Posts tagged child soldiers

Where are the “Invisible Children” now? (Part II)

The following is a continuation of what Riho wrote for her last assignment in my Composition I class.  She worked very hard to find the right information.  I was very proud of her because she is from Japan and the only one on our campus, she is outnumbered by the large group of Koreans and Chinese.  Yes, she is Asian but she is invisible in her nationality amongst them. I’m not sure why she gravitated to this topic about “Invisible Children” but maybe she could relate in a small way to not being recognized as the lone Japanese girl on our campus.

 “A new video which was created by Invisible Children came out on March 5th in 2012. The film is called Kony 2012 and explains about Kony’s and LRA’s crimes toward children in conflicts by Jason Russell and calls for saving the children in conflicts. The film made a huge impact to the society. In the video, Jason tells his young son who Kony is by using simple words. Even though his story is not complicated and easy as much as a five year old boy can understand, it tells us the atrocity of child soldiers in 30 minutes. I could feel Jason’s seriousness of this issue by seeing Jason telling his child the reality. Jason’s major purpose for the video was to make many people recognize Kony’s face, and now many people who watched Kony 2012 can recognize his face and know the bad things he is doing. The video was seen by many people immediately after it was launched. “By the end of the first week, more than 112 million people had seen Kony 2012-about the same number who watch the Super Bowl every year” (Suddath, 2012). Many people who felt sad and sorry for the children, started a movement against LRA, and gave donations to Invisible Children in order to help the kids. Many celebrities also shared the facts by using the social network service to get the public’s attentions toward the poor kids. Invisible Children states Kony was the number nine most searched person on Google in 2012. Thus, the video moved the viewers.

However, the stories which are explained in Kony 2012 are lacking in creditability. “The video is charged with making mistakes and oversimplifying a complicated issue” (Hughes, 2012). In the video Jason explains Kony is in Uganda and has more than 30,000 child soldiers who were abducted. However, Kony has not been seen for more than six years, so no one knows if he is still in Uganda. In addition, the number of children Joseph showed is exaggerated. That is because 30,000 is the number estimated for the total of killed children because of the conflicts lasted over 20 years in the country. It cannot be the truth that LRA are having the number of children. Thus, some of the information is old, not true, or exaggerated, but they told us as if these are true and really happening. Then, a lot of people trusted the stories without any doubt. According to Alex Miller, Invisible Children got more than 10 million dollars of contributions by the video. Pickett (2012) explained that even though “Invisible Children” took near 14 million dollars in 2011, only 3.3 million dollars actually went to programs in Central Africa. They used the rest of the money for marketing, management, expenses, and products. Therefore, most of the money people donated to help after watching Kony 2012 might not be used for the children but for the organization. They took a lot of money from people who were trying to help children in conflicts by showing the video of children suffering. The act must not be forgiven.  In addition, 10 days after the video was released, Jason was reported with his strange behavior. He ran out naked into the street and screamed. He changed to a crazy person from the leader of saving child soldiers, so now it is difficult to trust him and the organization led by him. Thus, people should not have trusted them easily until they got enough information and creditability to decide to help the group.

On the other hand, “Invisible Children” still call for the support and donation even after these facts came up. The purposes for their activities are still to help children who are involved in conflicts in Africa, to end the actions of LRA, and to arrest Joseph Kony. They say they will not stop the movement until they move Joseph Kony out of the way. According to “Invisible Children” website, Congress passed a bill with 45 million dollars to help arrest Kony. Obama signed the budget legislation to support efforts to locate and arrest top LRA leaders. LRA killings had decreased 67 percent in the last year, and two of five top LRA commanders are off the battle fields because of their activities. By showing these facts they are trying to prove Invisible Children is motivated to make a peaceful world, and their campaign actually moved the President of the United States. In addition, even though the amount is smaller than we expect, some of the donations are actually used to help the African children. The organization Invisible Children are trying to justify their actions for child soldiers even though their creditability is suspected because of the earlier lies they made. Thus, they are suspected of manipulating the power of media and still getting support from some gullible people.

We get a lot of information from the media every day from TV, newspapers, Internet, and magazines. Even our friends and families tell us a lot of information which they get from the media. Therefore, it is almost impossible not to get information from the media. According to my survey, 66.7 percent of people admitted that they have experienced being fooled by the media, but still 41.7 percent of people sometimes and 33.3 percent of people almost always believe the information which is told by the media. The data shows media has a big influence. In conclusion, even though Invisible Children succeeded to move a lot of sympathetic people and the President of this country, the fact that they fooled the receivers of their information cannot be changed. They defrauded sympathetic people of donations for their benefit and lost their trust. The inappropriate action should not be acclaimed even though it made a huge progress for helping child soldiers. People who use media can get not only a lot of money but also a lot of people’s sympathy even by telling untruth. The media could be very useful to share the true story, to tell information to many people, and to call for activities, but the media could be very dangerous because it spreads anything to the whole world quickly. We could make huge changes to the society by our movement, so we should have responsibility to check the facts. In order to avoid letting this bias happen again, the media should build accountability for their information, and receivers should pay more attention to the creditability of the information which they are told.

References

Cadwalladr, C. (2013, March) Jason Russell: Kony2012 and the fight for truth. Retrieved from the Guardian website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/03/jason-russell-kony-2012-interview

Hughes, L. (2012). Invisible Children and the Hypocrisy of the Media. Canadian Dimension, 46(3), 56. Retrieved from EBSCO

Invisible Children. (n.d.). Programs. Retrieved April 17, 2013 from: http://invisiblechildren.com/program/defection-fliers/

Pickett, I. (2012, March 9). Is Invisible Children And Kony 2012 Using Children To Rip You Off?. Retrieved from CBS website: http://tampa.cbslocal.com/2012/03/09/is-invisible-children-and-kony-2012-using-children-to-rip-you-off/

Russell, J. (2012, March 5). Kony 2012 [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc

Russell, J. , Bailey, Bobby & Poole, Laren (August 26, 2006). Invisible Children: Rough Cut [Video firm]. Retrieved from http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/invisible-children/

Suddath, C. (2012). Guerrilla Marketing. Bloomberg Businessweek, (4294), 68-72. Retrieved from EBSCO

Swartz, L. (2012). Invisible Children: Transmedia, Storytelling, Mobilization. Working Paper, March 11. Retrieved from Google Scholar

UNICEF. (n.d.). The facts. Retrieved from Factsheet: Child Soldiers website: http://www.unicef.org/emerg/files/childsoldiers.pdf

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Where are the “Invisible Children” now?

The following research paper was written by a Japanese student named Riho. She did a GREAT job in working on this paper about child soldiers and what the organization did with the money that was donated to them, intended for the “Invisible Children” in Africa.  Riho is an accounting major and so this is fitting that she would try to find out more about how they distributed the money, but she was concerned about how they played on peoples’ emotions to get the money to come in.

Invisible Lies to the Public

“The media has huge powers which influence our daily lives. Many people believe the information which is told via social media, and we change our emotion toward the facts, such as becoming sad, happy, confused, and anxious because of the information. In addition, the information could change our behavior. For example, some people decide to donate money and do charity after they are told about the poor children who do not have enough food and are in need of help because the report raises people’s sympathy. Most people just accept the information and do not try to check the credibility of the sources even though many troubles about the reliability of the media have been unveiled. The media can get not only people’s attention and sympathy but also their money and charity by using inappropriate information, so the information could cause a huge impact to our society. Therefore, we need to require media to share the right information and check the sincerity of the facts in order to avoid being swayed by false information. Jason Russell, who is the leader of Invisible Children, is the one of the people who used the media in improper ways. He became a big liar from the leader of a charity organization because of the influence of media. Even though the media is powerful, like the organization Invisible Children which tried to help child soldiers by raising awareness and money, sympathetic people should be told the truth because organizations can lose creditability by misrepresenting the facts and gaining a lot of money quickly with no accountability.

According to UNICEF, approximately 300,000 children who are under age 18 are involved in conflicts in the world. Joseph Kony is the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RLA). The group abducts children and uses them as child soldiers. The children are forced to torture their friends, family, and innocent people. According to Cadwalladr (2013), the group abducted more than 30,000 children and turned them into child soldiers and sex slaves. The facts affect the children’s physical health, mental health, education, and human rights. Therefore, Invisible Children was founded to help these kids. “Invisible Children is a non-profit founded in 2005 by friends Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey, and Laren Poole. Its mission is to use film, creativity, and social action to end the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s rebel war and restore LRA-affected communities in central Africa to peace and prosperity” (Swartz, 2012).

I got a survey from 17 people. About 94 percent of people disagree with having child soldiers. One of the people surveyed thinks that children decide to become soldiers by themselves because of the food and money which are provided by military groups. However, the truth is most of child soldiers were forced to join military teams regardless of their wishes. I also asked them if they know Invisible Children. About 18 percent of the people know the organization, and a person recognizes Invisible Children as “Very unfortunate kids of Uganda that were being used as child soldiers because they didn’t have a place to live, food to eat or parents to protect them. Some children were used as sex slaves.” The main activities of this group are to make people aware of the reality of child soldiers and to tell people who Joseph Kony is and his crimes.

Many people are not interested in this issue because they are not familiar with child soldiers. Therefore, the founders of the organization Invisible Children are trying to make the public aware of the fact by using the power of media and handing out flyers. In the movie Invisible Children: Rough Cut, Jason and his friends actually went to Africa and met some children who were forced to be soldiers. The interview of a child whose name is Jacob had a great impact on me. He saw his brother was being killed by a member of LRA. He said if he could chose to be alive or dead, he would like to die rather than living on the Earth. The words show how hard experience he is going through. Invisible Children also collect donations in their activities. They use the money to create films which inspire global action, to mobilize teams to end LRA atrocities, to protect communities from LRA attacks, and to help former child soldiers recover from the effect of military events.”

(to be continued)

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Students’ Perspectives on Human Trafficking

SunriseI realize I haven’t written much lately on this blog.  Gardening, spring cleaning, writing newspaper articles, the list is endless concerning what has distracted me from blogging more. Clearly I am not living in Kazakhstan anymore so I can’t write too much about Kazakh students. However, I am still working with Asian students so I feel right at home in my own hometown in Minnesota.  I will get more on track with writing during this summer in anticipation of next fall and teaching incoming freshmen students.

