent questions about Museveni.
    http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/03/07/stop-ko

    #

  21. elephantjournal says:

    Mat Hill ‎(Btw, I've read the response to the criticisms, and the bit relevant to why use the Ugandan Army… And I do understand the need to publicise and the scope of the campaign – but it seems some of it is a bit muddled. So I'd still be interested in a response if you have the time.)
    5 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1
    #
    Jacob Stewart This rebuttal lost credibility with me when they mentioned the "white mans burden." that's a pretty shitty excuse to not try to do something good.
    5 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1
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    Eileen Lambert Interesting take by the Wronging Rights. What should you drink (and eat) while watching the video: http://www.wrongingrights.com/2012/03/the-definit

    5 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    Mat Hill Jacob, which rebuttal? I didn't mention that, and the article I linked to mentions that critique in a negative light. There are some quite complex issues at hand – as you'd expect dealing with another culture – so there are actually enough concerns to not tar them all with the same brush or dismiss them as generalisations.

    My main concerns are similar to the writer of that piece, and are nothing to do with money or stereotypes (although I admit my language earlier was pretty dismissive – that'll be my middle class do-gooder guilt!).

    Specifically: what is the exact relationship between IC and Museveni and his UDPF?
    4 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    Jennifer Kass But is there a bigger picture here? Like if the video, itself, awakens the masses for at least a moment and shifts the collective consciousness, isn't focusing on that miraculous positive more important than a negative? Thinking out loud..
    3 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 7
    #
    Nina Volostnova From the little research I have done I understand that the problem we're faced with is the abused children in Africa. What makes no sense is why people are wasting their energy arguing who's wrong and who's right and trying to prove a point to each other…shouldn't we be putting that energy to help THE actual problem instead of arguing with each other?! Just a thought…
    3 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 3
    #
    Rick Genuine Einstein http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=sea
    2 hours ago ·
    #
    Roseline Mouana http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/africa/c
    2 hours ago ·
    #
    Emily Brown It is very important to know where the money you are donating is going and what the repercussions might be when handed to the Ugandan army. Everyone should be informed i.e. do your own research, not just suddenly moved to a cause. There is a great documentary on this issue called "Uganda Rising" the film showed about 5 years ago at the Boulder International Film Festival.
    2 hours ago · UnlikeLike · 4
    #
    Randolph Roeder here's a quick but goodly read:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2012/0
    Kony 2012: Campaign against African warlord goes viral, now who is he? http://www.csmonitor.com
    The Kony 2012 campaign succeeded in making African warlord Joseph Kony infamous,… but left out much of the background. Here's Monitor coverage on Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army.See More
    Expand Preview
    14 minutes ago · UnlikeLike · 1 ·
    #
    elephantjournal.com Dear friends, it's our job to spread awareness. Thanks for helping to do so. We've published three uniformly positive articles about the KONY 2012 Invisible Children campaign and are happy to share up more. There was enough criticism of IC that it warranted a look-see. That is all. No one, thanks to IC, who now knows about KONY wants to see him continue to get away with rape, murder. No one. But remember: informed awareness is always a positive.

    The IC rebuttal to criticism has been atop my article above from the beginning. Most of the comments criticizing the above read the title, and no more, or you would have seen that. Good job reading titles and reacting! That's what social media is for, right?! No: IC, the Arab Spring, Occupy, even the Tea Party has shown it can be for much more: it can actually change things. We're all for that. Let's just change things in a way that acknowledges context (the Ugandan governement does much the same as Kony). ~ Waylon

  22. Maddie says:

    Here's a perspective worth looking at: http://pomee.tumblr.com/post/18899601760/kony-201

    Sure, her tone can be a little harsh at times, but I think she raises some important points, i.e. how Ugandans actually feel about Invisible Children.

    "Last year I went to Gulu, Uganda, where Invisible Children is based, and interviewed over 50 locals. Every single person questioned Invisible Children’s legitimacy and intention. Every single person. If anything, it seemed the people saw Invisible Children as a bigger threat than Joseph Kony at the time. Why is it the very people you are trying to “help” feel more offense than relief with your aid?
    “They come here to make money and use us.”
    “It makes us feel terrible to be presented as being so stupid and helpless.”"

  23. Anna says:

    I spent nearly two years on the ground in Africa a few years ago. In that time I met only one other American there to learn FROM Africans. Every other American – every single one – was there TO FIX AFRICA OR AFRICANS.

    The effect this has on Africans is unimaginable. And on Americans, too.

    Now I live in San Diego, just two miles from the Invisible Children headquarters. The neighborhood where the headquarters is located is teeming with homeless people. They are everywhere. At night the sidewalks are literally covered in humanity.

    One of the things that makes humanity beautiful is our differences. Ugandans are different from San Diegans. Neither are right. Neither are wrong. Neither are better. Neither worse. We're just different. San Diegans would be better suited fixing the problems of San Diego.

    Leave Africans to fix the problems of Africa.

