Kony 2012's Ripple Effect

Monday, March 12, 2012

Milton Allimadi, publisher of Black Star News, and Rosebell Kagumire, Ugandan journalist and editor at Channel 16, which reports on humanitarian conflict, discuss the hyper-viral video and its complicated implications.

A Kony 2012 Reading List: The Atlantic: The Soft Bigotry of Kony2012 | Invisible Children: Response to Criticism | BoingBoing: African Voices Respond | Christian Science Monitor: It's Fine to Watch Kony 2012 but Learn to Respect Africans | ThinkProgress: A Partial Defense of Kony 2012 | Black Star News: 10 Questions for Invisible Children | Africa is a Country: The #Kony2012 Show | Foreign Policy: Joseph Kony is Not Uganda



Rosebell Kagumire

Comments [16]

Ben from Westchester

I am concerned by the fact that a few people on your segment called KONY 2012 a "grass roots" campaign and yet your host NEVER ONCE asked the obvious question of where does their funding come from. Are we so naive that we can give airtime to an issue and organization without first asking who is behind its PR campaign?

For all of the import that we might attach to Uganda and its ongoing civil strife (which is a great thing to spend airtime on), THIS IS 2012 and PLEASE don't we know by now that the world is full of PACs and shell non-profits and such and you need to ask where something that "came from out of the blue" actually came from?

Or, to ask another way, does WNYC listen to On the Media, its own (amazing) show on this topic?

I looked at your KONY 2012 "Response to Critics" posted on the Brian Lehrer Show site. They talk a lot about how they spend money. They do not talk a lick about who is backing KONY 2012 or where their money comes from. This troubles me.

You need to ask!

Mar. 12 2012 12:03 PM

Thank you and your well-informed guests for your even-handed discussion KNOY 2012. I saw INVISIBLE CHILDREN for the first time last night, but my feelings about the video - and the movement it aims to inspire - were mixed. KONY and the LRA have been a scourge for over 20 years, during which time Ugandan (and other) citizens have been trying to cope with he havoc he's caused. A grassroots movement is needed - one which is inclusive - and bringing in young people is, as always, welcome, but INVISIBLE CHILDREN and the movement it inspires should be a conduit, not a destination. If money is raised, it should be donated to those ngos which have some agency in the area, as well as growing the KONY 2012 movement. Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First, for example, can be used as allies in the fight to rid the region of renegade warlord(s). Personally, I was also put off by the messianic posturing of the movement's leader (whose manipulative use of his five year old (!) son was appalling and disingenuous) and self-aggrandizing behavior which was, at the very least, a distraction. What this movement speaks to is the need for a more inclusive civics and human rights curriculum starting in elementary school, in which no human rights violations are ignored.

Mar. 12 2012 11:20 AM
Darren in NJ from The Garden State

Ok, go hate the messenger, but embrace the message. KONY 2012 is working.

Mar. 12 2012 11:05 AM
Sharon in Harlem

The last caller exemplified what's wrong with these type of campaigns. He actually said that his 13 year old (white, American?) daughter had a more valuable perspective than two Ugandans who have been working on this issue for years. This is the epitome of American hubris. We've made a mess of Iraq, of Afghanistan and (judging from this weekends events) many of the Americans who went to fight those wars. We are now casting eyes at Iran. As messed up as the situation is in Central Africa, those countries don't need a great white savior.

"Awareness" itself really just raises money for an organization and is not the only thing at stake. If this leads to support--even if indirect--for the Museveni regime, look for a "Museveni2022" video on a YouTube channel near you.

Mar. 12 2012 10:57 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

@Mohammed: I get your general point.
There is something about Invisible Children that smacks of good-deed-as-self-glorification. This, in the context of race and this issue, can be very counterproductive and damaging.

Mar. 12 2012 10:53 AM
h l from bkln

why would african citizens be offended? This is what is going on. Fix it. We have issues in the US too. Journalists bring it to the worlds attention. I've heard of these things before, but NONE of my friends or colleagues I spoke with knew of it or even believed me! Now a few of those friends are talking about this issue. It doesn't tarnish Africa's image. Africa is still a beautiful country, just like the US. But children should be protected no matter what.

Mar. 12 2012 10:52 AM

Can your guests talk about the perception of the Kony2012 as "the white mans burden"

Mar. 12 2012 10:52 AM
Ron Mwanaguhunga from Brooklyn

I am a Ugandan born writer and I think it is ridiculous to quibble with how young people learn about this international criminal. That they know now is good. Now we begin the process -- me, as a writer and your guests -- of getting out the precise information. That is our job now going forward.

Mar. 12 2012 10:51 AM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

@ Steve, the caller.

Thank you! I completely agree. And I had the same experience with my 15 year old daughter.

Mar. 12 2012 10:49 AM
BMcG from NYC

It seems that it is wrong if we are inactive or ignorant of significant world conflicts, but at the same time it is wrong if we try to take action without "fully" understanding these conflicts. It also seems that it is impossible to "fully" comprehend any conflict, even those that happen in the country where we live, since we will never know what we don't know. Given these observations, it seems that the solution would be for the world to become more tightly compartmentalized (so that Uganda's problems remain exclusively Uganda's problems etc.) or that we all become vastly more globally aware.

I don't think either could happen. Maybe this is as good as it gets - well-intentioned people expressing concern and attempting to resolve these issues, but perhaps creating more or worsening problems as they "move forward"?

Mar. 12 2012 10:48 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

Nothing's wrong with Invisible Children's campaign methodology. On the contrary, it has been quite effective.

The problem is with the simplistic treatment of the issue -- the shallow analysis of what is going on in Uganda and with the Acholi.

Of course, insufficient analysis and, in turn, solutioning, is the norm when it comes to The Motherland.

Mar. 12 2012 10:48 AM
Cyd Cailliarec from Montclair NJ

The Kony 2012 campaign has certainly captured the interest of high school students. My high school aged daughter and friends started a facebook group, after viewing the video last week, to discuss it. Within one day they had 10,000 in the group. What is the downside of that many young people taking an interest in something that has been happening on the other side of the world?

Mar. 12 2012 10:45 AM
Mohammed from Brooklyn

I saw the movie and was completely appalled--I still am appalled. The whole idea of this white dude who went to Africa with a camera looking for stories smacks of racism. And for him to use his happy son's images in contrast to the abused and sad African kids just goes to show that this guy went to Africa with a warped sense of the situation on the ground. Yes, Kone is evil, but his bling bling movie is not going to do anything to capture him or solve the problem--it will only make this guy rich and make Africans once again look like folks who are incapable of solving their own issues. As an African I am deeply saddened that folks like this movie maker still find a way to make themselves heroes, when the only good thing they have going for them is their whiteness and cameras.

Mar. 12 2012 10:45 AM

" How good and pleasant it would be, before God and man, to see the unification of all Africans
Marcus Garvey said it so let it be done, I know you know who you are under the sun"

Africa Unite
Bob Marley

Mar. 12 2012 10:39 AM
Mike from Westchester

"Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good." KONY 2012 for all it's flaws (what about Syria? LRA has moved to other areas. What about local voices?) is a tremendously successful awareness campaign that has speaks to a large youth audience. Instead of shutting down the conversation -- embrace it as the start of the engagement and discussion with youth about the issues, share other sources, and supporting their ability to act. Yes the issues are complex--but we who care must be encouraged not negated.

Mar. 12 2012 10:36 AM

it gives us a reason to go into Africa and spread out democracy again

Mar. 12 2012 10:33 AM

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