For now, here are the perspectives from my last class on an assignment I gave them about human trafficking. Most of these are Korean students from my Comp I class, some have English names which helps me as their teacher to call on them in class.

Perspectives on Human trafficking Assignment

Marcus – The thing I liked most about writing this paper was learning a completely new topic that I did not know before. I was never fully aware of the conflicts of human trafficking until I researched my topic of human sex trafficking.  The thing I liked most about this paper was that it built my perspective on life and how we should appreciate the things we take for granted. There are many people in this world that deal with daily struggles that we cannot even fathom. From this I am motivated to better myself so I can in return help others in the future.

Ju Young – Actually I like the most about Human Trafficking issue. I have heard about it before but I didn’t know exactly what the Human Trafficking is and how it is severe recent days. After I finished my Paper#3, I had a lots of chance to think about human trafficking and I tried to help them by UNICEF by monthly donation for an Indian girl ( I can’t remember her name..). Above all now I have lots of thinking about human trafficking and maybe in the future, I will help them and I would say that my helping is from the writing of this assignment.

I think I have learned about this paper is how humans are worthy. Sometimes I thought that my life is sad and why I am in the hard society? Such as hard to entering school in Korea, I have to go to military. But after I did my paper on human trafficking, my thinking was totally changing. I was surprised at too much people are struggling with their tough life and they need a lot of help from me and us. From the doing this paper,  Not only for changing my life and thinking, but I have a broaden sight for looking around me and helping them.

Hayden – Human trafficking is rather quite disturbing topic. Child soliders was my topic and through my research, I found out there are so many children who are in need of help. What I liked about this assignment is that I was glad to see that, around the world, there are people who are trying to reach out their hands to those forsaken children and strive to aid them. Basically, what I learned from writing this paper is that there are children who need help so much and the dark side of the world is just abhorring.

Janet – In this paper, I really like researching about the topic. Since I have been interested in human issues such as human trafficking. So, I really enjoyed researching about this topic. For me, I love the topic- online child pornography-in this paper. During the last topic of human trafficking issue, I really have interested in this issue. So, I choose this topic.

Calvin – Researching and finding information on the topic was not so much fun but informative and I enjoyed that part of the paper.  The troubles of others are unimaginable to those who don’t seek the truth.

Joe – Actually, this topic about human trafficking was too difficult for me to write. The topic was touchy one. However I learned about prostitution especially Asian prostitution more.

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Let’s make Joseph (Stalin) Infamous!!!

I’m still bothered by the hype created by the Kony 2012 people. So Joseph Kony has been marauding and pillaging for 26 years and tragically altered the lives of 30,000 children and their families. What about what Joseph Stalin did for 30 years in the USSR, what about the millions who were starved to death in the 1930s in Ukraine?  Why is it so much easier to turn Americans heads to something that is going on in the jungles of Africa?  With all the historical literature, police records and archival evidence at our disposal about the atrocities of the gulag in Russia and specifically the karlag system in Kazakhstan, why the silence?

These very same people who are lobbying, want our U.S. military to go and save the African children who are kidnapped. Aren’t they the same people who were against President George Bush who wanted to get Hussein out of Iraq and tried for war crimes and capture bin Laden for 9/11? Didn’t we deploy our military to those countries?  Apparently this is different. We are supposedly only going to send 100 “advisors” to be on the ground.  That’s how Vietnam started.  Okay, so now as of December 2011, Joseph Kony has been served notice he is the top most wanted man according to the I.C.C.

What’s this latest thing with George Clooney being arrested today in front of the Sudan embassy in Washington D.C? He is NOT one of my favorite actors (“Perfect Storm” was the last bomb I watched of him though he was funny in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”)  Does Clooney know something about Joseph Kony moving back from Uganda into the very place where he was armed by the Muslim leadership in the north to shoot and kill the Christian population in southern Sudan?  I guess the American media and publicity will shed light on what is going on right now so the killing and kidnapping can stop. YES, I am all for Joseph Kony being stopped.

However, more energy should be exerted in our school systems to know the atrocities that Joseph Stalin committed and make him infamous.  He was far, far worse than Hitler but the academic community is silent on that score, why?  Instead of making Joseph Kony famous, let’s make Joseph Stalin infamous.  The youthful enthusiasm going into this during election year has me greatly puzzled.  April 20th will be the big night out for people to demonstrate their feelings about Kony.  What if Kony is captured and killed before then?  That would be a little bit of a bummer for the organizers, right?

To me, this is too well orchestrated…too sinister on many levels. I hope I am wrong about the Invisible Children founders.  Gavin Russell certainly is a cute little boy who could tell the bad guy (Joseph Kony) from the good guy Jacob who lost his brother to the L.R.A. Gavin’s father is doing what he can for justice.  However, I’m reminded of the verse from Micah:

“He has shown you, O man, what is good;

And what does the Lord require of you

But to do justly,

To love mercy,

And to walk humbly with your God?”

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