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Bad guys, good guys, and the people in between

I won’t share the video that many of my fellow bloggers reacted to today. Because of its slick production value, Invisible Children’s Kony2012 campaign will get plenty of attention without a link from me.

I did attempt to watch the whole video, but I have to confess that I stopped when Invisible Children’s founder asks his 3-year-old to explain who the “bad guys” are and what daddy does, i.e. he goes after them. The simplistic narrative of heroes and villains – this, among other things, has always been a big concern with Invisible Children’s work. How well has the bad guys vs. good guys paradigm ever really served the world?

The most disturbing part of the film is an intensely emotional moment in the film when a Ugandan young man, Jacob, breaks down and the narrator (the founder) promises to help. It’s heartbreaking for me. Not only because of Jacob’s story of how much he misses his slain brother (though the intimacy of that moment makes me really wonder if we should be watching at all), but more so the founder’s inability to just “stay” with Jacob in that dark, low, hard moment.

Instead, he jumps in and assures him that he will fix it.

He can’t handle the discomfort of that situation and so makes a promise to Jacob to change his life, to alter a history-laden, deeply entrenched socio-economic-political conflict, which he at that moment presumably knows very little about. He may have been inspired to “do something,” but nothing that he or his organization can ever do will ever bring back Jacob’s brother. That may sound harsh and even cynically cruel to some, but I think it’s important to recognize that true compassion occurs when we don’t fight or dismiss sadness. The narrator’s inability to tolerate Jacob’s despair, actually lets despair win.

Watching the video really brought home this article recommended by @mindfulaidwork today, “The Importance of Sadness.” It may help explain why Invisible Children remains so popular among the public. They conjure up a horrible situation, only to let us distance ourselves from the difficult emotions it inevitably brings forth by creating a shallow sense of empowerment, that is, enabling us to believe that we can change the course of another country’s history. It’s a Hollywood blockbuster, the ultimate gaming experience, and we’re the heroes.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m unashamedly hopeful about the ability of humans to change their own situations. But the events of the Arab Spring certainly remind us that lasting change must come from within.

The Invisible Children founder’s real job in that moment was not to solve Jacob’s problem. Aid workers, do-gooders, that goes for us too. We have an immense responsibility to handle these situations with care because our presence as outsiders can and often does provide opportunities for people to tell their stories, often of suffering. It takes effort to cultivate and hone our ability to carry this burdensome, sacred role and work hard not to project or protect our feelings over another’s. But in my experience, simply “being there” can help people reconnect to their hope when it seems lost.

I am the first to say that it’s tough to do this well. I certainly don’t doubt the strength of the connection between Jacob and Invisible Children’s founder. But what the founder could have done better during his moment of inspiration was to simply acknowledge Jacob’s deep sadness and assure Jacob of his own inner strength. Ideas for change can come later. Instead, what the founder doesn’t realize is that he is pushed Jacob’s feelings away and offered him reliance on a white man to solve his problems.

For a more grounded and humble approach to outsider “advocacy” on other countries’ internal social justice issues, I recommend checking out the Africa Canada Accountability Coalition at the University of British Columbia. They provide platforms for Canadians to take a critical and thoughtful approach to advocacy in general through their “So you want to save Africa” workshops, as well as through policy recommendations for Canada’s involvement in the Great Lakes region. Currently, they are working on a research-based policy paper that will stress the social and, ultimately, economic benefits of investing in local initiatives.

Now that’s the movie I want to see.

Photo by Joop Rubens

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36 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Maddy Burns #
    1

    As a member of Invisible Children for the past seven years, I am very happy to hear your response and your thoughts as someone who opposes the interests of Invisible Children because I think that it really helps us to understand what people really think about what we do and makes us look internally into our own organization. I appreciate your opinion, and I agree. Real change cannot come unless it comes from within, from an independent people who care about the advancement of their own country. But I ask you this: how much do you truly know about what Invisible Children has done? Did you know that the radio towers that are being built in the DR Congo and Central African Republic were not thought up by “the white guy from Southern California?” In fact, these radio towers were designed by a Catholic Priest from Central East Africa who has been taking care of former child soldiers and who was tired of the fear and tired of waiting for another attack. Please look up the initiatives of Invisible Children and understand that the whole goal of Invisible Children is to create an INDEPENDENT PEOPLE. We do what we do for friendship, not for our own self fulfillment. That is the purpose of Invisible Children.

