Invisible Children Organization activities raises questions.
Tommy Tran and Lei Fisiiahi
Donating money, spreading the word, and making Joseph Kony famous: Will this really catch Joseph Kony?
A viral video on the internet called Kony 2012, created by the nonprofit organization Invisible Children, has caught a lot of attention. The video discusses Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony and his organization the LRA ( Lord’s Resistance Army). Kony is a war criminal in Uganda who abducts children from their homes and families and turns them into child soldiers and prostitutes.According to the film Kony has no cause for these actions. In my own personal opinion I think the only reason he would do this is to probably cause chaos.
The awareness video aims to gain supporters to demand the capture of Joseph Kony by making him famous. The film has gained both praise and criticism.
I praise the film for revealing the atrocities that Kony committed and attempting to get everyone involved in helping the arrest of Kony. However some things make this movement suspicious.
Some people question Invisible Children’s funding, because the organization has millions of dollars but only spends a third of it on their direct services in Uganda, according to a tumblr blog called “Visible Children.” Invisible Children states that it spends its funding on the filmmaking, fundraising, advocacy, and transportation. People can see a statistics of the organization’s funding on their website.
The film’s director and co-founder of Invisible Children Jason Russell, has also gotten attention in the news, but not for the film. After the campaign began he couldn’t face the tough criticism. According to the Washington Post, Russell was detained on March 15, 2011, and sent to the hospital for his unusual behavior in the public. The article stated that people saw Russell vandalizing cars, making sexual gestures, and publicly masturbating in San Diego, Calif. A TMZ video shows Russell in the streets nude and slamming his hands on the sidewalk. According to KTVU News, Russell suffers from psychosis.
When I found out that Russell was detained I had doubts on the movement and thought that Invisible children was using the Kony 2012 movement as a scam. If people saw their leader act this way, then they will probably think that he/she is using drugs. When I saw interviews of ex-LRA members, they didn’t support the movement and I think the film caused them to express bad memories of the LRA. However, they did support the arrest of Kony and dismantling the LRA.
The Invisible Children organization visited Oakland High School and showed the Kony 2012 video to at least 500 students at the auditorium. The organization has addressed that Kony hasn’t been in Uganda for many years and may be in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or another African country.
At the assembly, a student asked one of the representatives of the organization if the film’s goal is to send U.S armed forces to invade Uganda’s oil reserves. One of the representatives responded to the question and stated that the armed forces are sent to foreign countries that are far from the oil. Invisible Children were also selling their products at lunchtime.
According to an Invisible Children representative their products, which include wristbands, shirts, and Kony 2012 kits. The prices range from five to twenty-five dollars. I know they’re trying to raise money, but I think the prices are a rip-off because selling a t-shirt for $20, a wristband for $5, and for the whole set for at least $25 was too much to ask for students to pay.
When I first saw the film I was deeply affected and motivated by it; however, when I did some research on the internet I found many criticisms towards the film. When I watched the film a second time at my school I didn’t feel the experience I had the first time.
I do agree in the importance of the arrest of Joseph Kony but there are a few obstacles that prevent me from giving my full support. If people want to give money to the organization, then go ahead, but first take some time to do your research.