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Author Topic: KONY 2012
777
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I didn't see a thread on this, so here goes:

Raising Awareness of Joseph Kony

I found a lot of criticism of Invisible Children's charity and financial efforts, but I figured that Hatrack would get to the bottom of this issue, if it were controversial enough. Which I think it is.

What do you think? Is this in our national interests, or is it a waste of time or resources, or is this a noble use of social media?

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by 777:
I didn't see a thread on this, so here goes:

Raising Awareness of Joseph Kony

I found a lot of criticism of Invisible Children's charity and financial efforts, but I figured that Hatrack would get to the bottom of this issue, if it were controversial enough. Which I think it is.

What do you think? Is this in our national interests, or is it a waste of time or resources, or is this a noble use of social media?

You mention the criticisms, but just to provide some of that context: here and here are two good places to start. (First link bitlyed because Hatrack's UBB code didn't like it)

It's certainly not a group I would donate money to.

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Dan_Frank
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To clarify, I've never seen the film in question (just watched the first few minutes and it seemed neat, but I don't have time to watch all of it right now) so it may be that they are still decent folk trying to do the right thing.

Nevertheless, I think it's pretty important to know where your money is going if you donate to a charity, and they don't seem to live up to that standard very well.

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Bella Bee
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From the link above:

quote:
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.
Hmmm. I stopped giving to the NSPCC (Anti-child abuse charity) when I realized that they spent more than 50% of donations on 'awareness'. Because awareness is great, but what's the point of everyone being aware of how to donate if you're not actually doing anything with the money?

Movies don't actually save lives. Cash can, if spent correctly. People need proper action and support. However, if this campaign helps pull some strings in Washington, perhaps the film-makers will be able to effect change and make themselves rich and/or successful at the same time?

I'm more concerned about how some people are suggesting that this organisation support governments and armies who are almost as oppressive as what they're fighting. Perhaps a re-think there is in order, if this is so.

EDIT: Also from the link -
quote:
The issue with taking out a man who uses a child army is that his bodyguards are children. Any effort to capture or kill him will almost certainly result in many childrenís deaths, an impact that needs to be minimized as much as possible.
This guy really needs to go down, but perhaps this helps to explain why previous missions have failed?

As for the film - I'm not buying their bracelet, but I'm going to look into some other charities and organizations which hopefully will do more for the folks on the ground. So they've converted me, in a sense.

And I do think it's a great idea to get kids involved in helping the stolen children. As a little kid I found out about apartheid when the Canadian border control confiscated my South African apples (I was angry about the apples, and then even more angry about the political unfairness), so I know how passionate kids can get, and how much they'll do for good causes.

[ March 07, 2012, 08:41 PM: Message edited by: Bella Bee ]

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Glenn Arnold
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1 and 3.

I'm posting a critical article, to make it easier to see what the criticisms are. I see a big parallel here with the naysayer criticisms that were made about South Africa: "They make it sound so simple, end apartheid, release Mandela, and everything will be OK. Do you realize what turmoil will happen when all those black people suddenly have rights?"

Arresting Kony may be an oversimplified solution, but it's the right one. (From Firefly: "If you can't do something smart, do something right.") Uganda has seen too much turmoil, and deserves a chance at peace. Likewise, taking action in this case will send a message to other leaders who use child soldiers that their tactics make themselves a target.

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
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.

Hmmm. I stopped giving to the NSPCC (Anti-child abuse charity) when I realized that they spent more than 50% of donations on 'awareness'. Because awareness is great, but what's the point of everyone being aware of how to donate if you're not actually doing anything with the money?

I think the people in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt might disagree with you. Likewise, the Women's rights and civil rights movements in the U.S. were primarily driven by awareness tactics.
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Bella Bee
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Yes, but that's what I'm saying. In this case it's a political situation, and perhaps awareness is more valuable in this case. However, they've made the movie and now people can use all those free social networks and go on campaigns and so on, for free. Once people know, it's about pressure, not movies - and I'll be interested to see if and how the organisation changes priorities now that they've got the message out there.

I don't remember buying a bracelet for Libya, but I was reasonably okay with my tax money being spent on that conflict. I don't remember Emily Pankhurst selling bracelets either. But if there was a march, a horse to throw myself under or whatever, I'd be there. And I'd give my money to charities which actually spend that money on helping the people involved.

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fugu13
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If you really want to help people in the region, there are far, far better charities to give to. Especially as that charity's spending stats look bad even by their own description, and won't let themselves be independently audited, all the while the charity is sending their money to support the Ugandan army -- itself a horrible organization causing numerous problems in the region, and nowhere near where Kony currently operates!

So yes, I have a problem with trying to raise awareness about a problem by an organization busy making the situation worse.

It was already linked, but people should read this post thoroughly: http://tumblr.thedailywh.at/post/18909727859/on-kony-2012-i-honestly-wanted-to-stay-as-far . It does a pretty good job covering the issues.

quote:
Arresting Kony may be an oversimplified solution, but it's the right one. (From Firefly: "If you can't do something smart, do something right.") Uganda has seen too much turmoil, and deserves a chance at peace. Likewise, taking action in this case will send a message to other leaders who use child soldiers that their tactics make themselves a target.
This represents a drastic misunderstanding of the situation. Such as the idea Kony is operating (or having much effect) in Uganda. If that's the sort of awareness being promoted about the real problems in the area, I'll leave it, and so will many people the awareness is ostensibly to support. There's a big movement among up and coming young African leaders to outright reject most western aid and eject most western NGOs, because their efforts overall hurt, not help.
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Strider
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Invisible Children's response to the various accusations: http://s3.amazonaws.com/www.invisiblechildren.com/critiques.html
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Dan_Frank
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Interesting!

