Activists decrying the plight of legions of Central African children have released one of the slickest, most popular international relations propaganda films ever. Their group, Invisible Children, Inc., says it’s now trying to call attention to the notorious actions of international criminal Joseph Kony. Since the mid-1980s, Mr. Kony has been leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a group that brainwashes, rapes, mutilates and kills children; or sees to it that children kill each other. The film has seen upwards of 70 million views on YouTube. The relationship between the actions it advocates, and the capture of the LRA leader is unclear.
Through sympathies with the fundraising message of their film, “KONY 2012,” Invisible Children wants viewers to help extend their coffers, 30 percent of which, their financial reporting indicates, the group spends for on-the-ground aid.
In a voice-over, “KONY 2012″ filmmaker Jason Russell says, “After eight years of work, the [U.S.] government finally heard us, and in October of 2011, 100 American advisers were sent into Central Africa to assist the Ugandan army in arresting Kony and stopping the LRA. It was the first time in history that the United States took that kind of action because the people demanded it — not for self-defense but because it was right.”
Numerous international observers, particularly after World War II, have articulated their opinion that U.S. military interventions, particularly in Iraq and Vietnam, have been the products of factors exterior to self-defense.
In an unambiguous contradiction to Mr. Russell’s claims, this was not the first time that the U.S. government took steps to undermine Joseph Kony. The February 6, 2009 New York Times says, “The United States has been training Ugandan troops in counterterrorism for several years . . . [S]enior American military officials . . . described a team of 17 advisers and analysts from the Pentagon’s new Africa Command working closely with Ugandan officers on the mission, providing satellite phones, intelligence and $1 million in fuel.”
In his film, Mr. Russell insists, “In order for Kony to be arrested this year, the Ugandan military has to find him. In order to find him, they need the technology and training to track him in the vast jungle. That’s where the American advisors come in.”
The 30-minute presentation is full of tight, sophisticated editing techniques and heart-wrenching clips of disfigured youth, all of which beckon the viewer to bring justice to the International Criminal Court’s most wanted person.
“This is a good initiative,” says Onyango Kakoba, Uganda’s representative to the Pan-African Parliament, “but it should have come at the right time, not at the time when Kony has been defeated in Uganda.” Indeed, The New York Times claims that Mr. Kony has been “exiled to a fiefdom on the border of southern Sudan and Congo.”
It remains unclear as to what role, if any, the filmmakers have in mind for the Ugandan army or U.S. military advisers in Sudan or Congo.
“Joseph Kony was committing crimes for 20 years, and no one cared,” claims Mr. Russell, the “no one” presumably including the family members of Mr. Kony’s victims. “We care,” added Invisible Children, Inc.’s co-founder.
As if Kony’s crimes aren’t bad enough,
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he is not fighting for any cause, but only to maintain his power.