November 13, 2012 by Devin
I don’t normally write about Africa and charities, but today was a special case.
Earlier this year, #Kony2012 went viral. Kony, for those that do not know, is/was a rebel leader in the African country of Uganda who forcibly abducted and trained child soldiers to help his army against the government. These atrocities were absolutely awful and deserving of outrage, which is why I never felt comfortable completely delegitimizing #Kony2012 despite the many criticisms.
#Kony2012 did have many criticisms. Many did not see Kony as a threat, seeing as he had been out of commission for quite a while and quite possibly dead. The LRA had lost their stranglehold over Uganda. And furthermore many believed that capturing Kony, if he was alive, would not do any good anyways.
Some went as far as call Invisible Children a scam, basing their claims partly off their financial reports showing more money going towards awareness more than anything else.
I, personally, found the biggest criticism that could accurately be weighed against Invisible Children was naivety. I realized they believed that if enough people know something is wrong, then change will inevitably happen. However, as far as faults go, being optimistic is a good one to have. So I never really believed that Invisible Children was a scam or that the workers were anything but overtly optimistic. I always thought that they had their heart in the right place.
Now, I feel like we can test that theory.
Another atrocity is happening in Uganda, one actually put through by the Ugandan government, but because the people aren’t the innocent, but rather the outcast, not the pitied, but the disgraced, most people probably haven’t heard of it. They are being put to death for their lifestyle choices, choices that do not affect their neighbors, their friends, or their family in any grossly significant way (at least not significant enough to be put to death). I may be wrong, but I haven’t seen Invisible Children condemn this or raise awareness for this issue. Why not?
I want to challenge everyone who pushed for Kony’s capture to push against this legislation. Even if you don’t agree with their lifestyle, is this not also an atrocity that must be stopped? Even if you think that they are living in sin, should you not be outraged at this measure? Or just because you disagree with their lifestyle makes their deaths a non-issue?
I challenge Invisible Children to push against this, to make a stand, even though I know it won’t be popular. I know that many people will wonder why they are standing for these people. I know that many people will wonder why they care about these people, even though their lives and their livelihoods are at stake. If Invisible Children really does have their heart in the right place, I hope they don’t consider these actual issues.
That atrocities in question? Here they are: