3/7/12

The Ballad of the Invisible Children

What Jason Russell May Have Missed


As I am a musician whose main focus with my social media is the perpetuation of artistic development, I repeat my claim of refraining from posting real-time blogs with extended information concerning my personal political opinions or world views if they do not have direct correlation to my work or the work of my colleagues.  However, as it was several musicians who brought this particular story to my attention, so I pass it along to you, with a large dose of objectivity.  It is my goal as an artist to make a committed attempt to keep as much bias out of any information I relay to my supporters, but more importantly, I have striven and continue to strive to present at least 2 of the 3 sides to any story.  The third, of course, would be the full Truth, and that is a concept reserved for God and the Universe; with this said, here is a brief breakdown of what I've come across about Joseph Kony the Invisible Children's campaign, KONY 2012.


SIDE 1:

The Campaign.



If you were moved by this, then Mr. Russell and his team have done their job. However, I would now like you to read the following passage in its entirety, written [allegedly] by another individual doing work & taking footage of this and similar issues in the region.  It was a comment posted thru an Op-Ed Post on wrongingrights.com, a blog dedicated to the objectivity and fact-checking of keynote global and social issues and/or conflicts:

SIDE 2:

The Critics.


I have spent the last 3 years in Uganda, filming individual testimony from civilians about the war. While there is clear evidence that the L.R.A. committed gross human rights violations, the war is far more complicated than child soldiering. After all, Joseph Kony was not the original resistance to Museveni’s rise to power. The UNLA, UPDA, Alice Lakwena and others objected to rape, [torture] and murder committed by the NRM against the Acholi people in northern Uganda.
Invisible Children’s film clip on who the LRA is that they posted on their website is [a misinformed account] of the war in Uganda. While the LRA has clearly resorted to looting and violence against civilian populations, it is clear that Museveni’s objective was never to end the war in the north. When he mandated encampment (only made possible by international aid organizations) he sentenced the Acholi people to years and years of cultural and economic degradation. During the war, Museveni’s own administration issued a report that over 1,000 deaths were taking place in the camps a week. This is far more people than the LRA could abduct. In other words, people were safer in their own homes, subject to rebels than in the camps.
The disservice of IC is this… every time a group of civilians takes up arms as a reaction to political marginalization, occupation or worse, the news is manipulated to make these people out to be apolitical fanatical terrorists. In no way do i agree with violence committed by the LRA or by Museveni’s government and the LRA has been committing atrocities for too long without any purpose now. But the narrative which IC frames the conflict in is so demonizing and fantastical. The LRA was originally supported by the Acholi people. The history of Uganda since colonialism set a political stage which is far more complex than IC acknowledges.
I am hurt ICs evaluation because when we condemn any group to be beyond political reason and not worth negotiating with we are condoning violence. violence by any side is still violence. after all, most armies are just misled civilians armed and pitted against others through the language of fear.
IC is promoting a misunderstanding directly correlated to violence and I hold them responsible for the misinformation they have posted. They tell the story of the war in Uganda with a hostility that leaves no room for real peace.
If several of the names, locations, and facts are causing you to scratch your head, or better yet, go back to the video and see if you missed anything, then Morgan Kline has proved my ultimate point, and you may not have to read what I have to say.  But I hope you will.

As I've noted to Morgan Kline via their comment thread, I say now, that I firmly believe no one who has any sort of compassion for our Human Family or respect for basic Human Rights would like to "just make this story go away."  In agreeance with Russell, no child should EVER have to be subject to the sort of unconscionable acts put upon them by the LRA.  However, we, the so-called "educated" citizens of the so-named "Free World" should also not be so quick to jump on cause bandwagons without first doing complete, comprehensive, and conducive research into the encompassing information of the cause itself.  In the same way that the realm of US Politics is comparable to little more than an MTV Celebrity Death Match, due to its unnecessary viciousness and staggering lack of informed voters, so, too, are many of the campaigns led by younger generations to charge after the social ills of the rest of the planet comparable to little else besides a well-fought College debate.  We have been conditioned to be ill-equipped to handle the kind of massive full-scale operations it would take to actually deal with the entire scope of problems attached to Joseph Kony's crusade, and, sadly, the tongue-in-cheek quandary begs to be stated:

If the Kony 2012 Viral Media campaign succeeds in both bringing full worldwide awareness to the issue and bringing Joseph Kony to stand trial for his War Crimes against Uganda & neighboring regions, what happens next?

It has been the experience of this young man, having admittedly only seen a 1/4 century of the World's history firsthand, that Euro-American demographics have an egregious case of socio-political amnesia with stories like these, ready to flit to the next righteous cause without making use of one of our most important (and most neglected) tools for permanent social change: FOLLOW-UP.

Would I be surprised, then, if after the hypothetical success of this venture, to hear of post-KONY2012 atrocities occurring in Uganda, as a backlash to Euro-American militaristic involvement in the region, and worse yet, a complete disregard by the citizens of the "Free World" to stop it, simply because there was no viral video or flashy media to drum up support for the cause?

If 'post-war' Iraq & Afghanistan are any indication of how natives tend to respond to the Euro-American occupation and democratization of their countries, then it seems we have a much larger problem on our hands than any instructional Vimeo clip can provide.

I'm not saying that we should do nothing.  This is not what I'm saying.  What I am saying is that we need to do more in the areas of finding out what exactly is going on before we go around wearing slogan T-shirts, covering civic structures with trendy posters, and wielding our ideas (and artillery) in places where the internal situations run far deeper than many of us would ever care to explore, even with the best intentions in hand.

Consider this analogy: Chipping a treacherous iceberg with a pick-axe may make some headway in breaking it up, and who knows?  It may end up doing the job.

I'd prefer to research a way to heat the water and be rid of it completely so I didn't have to worry about it anymore.  The key word is research.

2 comments:

  1. we should make t-shirts that say learn about Uganda b4 you try to save it...I agree with you totally. the revolution that is televised or digititized is bastardized. we must make sure the revloution is internalized so we can truly do the work thats needed to assess and address issues in a truly comprehensive manner.

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