Posts tagged Joseph Kony

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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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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“Invisible Children” Gone Viral, Who to Believe?

The Internet has been deluged about “Invisible Children” and most recently the “Kony2012” video. According to a Wall Street Journal article on March 9th, last Thursday this latest YouTube clip had 44.7 million views and over 170 related clips.  Twitter users mentioned Joseph Kony almost one million times. What and WHO are we REALLY to believe? Of course, there are many perspectives about this awful topic of child soldiers in Africa. However, I think it is very important we have a measured response and listen to those people who live in the areas of Uganda and elsewhere in Africa where Kony and his troops of the “Lord’s Resistance Army” have infiltrated.

I am no expert on any of this, it is so far removed from the clean and Spartan classrooms that I have taught in while living in Ukraine and Kazakhstan.  Jungles and military are about as far away from what I experience on an every day basis while back in Minnesota now.  Difficult to believe I’ve been home experiencing a whole year back in my home state of Minnesota since my return from Astana, Kazakhstan.  What can I do about what is happening when young children are yanked from their homes and forced by fear and intimidation to become child soldiers?

Just the other day I met a young woman in my hometown who had a pierced lip and dark makeup with her bright orange hair that was dyed unnaturally under a black stocking hat to suit her horrendous, gothic appearance. She would be a charming enough looking girl if she went natural, she seemed articulate enough.  She too had seen the Kony2012 youtube flick which has been put out by the Invisible Children guys out of California.  They are calling for military action against Kony, the infamous leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. This young gothic girl was ready to put posters up all over town to bring awareness to this situation, I know she doesn’t have the money to donate to the “cause.”

What I did NOT appreciate what the Invisible Children producers did, when I watched this one hour documentary, was to confuse the issue about WHO the good and bad guys are.  If I’m not mistaken, they wanted to make it appear that the Christians were part of the “Lord’s Resistance Army.”  Any time there was a Catholic priest talking against Kony with a large cross on his front, they carefully cropped that out.  The three California guys had a long prelude about how they were going into a dangerous place in Africa and probably were going to be killed, but they were going to find a story anyhow. They went to great lengths to show that they didn’t know what they were doing with their cameras and how naive they were about what they were getting in to. The first part of their film was entertaining but narcissistic.

Now this latest Kony2012 shows clips of the Invisible Children co-founder Jason Russell playing with his toddler. The founders of I.C. are making yet another emotional appeal for Americans to send them money to their organization so they can continue to bring awareness to this problem.  Yet there have been several people on the ground in their respective African nations who are saying there is a different view to what these well-meaning “outsiders” are producing.  All the hype of sending money to I.C. to continue this fight, well, what about the Christian pastor in Iran who was just executed for turning from his Muslim to become a Christian. Where is the outrage about that? (crickets)

David Batstone, co-founder of “Not For Sale” produced an article to what is really happening according to an African who was in Kony’s army.  Here’s another clip from Rosebell Kagumire, a Ugandan journalist who claims that things have improved over the past several years.  We, as Americans, live a very sheltered life compared to what the people in Muslim countries go through who want to be Christians or what fear Africans are living in with losing their children to these marauding bandits that have weapons.  The children they kidnap are their shields of protection. Those parents who want their missing children back, must separate Kony from his child concubines and other child soldiers who are forced to kill. These parents want their children back!!!

Yes, the producers are “Invisible Children” probably have their heart in the right place but is this Joseph Kony really the “white man’s burden” to help save Africans from themselves? But are we, as westerners, to stand helplessly by as parents lose their children and as children lose their childhood?  Why is there evil in the world? No easy answers but awareness about human trafficking can help make us love those who are close to us knowing that life is fragile, handle with prayer.

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