  2. 2

    Hi, and thanks for this commentary. Of course you are right that many of the moments in the film and, as a result, some of the underpinning of the work that has subsequently taken place, are cringe-makingly in appropriate and off. That’s a given to my comment. Does that mean though that the entire invisible children effort is also off as a consequence? Or that the authentic, individual motivation of what must be thousands of supporters is also off?

    I don’t think so, and I can’t help feeling that the criticisms of the specific (albeit important) details risk *obscuring* any good that will come of this. I wonder what Joseph feels about this whole initiative now? Doesn’t his view carry weight too? Or others who may be in a position to change their own lives because this has taken place?

    All I am saying is that no work is perfect, whether it is grass-roots driven or externally ‘imposed’. We have to try to see some good in what is being done and not throw everything out because of something *we* might regard as an important, even fundamental flaw.

  3. 3

    @Maddy and @Tim – You are right in pointing out that I am not fully informed about Invisible Children’s work. Here’s a first-hand perspective from a follower on Facebook: “having worked in northern Uganda during a period of the LRA’s reign of terror, i feel only slightly able to comment on this. when the founders of Invisible Children started their campaign it was by way of saying that they had “discovered” an unknown conflict. for all those who had proceeded me, that might be insulting. the war had been going on for 20 years at that point. yes, it was ignored by the international community, but it was akin to saying that north america was “discovered” by Columbus. their work did bring a lot of attention to the conflict, to their credit. it also led to a lot of young people rushing to northern Uganda to volunteer in a random way. locals their shared with me their frustrations about all the young people hanging out at the bars and local pool. i have no doubt about their sincerity, but it takes more than that to tackle a seriously embedded conflict (as Jennifer has detailed). we, as outsiders, cannot promise anything to those who have experienced more than we can imagine. we can listen (sincerely), try to muster resources to boost local capacities. and not much else. we do a disservice to a fragile community to promise, let alone offer, any more. boundaries are the key lesson here.”

  4. Michey #
    4

    It would seem that upon watching the movie that the narrator (whom you never identify as Jason Russell) has moved on to offer a solution too quickly, instead of staying in the moment with Jacob in his grief….but this is just a quick video grab of some of the footage that was filmed all those years ago and pieced together. The original long-play version does reveal the tender care that Jason extended towards Jacob in this moment of raw grief and I fail to see any point to you highlighting one small section of this 30min presentation.
    I do not believe that this is an organisation that is essentially trying to make our “white existence/behaviours” the new way of life for these beautiful African people – but we have a voice and we must use it to stop what has been allowed to continue for 26years too long. Just as we did with Hitler and all other people guilty of great crime against humanity.
    And, yes, there are a great many organisations on the ground in Uganda and her neighbouring countries already helping…I just can’t see why you must put a negative spin on a project that is only trying to do its best to make the voice of these invisible children heard and shouted from the rooftops across the globe.
    It might be simplistic in its language – but it doesn’t need to use fancy words, surely – and slick in its production (using great talent that was donated, therefore done for free!!), but surely this just helps us all to hear the message without a confusing and complicating rhetoric!!

  5. Daniel #
    5

    When you say “lasting change must come from within.” I agree. However, when the atrocities take place in a country with corrupt leaders that feed off of the atrocities and started because of tribal conflict. I don’t think letting it be what it is is what the global community should say. If you knew/researched more about IC, you’d realize that they have a holistic approach and employ 100+ Ugandans that are led by a Ugandan to provide sustainable recovery development programs. Again. I agree with your statement and I believe that IC is creating lasting change from within through local leadership. Their office in Uganda was founded by a Ugandan. Now that’s a film I’d like to watch.

  6. Vannessa Hendriksen #
    6

    Just a few things I would like to point out:

    I’ve always believed that if you have to start a statement with, “This may sound _____” or “That might have sounded ____ BUT…” it usually is exactly that. In your case, cynical. I think everything about this post was cynical. How about trying to look for the good? Not even just look for the good (because I think to most it is pretty obvious) but why look for the negative?

    You don’t want to share the link to this video, thats fine, but it would be nice to have better reason’s. The fact that he promised to help Jacob and try to comfort him in his time of sorrow is actually none of your concern. And quite frankly, you should realize this 30 minute video covers several years and they clearly can’t show every second of those years so you have no idea whether he allowed him the “proper amount” of time to be sad.

    Finally, your own personal problems with the making of this video are not bigger than the problems happening in this video.

    I was trying to do my research on this cause before donating, and if the issues you brought up are the worst of it, I will gladly do anything I can to help stop Kony.

  7. 7

    Regardless of readers’ feelings about IC’s work, I most importantly offered this as a reflection point for all people that are working outside of our own contexts. How we handle our reactions and our own emotions absolutely affects how we approach our work and how it is perceived by others. That is not cynical, that is a level of self-awareness and contextualization about my own place in making the world better after working directly with over 300 grassroots organizations in east and southern Africa over the past decade.

  8. 8

    Thought-provoking and compassionate. Learning that “true compassion occurs when we don’t fight or dismiss sadness” is a great lesson and you write about this beautifully. Thanks…

  9. Andy #
    9

    Another great post, Jennifer. I think you’re spot on. There is something of a religious fervor surrounding IC that seems to insulate it, and organizations like it, from even the most benign criticism. Thanks for being courageous enough to question the faith.

  10. Natalie #
    10

    i have also been involved with Invisible Children for MANY years & i appreciate anyone bringing up concerns and opinions like yours but i do please ask you to research what they have done because they aren’t just raging white Americans going into Northern Uganda thinking that they know better then anyone in there. They have been instilling programs that make the people independent and entrepreneurs that allow them to get on their feet by helping them create their own living, amongst other things. please look into this non-profit some more and please continue your research with objectivity.

  11. 11

    Wonderful post Jennifer! I went to a workshop on the topic of compassion and much of what you are calling for here is a show of compassion. The presenter said that to tell someone “don’t cry” comes from our own desire not to feel their pain or to feel our own pain. This “we can help” mentality essentially puts up blinders to keep us from acknowledging sadness.

    For non-profits, it *matters* how we present ourselves and the snippets of our work that we put out for publicity. IC can’t expect everyone to fully research their work before responding to the video. The video is relying on an emotional reaction.

  12. Sunny #
    12

    First, I don’t think it’s fair that you criticize a video that you barely watched.
    Second, you problem with using the term bad guys: The father was trying to make it understandable to his young child. Kony IS a bad guy. He rapes, murders, and abducts.. and forces children to kill their own families!.. you can’t really get more ‘bad guy’ than that. I mean, c’mon, are we going to sit and have a conversation about politically correct terms while this is going on?
    Third, about the “breakdown” of Jacob – there is nothing wrong with human emotion, especially from what he’s been through.

  13. eek #
    13

    Bravo for not falling in the ranks of “I’m in” and then proceeding to watch facebook pics.

    I admire people who think for themselves.

  14. 14

    I haven’t watch the video – but I’ve met enough people who are more inspired to do something than they are to listen to the world around them. If the narrator had kept his mouth shut and let the story unfold through the words and sights of others, we might be talking about Jacob’s story and not InvisibleChildren’s story here.

  15. 15

    We should all realize that most of the world, including us, are emotionally distressed, not to mention the impoverished communities we work/live in. Traumatized by all things bad,remembering our humanity will keep us whole. There is a ‘development and funding frenzy’ in motion, one that asks us to rethink/redo/self-critique on attacking ubiquitous inequality. That is always a healthy exercise for the soul!

