The Kony Controversy
This past week Invisible Children launched their latest campaign, Kony 2012. At this moment, the Kony 2012 video has been viewed 56,647,137 times on YouTube after the 30-minute documentary went viral, taking over social media and catching the attention of big-name celebrities.
Invisible Children leader and filmmaker Jason Russell initiated a call for action against warlord Joseph Kony, who is the guerilla group leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. The video states that Kony thrives on a sense of fear and terror from the Ugandan villagers, forces young girls to be sex slaves, forces children to kill their parents and mutilate the faces of thousands of people and then join his army of 30,000 child soldiers.
Former president of the UC Irvine Invisible Children Club, Kevin Wilkinson has been involved with Invisible Children for six years and has taken part in every campaign they’ve put on since their launch, and has traveled to Washington D.C. to help talk to congressmen about the United States’ involvement in ending the Kony conflict.
Wilkinson truly believes that Invisible Children has the best interest at heart for Uganda, its children and what may come of the Joseph Kony aftermath.
“I’ve seen it with my own eyes,” Wilkinson said. “Their planning teams painstakingly decide what course of action is best and how can they achieve it in Africa. So much has already changed in Uganda because of Invisible Children’s involvement with this conflict.”
The video, however, is now the center of controversy because some people think that Invisible Children is not sending enough funds toward Uganda efforts and is spending more on salaries and travel expenses. A blog on tumblr titled “Visible Children” is one popular social networking page that argues against Invisible Children’s motives in the Kony 2012 campaign.
“I’m talking about the amount of money that Invisible Children spends on active aid, as opposed to advocacy,” said Visible Children blogger Grant Oyston. “I understand that their mission is largely focused on advocacy — my question is whether this is what’s best at this point in the conflict.
“Given that the LRA is arguably on the decline, I wondered if spending hundreds of thousands on a polished awareness campaign was the best option, and if this money could be better spent in direct aid to victims, of whom there are many.”
“Critique is one of the finer parts of a discussion. I am all for other ideas on how to handle situations, and so is Invisible Children,” Wilkinson said in response to the Kony 2012 controversy.
“But blatant misrepresentation of Invisible Children or attacking them for the way they approach things shouldn’t be accepted. In my opinion, this is what the Visible Children tumblr page was. It does no good to anyone and doesn’t help the issue here that we all can agree is terrible.”