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Since Monday, more than 21m people have viewed this film — made by an American charity called Invisible Children — about the plight of children in Uganda at the hands of the warlord Joseph Konythe leader of the Lords Resistance Army LRA guerilla group. His group is said to have abducted 60, children. With its slick Hollywood production values, the film has been an almost instant viral success, dominating Twitter worldwide and having konyv: 2312 of the fastest ever take-offs on You Tube.
The hashtag stopkony has had hundreds of thousands of tweets, and millions of people now know something about Uganda and what is happening to children there. Support for the campaign to end the conflict in the country this year is spreading. We've reported on the video here :. Kony stands accused of overseeing the systematic kidnapping of countless African children, brainwashing the boys into fighting for him, turning the girls into sex slaves and killing those who 2312 comply.
His forces are believed to have slaughtered tens of thousands of people and are known for hacking the lips off their victims. Kony has been wanted by the international criminal court since on charges that include crimes against humanity. He has been living in the bush outside Uganda since that time. In October, the president deployed combat-equipped troops — mostly special operations forces — to Uganda to advise regional military units in capturing or killing Kony.
But it has konyv: 2312 attracted criticism: there are questions about the charity's funding, its targeting of US leaders 2312 of African leaders to instigate change, and accusations that it is failing to criticise the Ugandan government, with its poor human rights record.
This Tumblr page is collecting criticism of the project and this blog sums up a lot of the questions. This morning, Invisible Children issued konyv: detailed response to the criticism here. We want, with your help, to investigate this further. Our principle approach is to attempt to gather views from Uganda about whether this film is the right way to go about campaigning on the issue.
I'm going to be working with John Vidal, our environment editor, who has travelled extensively in the region and is on the phone now to his contacts konyv: 2312. Do you have any relevant information? Get in touch below the line, tweet pollycurtis or email me at polly. He writes:. It would be great to get rid of Kony. He and his forces have left abductions and mass murder in their wake for over 20 years. It does not have have 30, or 60, child soldiers.
The figure of 30, refers to the total number of children abducted by the LRA over nearly 30 years. It also makes konyv: point that there is currently no threat to remove the US advisers who are working with the Uganda government to track down the army — Invisible Children's key aim is to force the US government to keep them there.
I'm posting a taster below, partly in response to the reader who has just emailed konyv: saying: "I am a mum in Devon with three kids, just about to run six miles for Sports Relief, please get behind this. Hollywood slick, who cares, support the kids — raise awareness and then start the criticism.
It is a simple message which my year-old son sent to me — Hollywood or not, it works! Maybe Jason Russell's web-based film Konycalling for international action to stop the Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony, can't be considered great documentary-making. But as a piece of digital polemic and digital activism, it is quite simply brilliant. It's a slick, high-gloss piece of work, distributed on the Vimeo site, the upscale version of YouTube for serious film-makers.
And its sensational, exponential popularity growth on the web is already achieving one of its stated objectives: to make Kony famous, to publicise this psychopathic warlord's grotesque crimes — kidnapping thousands of children and turning them into mercenaries, butchers and rapists. It does not stick to the conventions of 2312 journalism konyv: 2312 the Konyv: 2312 style. It is partisan, tactless and very bold. But it could be seen as insufferably condescending, a way of making US college kids feel good about themselves.
And is Jason Konyv: scared to come out and admit that effective action entails an old-fashioned boots-on-soil invasion of a landlocked African country, with all the collateral damage that this implies? Konyv: 2312 describes the NGO forum as independent of the government. We had a long conversation but, to be clear, he hasn't at this point seen the film though he konyv: 2312 know about Invisible Children and its work in Uganda.
From what I know about Invisible Children, it's an international NGO, and it documents the lives of children living in conflict for international campaigning to draw attention to the lives of children in the north. Six or 10 years ago, this would have been a really effective campaign strategy to get international campaigning. But today, years after Kony has moved away from Uganda, I think campaigning that appeals to these emotions … I'm not sure that's effective for now.