  16. 16

    Thanks Jennifer. As usual your articulate and insightful thoughts ring so true to me. I slammed my hand down on the table and said “damn” and my husband looked at me and rolled his eyes because he has seen this before when I have read your posts. I cringed watching this movie and coincidentally stopped watching at the same moment that you did. Ok so IC has good intentions but those intentions must be based in some reflection of cultural competency, understanding of gender, inequality, respect for power structures etc. and I all I could feel when I watched this movie was discomfort at the perpetuation of victimization and our white desire to save Africa. So here I am criticizing without fully knowing what the answer to this problem is but it doesn’t help that I felt like an intruder on the exploitation of a child’s very personal and intimate moment. That just makes me feel bad.

  17. Brian #
    17

    Jennifer, I think this is an extremely well written article with some very good insight. I have watched the video and am moving forward with their message. I believe in their efforts, have secured my Kony pack, and will be a proud supporter.

    I commend you for watching this movie with a wary eye and not falling into what is often mass propaganda. I do see nothing but good intentions from your blog; but, if I may, I would like to share with you, that from an outsiders viewpoint, your article may come off as a cynical commentary.

    I felt when reading this that you are coming from a place of superiority. Your critiques and criticisms of the narrator and IC feel very judgmental. You are offering valuable insights but I feel a sense of, “what about me, I was here first,” from you and your Facebook commenter in comment #3. I would think that offering constructive criticisms, rather than criticizing in a demeaning and negative way would further our message to raise the level of human dignity in the world.

    If you look hard enough, you will find flaws in everything. What this video is trying to accomplish is noble and I believe it will have a lasting positive effect on many across our nation, especially our youth. Most importantly, I hope that they can accomplish their goal of empowering Ugandans and giving them the resources needed to capture Kony once and for all, moving forward from these atrocities to a better future.

    Doesn’t it at least feel good that our nation may be attempting to do something that doesn’t have an ulterior motive such as oil and power?

  18. Be the change you want to see in the world #
    18

    It seems that no matter what one person does, or multiple people do together, there is always someone following in their shadow, waiting to criticize and talk and get other people to agree with them. If you disagree with the way that someone is doing something, go do it a different way. Our society is convinced that people give a darn about their opinions. Truth be told, nobody does. An opinion is just that, something that is personal and only understood by you. I sincerely wish that people would just shut up and do something, it’s a saying as old as time, “actions speak louder than words”. You can blog about anything, get people to agree with you or argue with you but why waste the time? We are humans and nothing that any of us do is going to be perfect or correct in every way but if you don’t agree with something keep it to yourself and put the energy that you put into criticizing others into something productive. Those of you that feel the need to express your opinion about every little thing are the people that bring this world down. I am in no way devoted to any charity or any protest or any side of anything but when I see an opportunity to help someone who is doing what they believe is all that they can do in a situation, I want to help. I want to help anyone who is passionate about helping others and I wish that more people would look at the world in a positive light, have faith in those that do more than you ever will or become one of them. You do not have to support any certain cause but instead of taking the time to critique, go find something you do support or create something that you support. Everyone should help someone in some way and maybe we could turn this world around. There is no need to waste your time on these stupid websites; it’s not the attention you should be looking for. You can research any charity before you decide to help them out but start a personal journal where you can write down your bad feelings because some things are meant to be kept to yourself, expressing your feelings is natural but do it in a way that won’t hurt others, saying things about people, talking about something you aren’t really educated about, all of those things should not be said aloud, no matter how many of these web sites there are or how many people support them. I am not against people that disagree with any organization, especially if they are educated about it, but tell it to someone who cares and is educated as well, not to a site where any person can read it and be impacted by something that may or may not be true, there are too many people around us that do not know how to think for themselves and they don’t need people telling them what to do or what to think because they’ll listen. There is no reason to put more negativity into our already negative world.

  19. Tommy #
    19

    I watched the whole video and also found many of the scenes to be inappropriate, in particular the scene you bring up with Jacob, as well as the founder’s insistence on prominently featuring himself and his son in the video. But I would recommend that you watch the whole film, it seems a little unfair to extend your criticism based only on the first 10 min. I think most readers of your blog are very aware of the problems inherent in this production – I would be much more interested in hearing your thoughts on the good/bad of what IC promotes as its essential model, which is to create awareness amongst the public so that they may continue to pressure US congress to take further action in bringing Kony to justice. To me, the simple removal of Kony from power seems to be an obvious necessity, I know there are many more complexities, but I don’t find myself in disagreement with IC’s stated goals, simple as they may be.

