You have probably seen or heard about the Kony 2012 campaign. The professionally produced advertising campaign from Invisible Children has gone viral to demand that a Ugandan rebel leader, Joseph Kony, turn himself in for war crimes.
The video makes a compelling, emotional appeal based on a simplified, yet reasonably accurate history of child soldiers in Kony’s “The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Invisible Children would like the US to be more involved in bringing Joseph Kony to justice.
Let’s look at the context. As with most politics, it’s a bit complex. It gets exciting near the end, I promise.
The British established a colony in Uganda, and entrusted the Acholi tribe with the military power to keep the peace.
In 1986, Ugandan President Tito Okello, a member of the Acholi tribe was overthrown in a violent revolution by Yoweri Museveni, a corrupt Marxist dictator who quickly outlawed political opposition. Religion is also a factor: the Acholis are Catholic, and Museveni is a born-again Christian.
In Uganda, peaceful political parties and protests are illegal.
Without any ability to form an opposing political party, many Acholis initially supported Joseph Kony‘s rebellion. But Kony’s popularity failed when he began to brutally enforce his own strict version of Catholicism on his tribe to create a new government based on his interpretation of the 10 Commandments.
When his popularity dissipated, Kony turned to forced recruitments. It’s estimated that Kony’s forces have kidnapped between 60 to 100,000 children since 1986, often killing their parents in the process.
Uganda (a Catholic and born-again Christian country) has sided with South Sudan (also Christian) in their struggle for freedom against Northern Sudan (predominantly Muslim). In retaliation, Northern Sudan began funding Joseph Kony in the mid-1990′s.
Now, the war in Sudan has reached an unstable truce. After the International Criminal Court issued an indictment against Joseph Kony, Northern Sudan cut off his funding. Joseph Kony has disappeared, and is probably no longer in Uganda. Many believe he is hiding in the African bush, probably in Congo. The fact is – Kony is no longer leading an army or kidnapping child soldiers.
So, here’s the big question: Why does Invisible Children want the United States and the United Kingdom focused on a retired rebel leader, Joseph Kony, when there are still many other active child armies in other countries?
Joseph Kony has been kidnapping children since 1986 (over 26 years) why should we care now? What has changed?
In 2005, oil was discovered in Uganda. Tullow Oil has been planning to pump 200,000 barrels of oil per day, but the Marxist President Yoweri Museveni’s administration is now very unstable and reeling from bribery scandals. The political instability and existence of the Lord’s Resistance Army, has slowed the plans to produce oil.
In 2008, the United States military assisted financially and logistically during the unsuccessful Operation Lightning Thunder to stop Kony.
In May 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act that made it American policy to kill or capture Joseph Kony and to crush his rebellion.
In October 2011, Obama authorized the deployment of approximately 100 combat-equipped U.S. troops to central Africa. Their goal is to help regional forces remove Kony and senior LRA leaders from the battlefield.
JP Morgan, Chase Bank, and Exxon Mobil
Chase Bank contributed $1 million to Invisible Children to help them produce the KONY 2012 campaign, among other programs. AND JP Morgan Chase is also a major investment banker of Tullow Oil.. That’s right, the oil company that needs US military help to pump oil out of Uganda.
Exxon Mobil is now a major partner in the oil drilling operation in Uganda. JP Morgan and Chase Bank are intimately tied to Exxon Mobil through the Rockefeller family with corporate board members sharing positions in both companies.
Invisible Children Fails to Meet Standards for Charities
The Better Business Bureau has strongly criticized Invisible Children for its lack of transparency.
“I don’t understand their reluctance to provide basic information,” says H. Art Taylor, President and CEO of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. “The whole point of the effort is to shine the light of truth on a terrible atrocity, and yet they seem to be reluctant to turn that light on themselves. It’s really unfortunate.”
Only 37% of the money raised by Invisible Children goes to the communities that desperately need the money in Uganda.
Invisible Children may be a legitimate charity interested in helping the people of Uganda, but they are being used by oil companies and banks to encourage American military intervention in Uganda.
Before you donate to a cause, or even forward a video, learn about the real issues. The underlying cause of Joseph Kony’s rise to power is the Marxist President Yoweri Museveni’s ban on legitimate politcal opposition, and the support by foreign governments like Sudan. Arresting Joseph Kony may help encourage peace, but the real answer is political and economic reform inside Uganda.
Sending US military troops is not the answer to every political problem in the world.
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