They certainly sound somewhat persuasive.

But I don't know enough about vetting charities to really judge it critically.

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Strider
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Neither do I. I'm assuming that people with more knowledge will begin addressing their response shortly.
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Dan_Frank
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Yeah but I like to give my opinion anyway! [Big Grin]
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Strider
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We all do. That's why we post here. [Wink]
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Glenn Arnold
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Also bear in mind that although they are raising money, they make a point that just sharing the information is a great help in itself. After all, if awareness can be raised through viral marketing, money isn't so much of an issue.

As for the Ugandan army, I can't see how it's a bad idea for military advisers to work with them, because that might be an avenue that allows us to gain greater first hand intelligence about the situation on the ground there. That includes whether the Ugandan army is doing bad things, and maybe they can be taught/persuaded to change their behavior for the better. And if there are other issues that become obvious, if the awareness remains high, maybe the focus will change from Kony to whatever it is that really needs our attention.

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fugu13
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quote:
As for the Ugandan army, I can't see how it's a bad idea for military advisers to work with them, because that might be an avenue that allows us to gain greater first hand intelligence about the situation on the ground there. That includes whether the Ugandan army is doing bad things, and maybe they can be taught/persuaded to change their behavior for the better. And if there are other issues that become obvious, if the awareness remains high, maybe the focus will change from Kony to whatever it is that really needs our attention.
The situation on the ground the US military is already very well apprised of and has been cooperating with in successfully driving Kony out of Uganda, that needs no further help?

And this is some of the worst apologetics I've ever seen:

quote:
That includes whether the Ugandan army is doing bad things, and maybe they can be taught/persuaded to change their behavior for the better. And if there are other issues that become obvious, if the awareness remains high, maybe the focus will change from Kony to whatever it is that really needs our attention.
There are other issues that are well known. A modicum of research will help engage with them.

A couple links people might find useful, from well before the current kerfluffle, by one of the best researchers dealing with issues on the ground in Africa:

http://chrisblattman.com/2009/03/04/visible-children/

http://chrisblattman.com/2011/11/21/what-you-should-be-reading-if-you-want-to-understand-the-us-and-the-lords-resistance-army/

One of the money quotes from that second link:

quote:
My general attitude: even when the US can do little to solve a problem, I usually endorse symbolic gestures of support. Except, of course, when those gestures lead to symbolic gestures in return, like the pillaging and slaughter of villages. The fact that these risks arenít being acknowledged is not tragic. It is irresponsible, short-sighted, and wrong.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
http://chrisblattman.com/2011/11/21/what-you-should-be-reading-if-you-want-to-understand-the-us-and-the-lords-resistance-army/

One of the money quotes from that second link:

quote:
My general attitude: even when the US can do little to solve a problem, I usually endorse symbolic gestures of support. Except, of course, when those gestures lead to symbolic gestures in return, like the pillaging and slaughter of villages. The fact that these risks arenít being acknowledged is not tragic. It is irresponsible, short-sighted, and wrong.

Thank you. I just sent this to the relative who just sent me (and a bunch of other relatives) a link to the video.
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Lyrhawn
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Another interesting article from an Oxford scholar and former journalist who has spent a lot of time in Uganda

I think what bugs me the most about the Kony video going viral is the idea that catching or killing him solves the problem. Are people really just discovering child soldiers and African dysfunctionality for the first time, and do they really believe that catching this one guy is going to make the problem go away when you look at how broken Uganda is, and decades of strife that still need to be fixed?

This attention was needed 20 years ago. But now people think that buying and wearing a bracelet will solve the problem. I guess that's better than nothing, but wow, isn't it delightful that we've managed to put a price on assuaging guilt?

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coppertoe
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Can you say "easy money" for the sociopaths behind the Invisible Children (IC)? Why do I call them sociopaths? Because they know what they're doing and they know that what they're doing is scamming emotional people of their money and they do it anyway.

If you want to arrest someone, you don't need to raise money to do it. Period.

If you want to raise awareness of one man, you lobby your government officials; you don't raise money "to arrest" the bad guy and spend over a million USD traveling to make an emotional film about a guy who's been in the news (years ago--when he was in Uganda). These IC clowns want others to pay for their luxury lifestyle. Hello!

If you want to arrest Kony, first, I ask you this: Why? There are far bigger baddies out there that need catching. Larger groups of people live under worse conditions than the animist-Islamic-thinly Christian coated LRA kids did. (Note the past tense. From what I've read, Kony is a thing of the past, though the so-called "charity" is still collecting money to "arrest" him.)

The Invisible Children is a scam, folks. DON'T SEND THEM MONEY.

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Bella Bee
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Well this just seems sad and weird. I guess perhaps the pressure of everything got too much too quickly. On drugs, violent, inappropriate sexual behaviour, in only underwear is a pretty clear and classic sign of desperation. It sounds as if he's in need of some serious help, and I hope he gets it.
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BlackBlade
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He did sound very odd in interviews conducted recently.
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AchillesHeel
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If TMZ's video is genuine, that man had no underwear on. I would link but y'know, its a video of naked man slapping the pavement and screaming.
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