  20. Judy #
    20

    I disagree with your comments, granted I respect your opinion, but I disagree with your judgment to quickly write off IC. As a mother, I related to Jason’s tactic of trying to explain this horrific situation in the world to his son. There are bad people in the world. And, it is up to the good people to fight for the rights of those oppressed. I would agree with the point of the white man having to save the black man theory….if this were a Hollywood movie. It isn’t. It is reality. Whoever acts to make a change and commit to stopping any horrific crimes should be commended and supported. Clearly, Jason makes the case that for 9 years he has tried to figure out how to take a pure heart albeit rose colored promise and make it happen. That is amazing. And that is what this world needs. One person can make a difference and Jason is clearly a determined, persevering, young man. America needs more people like that. When I became a mother it changed my view of the world forever. I may be a white woman wanting to help others, but I don’t give a damn what color the person’s skin is that I am helping. I have the means to help, therefore I should. And I will.

  21. Olivia #
    21

    In the two years of my graduate education, as I prepare to enter the development field, I am increasing aware of the responsibility we have in communicating messages of need. It’s important not just that the need is communicated, but also that in the process we are cognizant and respectful of the dignity and self of the people we are working with. The problem with IC and many other agencies/foundations/etc is that they perpetuate certain images of people or donor/recipient relationships in their media campaign… which then gets built into the structure of policy or programming.

    I understand that the general public may find this concept harder to sympathize with or unpack. But it is incredibly frustrating when I see a lack of critical thinking among my peers who will be “development professionals” someday. Your writing challenges people to rethink how they process these images and how they act on it. It takes time, it certainly took me several years and numerous encounters with other people to get where I am now. Whether people agree or not, it is incredibly important that there are voices out there who tell them there are other angles to consider and address.

    Interestingly enough, I think the Kony 2012 video has a beneficial side effect creating dialogue around these issues.

  22. 22

    Wow – all these Facebook posts and blogs – I have no idea where I will land on it all personally – I am currently undecided – (I see merit in the IC campaign but personally am worried about their involvement with the Ugandan army and their alleged atrocities) – but I do love the dialogue!

  23. Andrea #
    23

    “He can’t handle the discomfort of that situation and so makes a promise to Jacob to change his life, to alter a history-laden, deeply entrenched socio-economic-political conflict, which he at that moment presumably knows very little about. He may have been inspired to “do something,” but nothing that he or his organization can ever do will ever bring back Jacob’s brother.”

    This is not removal of sadness! This is acting with passion and love in the understanding of the sadness that was made by violent humans.

    Did you think that they thought it would bring back Jacob’s brother..that is surly not the point. The point is that needless amounts of hate and violence took his brother away.

    This is utter silliness. Who are we to say that in that moment that we would just “stay” and listen..he acted from passion. And I have been to other countries in the midst of poor, hopeless, and starving individuals and children and what do I do? I act. I made promises to CHANGE, to realign, to reconsider, not only myself first because that is what is natural but also what I can do to create ripples of awareness in others. I act out of compassion and unity and this knowing that this world and it’s people have a thread linked to them..and sometimes it needs to be stretched to fit the public’s understanding.

    For you not to consider sharing in this but instead searching for the picky parts that TRULY make no difference than you then need to go within and explore what makes you feel so. Understand that this goes DEEPER than just KONY this is a building of common compassion within all the world. I feel that those who question this should reconsider and start questioning other situations that go blindly by our view each day and leave this one at ease.

  24. 24

    “They talk about the people, but they do not trust them; and trusting the people is the indispensable precondition for revolutionary change. A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, than by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust.”
    ~Paulo Freire

    Before supporting Invisible Children’s Kony2012 campaign, please do consider (1) the lack of context and nuance, (2) invisible to whom?, (3) the dis-empowering and reductive narrative, (4) revival of the white savior, (5) the privilege of giving, and (6) the lack of Africans in leadership. Thanks to http://innovateafrica.tumblr.com/

  25. 25

    THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN 2012..