  24. Steph says:

    Here are the CLEARLY DEFINED expenditures and answers to all of the judgmental attacks on the IC and their founders. http://s3.amazonaws.com/www.invisiblechildren.com

  25. Be Scofield says:

    “What that video says is totally wrong, and it can cause us more problems than help us.” “This paints a picture of Uganda six or seven years ago, that is totally not how it is today. It’s highly irresponsible”. “There has not been a single soul from the LRA here since 2006. Now we have peace, people are back in their homes, they are planting their fields, they are starting their businesses. That is what people should help us with.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaa

    • Roger Wolsey Roger Wolsey says:

      The video indicates that the LRA has left Uganda. Did you watch all of it? That said, Kony ignores national boundaries and could easily be in out of northern Uganda. The point is, Kony needs to be brought to justice and the Ugandan military is key to helping this to happen.

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  27. frank hark says:

    Great discussions. I think the point that Invisible Children is a charity focus on spreading information is key. I will shout our to Weylon Lewis to create EJ a place that quickly posted both sides and helped generate these discussions. Which is what I believe to be its purpose as well.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Thanks, Frank. For all those who love IC, amen, please remember we've posted their rebuttal up top and three other blogs to this one that are all about their message. ~ Waylon

  28. gmcheeseman1 says:

    I don't see a problem at all with an organization that produces films to raise awareness about an important issue. As an Armenian-American I'm descended from genocide victims. The world did NOTHING to stop the genocide then, but it sure as hell needs to do something to stop genocides happening now. We are all connected because we are all part of one race, the human race.

  29. Mr. Science says:

    The real problem with the video is that it calls for support of the Ugandan military, which is in fact responsible for far more death and destruction that the LRA.
    The video has peace-loving people calling for war. As if sending foreign troops to back a brutal dictatorship will help children.
    This is not a grass-roots movement, but a very devious way to get the people to demand a permanent military presence in Africa.
    Just as has bee done in the middle east via 9-11.
    I had just finished reading a portion of a book that treats the UN actions in the Congo in the early sixties when this video hit, so I was a little suspicious. (and yes I even watched it)
    You only need about five minutes to figure out that supporting the Ugandan military against the LRA would make things worse.
    Please note that Kony is a bad guy, not someone to support. But going to war to stop an army that the UN has let run wild for 20 years(a very small army at that) should make you very suspicious.
    Look deeper, this is not a war to get behind.

  30. Jimmy Ballz says:

    Never heard of Kony til this week. Points to the filmmakers for mission accomplished- I avoid social issues and loathe activism. You reached me!

    Now what… Oh- for ALL of you who continue to lament that these people are in league with the government of Uganda who has human rights abuses on record…. good god folks, have you ever tallied the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA from an objective point of view? Start at Abu Ghraib and the 'special rendition' camps in Libya, Syria, and Egypt, work back to Cambodia via the Central American torture/death squads, and then shut up already. Uganda could only dream of reaching such a scale of atrocity.

    • Scheherazade says:

      So basically you're saying that just because USA has a bad record, it doesn't matter that we're supporting another government who's committing atrocities?

      I don't support USA's government. I didn't support Iraq, Afghanistan, and I will be shouting against military support by the USA to assist another government in perpetuating atrocities.

    • Mr. Science says:

      You do realize that the film is asking for Nato/UN/US involvement in taking out Kony.
      So saying that the US is way worse than the Ugandan Govt. really doesn’t make sense.
      Essentially, it is like saying that you have a neighborhood drug dealer causing problems, so you are going to ask the Sinaloa cartel to solve it.
      This is propaganda to promote the US AFRICOM program.
      Here is a good description of what is going on:

      http://www.blackstarnews.com/news/135/ARTICLE/8007/2012-03-08.html

      Not the best site, but amongst other things it points out where Kony got the idea of kidnapping kids in the first place, the Ugandan Military.
      The video is so filled with cliche manipulation, Nazi’s innocent little white kids. . .
      It is amazing that so many intelligent people are being taken in by this.
      It really only takes a few minutes to do some research and see through this.
      We all want to feel like we can make a difference, and it is easiest to get behind something that has momentum, but we have to look at the larger consequences.
      This is a ploy to establish a military presence in Africa.
      And by the way. . . . Uganda has oil.
      The US probably will go in. So watch. It should be obvious in about three years just how much worse it has gotten, as long as you don’t just listen to the MSM.
      It is hard to accept that you are being deceived. But we have been down so long it looks like up.

  31. Roger Wolsey Roger Wolsey says:

    As the author of "the other" blog about Kony on Elephant, I'd like to encourage us to at least do the following actions:
    1. Contact your me http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

    2. Sign this petition: http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocac

    Peace.

    Roger

  32. Graham says:

    the film is propaganda of the worst kind. Yeah invade Africa. War is peace. Kony has not even been seen in years in Uganda. This is all part of taking the resources of Africa under the cover of humanitarian wars. War is peace. Kony has a few hundred followers. Invissible child is afilliaed with USAID and through them a thin front for the CIA.

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