The circumstances in the north have changed. Many NGOs and the government, especially local government in the north, are about rebuilding and securing lives for children, in education, sanitation, health and livelihoods. International campaigning that doesn't support this agenda is not so useful at this point. We have moved beyond that. There are conflicts in the north — several small conflicts over natural resources.
Land is the major issue: after many years of displacement, there is quite a bit of land-related conflict. But many organisations and governments are focusing on this. We need to secure social stability, health and education. These are the priorities. This is what we're trying to focus on. Poverty is high compared to the rest of konyv: 2312 country.
That's the practical issue that needs to be addressed. I don't think this is the best way. It might be an appeal that makes sense in America. But there are more fundamental konyv: 2312. Kony has been around for 25 years and over. I don't think in the north at the moment that is really what is most important. It might be best on 2312 internet and konyv: 2312 like but, at the end of the day, there are more pressing things to deal with.
If the Americans had wanted to arrest him, they would have done that a long time ago. They [Invisible Children] are not a member of our forum. Many international organisations prefer to work and have konyv: 2312 contact with their quarters.
They don't work so much within the structures we have in the country. There is nothing dramatic about them. They are like any other organisation trying to make a difference. Konyv: 2312 the moment I think the work of Invisible Children is about appealing to people's emotions.
I think that time has passed. Their reputation in the country is something that can be debatable. There is a strong argument generally about NGOs and their work in the north. It doesn't sound like a fair representation of Uganda. We have challenges within the country, but certainly the perception of a country at war is not accurate at all.
There are political, economic and social challenges, but they are complex. Being dramatic about a country at "konyv: 2312" is not accurate. If the international media want to be helpful especially for the conflict situation, they should exert more time and effort understanding practically what the needs are. It is fast-changing. The video would have been appealing in the last decade. Now we just need support for the recovery rather than all this international attention on this one point.
Getting the facts right 2312 most important for the international media. That would help the situation as it is. These stats from YouTube show how it has taken off since Monday, where it's konyv: 2312 watched and the age profile of those watching.
He's been talking to our foreign desk and has just sent this as an addition:. One salient issue the film totally misses is that the actual geography of today's LRA operations is related to a potentially troubling "resource war". SinceUganda discovered world class oil fields along its border with DRC.
The location of konyv: 2312 oil fields has raised the stakes for the Ugandan military and its regional partners, including the US. While LRA is seen as a mindless evil force, its deceased deputy leader, Vincent Otii, told me once that their fight with President Yoweri Museveni was about "money and oil". This context is relevant because it allows for outsiders to view konyv: LRA issue more objectively within the recent history of violence in the wider region that includes konyv: great Central Africa wars of the 90s, in which groups like LRA were pawns for proxy wars between countries.
In LRA's case, its main support came from the Sudanese government in Khartoum and many suspect it still maintains the patronage of Omar el-Bashir, the country's president, himself indicted for war crimes by the ICC. A reader has emailed in pointing us towards this Facebook page: PhonyKony Uglyflubb and others have been providing some information about the funding of Invisible Children below the line. John Vidal has been looking into this. They call themselves "a movement" seeking to end the conflict in Uganda and stop the abduction of children for use as child soldiers, but behind the slick website and the touchy-feely talk about "changing the course of human history", there's a hard-nosed money-making operation konyv: 2312 by US filmmakers and accountants, commuication experts, lobbyists and salespeople.
So far the organisation has released 11 films and run film tours across the US konyv: other countries to raise awareness. In Uganda, it has given scholarships to children, and helped to re-build schools there and in 2312 Africa. The organisation's accounts show it's a cash rich operation, which more than tripled its income inwith more than two thirds of its money 2312 from "general donations".
The great majority of the money raised has been spent in the US. Charity Navigator, a US charity evaluator, gives Invisible Children three out of four stars overall, four stars financially, but only two stars for "accountability and transparency". This would seem to be a vote of no confidence, but it is explained by Noelle Jouglet, konyv: 2312 director of Invisible Children, like this:. We are currently in the process of interviewing potential board members, and our goal is to add an additional independent member this year in order to regain our 4-star rating by We are aware of this and trying to fix it.