    “…the fact that certain members of the oppressor class join the oppressed in their struggle for liberation, thus moving from one pole of the contradiction to the other… Theirs is a fundamental role, and has been throughout the history of this struggle. It happens, however, that as they cease to be exploiters or indifferent spectators or simply the heirs of exploitation and move to the side of the exploited, they almost always bring with them the marks of their origin: their prejudices and their deformations, which include a lack of confidence in the people’s ability to think, to want, and to know. Accordingly, these adherents to the people’s cause constantly run the risk of falling into a type of generosity as malefic as that of the oppressors. The generosity of the oppressors is nourished by an unjust order, which must be maintained in order to justify that generosity. Our converts, on the other hand, truly desire to transform the unjust order; but because of their background they believe that they must be the executors of the transformation. They talk about the people, but they do not trust them; and trusting the people is the indispensable precondition for revolutionary change. A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, than by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust.”
    ? Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

    [KONY 2012] GOOD CAUSE WRONG MOTIVES: When the dust settles, and the adrenalin rush peaks in relation to this pesky little African romp, I hope some of the ethical implications that come to the fore, concerning the strategies employed making this film – the pervasive ‘White Man’s Burden’ narrative that runs throughout – are engaged with on a much deeper, and critically reflective level than is evident here. I would love for some of the students ‘ involved in this remarkably quixotic campaign to meet, and talk to many of the students I have worked with in the field of International Community Development, about their training, in lieu of ‘accessing the field in developing countries i.e. professional boundaries, confidentiality, and ethical considerations. It goes without saying Kony must be caught, however, as an academic working in this field for quite some time now, with a particular commitment towards forging a change in the ways the West engages with the ‘rest’ (in the global south), I have to say this initiative is full of ‘religious zeal’, but not according to accurate knowledge.

    -Dr Claudette Carr

  26. 26

    If any of you reading this only learned about Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army for the first time as a result of this latest video, that fact alone proves the need for the work being done by Invisible Children to publicize these ongoing atrocities.

    Joseph Kony and the LRA are currently attacking villages in the Republic of the Congo.

    http://www.unhcr.org/4f55f6079.html

    FF

  27. 27

    Those who colonized Africa said they were ‘civilizing’ the continent. Do-gooders who come with self-righteous savior attitudes never do any good1 If you think they do, you also agree that colonialism was a good thing. It is that simple — or you think it is not?

  28. Grace #
    28

    you all should read the info at this link which responds to many of the critiques:http://invisible.tumblr.com/

  29. Emma #
    29

    IC seems to be founded on the idea that raising huge amounts of awareness about an issue will stop it, and their budget is allocated in a way that supports this statement. With a budget of nearly 9 million dollars last year, less than 3.5 million went towards programs in Africa while the remainder went into awareness campaigns in the North (movies, products, etc). 5.5 million dollars that could have been channeled through grassroots aid organizations that understand the complexities that surround international development work was pushed instead into awareness campaigns in the North and large scale projects that have created little sustainable positive changes. Few things infuriate me more than ineffective/inefficient development work, especially in an organization that deals with donations on a scale this large. Enthusiasm and passion are great, and are the first steps that need to be taken to make change happen, but I feel that so many northerners who are moved by IC’s campaigns have misinformed enthusiasm, and very obviously do not understand what Africa truly needs: internal, sustainable, grassroots development activity. This kind of change happens on a small scale, and requires an intense understanding of the issues at hand and the people that are affected. I wish that all of ICs shortcomings were known so that more northerners would choose to donate to more reputable and efficient organizations. It’s angering! Thank you for the post.

  30. 30

    I urge to take a look at this link. http://s3.amazonaws.com/www.invisiblechildren.com/critiques.html
    It is an official statement made by Invisible Children, and they address all of the question/ concerns you may have. These should provide an accurate and more detailed explanation over the various rumours and falsehoods that have arisen over the globalisation of Kony2012. The main issue surrounding this campaign is to end a war, and we would very much like to keep it at that, and would appreciate the respect of others during this. We fully understand that some people may not want to support it and we are not forcing anyone to believe in something they don’t want to. We would like everyone else to have this same respect.

  31. 31

    Thanks for sharing your insights , as you obviously have a lot of first hand experience on the topic. While I think the cause might be a good idea, sharing or perpetuating a movement without knowing the real viewpoint, and thinking in overly simplistic terms will not solve anything. Furthermore, sometimes these kind of things will do more harm than good. I really think that the only way to find solutions to the world’s problems are through grassroots efforts empowering the communities themselves. While he is a war criminal, child soldiers are a prevalent and all too real problem worldwide. We need to go deeper and find what is causing this, because otherwise there are a million more Kony’s popping up. In El Salvador, the kids were recruited to be child soldiers and guerrilas. All they knew was war. They were given sanctuary to the United States thinking it would ” Save ” them. Well, fast forward 20 years later and there are gangs and violence a direct by product of all this.
    I talk more on these issues on charity on my post :
    http://wingeyes.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/i-dont-believe-in-charity/

  32. 32

    I’ve tried to break down my thoughts on Invisible Children and Kony 2012 in my blog. Go to the link below to check it out. I’d love your feedback,
    http://jgaynor.com/2012/03/08/i-stand-with-invisible-children/

  33. Jody Jenkins #
    33

    Where to begin.
    Plenty of people have plenty to say about this issue, and I could probably go on for hours, but I’ll focus only on one point:
    You seem to take issue with the narrator (Jason) telling Jacob, the crying boy, that he will “fix” it and “do something” instead of just consoling the boy’s despair.
    You are obviously a girl, and I mean no disrespect in saying that.
    The simple fact is that women are much more capable of consoling; it’s a motherly instinct.
    Men and hard-wired to always try to “fix” things. That goes from broken locks to broken hearts.
    Ladies, plenty of fights with your boyfriends have been because sometimes when you complain about your boss or your mother or whatever, he keeps trying to jump in with solutions because he is a fixer, when you just needed him to listen to you vent.
    Of course Jason can never bring Jacob’s brother back and he will never truly “fix” it. But don’t blame him for his nature of truly wanting to.
    Cheers
    Jody

  34. Tony #
    34

    Thanks for this post. This whole thing seems like propaganda to keep US troops in Uganda and send more arms to its military. Help the victims of war by fuelling militarism? In my view that IC’s campaign will lead to a lot more suffering — the exact opposite of what its naïve donors think. I suspect the IC founders are not so naïve, they strike me as slime.

  35. 35

    “If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.” ~Barry Lopez

  36. 36

    Jennifer, I love your last line:
    “If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.” ~Barry Lopez
    It’s so true. Being lucky enough to listen to people’s stories for the past 5 years of my life has been a privilege. If the focus of the film would have been on Jacob’s life or other children affected by the conflict, it would have given space to amplify their voices, their viewpoints and understanding of the situation. That would have been a much better advocacy tool, while also giving them space to share their stories.


41 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  22. A Ugandan reflection on the Kony 2012 campaign | Insight on Conflict 09 03 12
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  34. Se repetirá la historia de Libia en Uganda ésta vez sin la necesidad de Alqaeda :: MedellinStyle.com 04 11 12
  35. A take on #Kony2012 I wholeheartedly agree with | Newsballs 17 01 13
  36. A Ugandan reflection on Kony 2012 » Peace Direct USA 25 10 13
  37. A Ugandan reflection on Kony 2012 » Peace Direct UK 25 10 13
  38. A Ugandan reflection on Kony 2012 » Peace Direct 30 10 13
  39. You Don't Have My Vote: On Invisible Children's #Kony2012 - Urban Cusp 13 01 14
  40. PTSD is not the problem. Burnout is. | Mindfulnext 27 02 14
  41. Who Is Joseph Kony & Why Is Everyone Talking About Him? - JohnVantine.com 11 06 14

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