Despite all the global attention, public pressure and anger, Kony is still a free man operating from within the jungles of Africa. Kony has been Africa's most notorious warlord for three decades. Now that the 2312 States and others are ending the international manhunt for him and his Lord's Resistance Army, it appears Konyv: 2312 may never be brought to justice.
Kony is now estimated to be around 58 years 2312. He was born to a Catholic father and Anglican mother and spent part of his childhood as an altar boy before dropping out of school around age State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Fox News. The LRA reportedly continued to recruit and use child soldiers. Inthen-President George W.
Bush directed the U. InPresident Barack Obama reinvigorated the effort by bolstering the number of U. State Department — but to no avail. Then in Aprilthe joint operation between the U. That is not to say that the group cannot still be dangerous. Troops from the Central African Republic stand guard in April at a building used for joint meetings between them and U. AA rebel in charge of communications for warlord Joseph Kony has surrendered to Ugandan forces, the military said on March 30,shortly after the U.
Victoria Nyanjura was one of those girls whose childhood and innocence was ripped from her in a horrific miscarriage of justice. She remembers everything about that night. The way the calm and stillness of Oct. She was dragged off konyv: 2312 the darkness and tied up so that konyv: 2312 could not run.
You have no consent. When you are abducted, you have no voice. But soon cradling two newborn babies of her own, Nyanjura knew she needed to keep fighting for their lives — and it was her faith that propelled her konyv:. Nyanjura finally found a chance to escape on foot, running through the thickets konyv: 2312 shielding her tiny children from the heavy rains with her scarf for days that stretched on and on. When she made it to the safety of a camp, she was then forced to confront the stigma and the gaping internal wounds of her time under Kony's command that may never fully heal.
She is now 38 and, in addition to supporting other survivors, completing a master's degree in global affairs with a concentration in international peace studies "konyv: 2312" Notre Dame. I try running in the dream, but they are holding me. What I have gone through I can never get out of my mind.
The LRA's reign of terror led hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes as bullets and mortar fire rained down on what little they possessed. Body parts and facial features were hacked off, and bones were left to pile up and rot under the scorching sun. These brainwashed child soldiers were fearless and had nothing to lose. The Obama administration said in January that it has taken into custody a man claiming to be Dominic Ongwen, a top member konyv: Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, after the man surrendered to U.
The militia thrived under the veil of protection at bases inside Sudan, where they received support from dictator Omar al-Bashir as the Ugandan forces launched cross-border attacks in their quest to defeat the guerrilla group. InKony was indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague on 21 charges of war crimes and a further 12 for crimes against humanity.
The case against him is open, as is the Interpol red notice, which was launched the following year. Kony, as underscored by several sources, is now purported to be running his militia, which official estimates say is comprised of few more than a hundred fighters, from Sudan-controlled territory in Kafia Kingi.
According to one Western intelligence source that covers the region, Kony is believed to have been struck down with severe health concerns around a year ago — likely suffering from sexually transmitted infections. He allegedly sought treatment in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.
That said, it's now not as powerful as some other groups. A representative for Invisible Children, the nonprofit behind the short film, emphasized that although Kony no longer hits the headlines, the LRA poses a daily threat to locals, and funding to help victims has largely dried up. Kenyan officials display some of more than 1, pieces of illegal ivory found hidden inside bags of sesame seeds in freight traveling from Uganda, in Kenya's major port city of Mombasa, Kenya, on Oct.
Warlord Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army rebel group is increasingly trafficking in ivory and minerals to obtain weapons and other konyv: to be konyv: 2312 in the jungles of central Africa, watchdog groups said in a report released in Several other U. Despite his ongoing elusiveness, a U. The State Department also utilizes U. Agency for International Development programming in the region for communities in recovery, funding efforts centered on trauma healing and community-based reintegration activities and crisis monitoring.
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