Kony of Silence

By DeusExMacintosh

Shooting Kony Fail

 

The Kony 2012 Cover the Night campaign woke up to awkward questions on Saturday after activists failed to blanket cities with posters of the wanted Ugandan warlord, Joseph Kony.

The movement’s phenomenal success in mobilising young people online, following last month’s launch of a 29-minute documentary which went viral, flopped in trying to turn that into real world actions.

The campaign aimed to plaster “every city, on every block” around the world with posters, stickers and murals of Kony to pressure governments into hunting down the guerrilla leader, who has waged a brutal, decades-long insurgency in central Africa.

But paltry turnouts on Friday at locations across north America, Europe and Australia left cities largely unplastered and the movement’s credibility damaged. “What happened to all the fuss about Kony?” said one typical tweet. “Kony is so last month,” said another…

The campaign also tanked on twitter. “Find the silence around #Kony’12 interesting. It’s muted embarrassment from prior supporters, mixed with quiet smugness from detractors,” said one tweet.

The Guardian

The Guardian also reported the Ugandan response to the stunt…

“This Invisible Children campaign hurts. It’s offensive,” says Victor Ochen, founder and director of the African Youth Initiative Network (Ayinet) that works to rehabilitate victims of violence perpetrated by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). “The people who have suffered at the hands of Kony don’t want to promote him or make him famous. They want to rebuild their lives.”

As supporters of Invisible Children’s campaign prepared for the its Cover the Night stunt on Friday night – putting up wanted posters in cities across the US and elsewhere – the organisation faced more criticism from LRA victims in northern Uganda for oversimplifying the complex history of conflict in the region, for failing to clearly state that the LRA are no longer a threat there and for advocating a military solution to the problem.

“We get the feeling that Invisible Children care more about their videos than about victims,” said Ochen, who was born and raised in Lira District, an area severely affected by the conflict. “Part of that comes from their choice of date for this event. Why 20 April? Don’t they know or care that this is the anniversary of one of the worst LRA massacres, when over 300 people were killed at Atiak in 2005?

“This is a day when communities are trying to heal broken hearts, but Invisible Children want to plaster Kony’s face everywhere,” he continued. “People in the affected areas find it very difficult when an organisation encourages people to wear T-shirts bearing Kony’s face. How do you think Americans would have reacted if people in another country wore Osama Bin Laden T-shirts? All of this just confirms to us that they do not care about the victims and ignore their suffering.”…

“The other concern victims have is Invisible Children’s support for a military solution to the LRA problem,” says Ochen, whose brother was abducted by the LRA in 2003 and has not yet returned. “Many of the LRA are our abducted family members – a military offensive will kill lots of innocent people. A coherent policy of amnesty, reparations, truth telling and accountability is the way to rebuild this society. Invisible Children’s campaign just encourages young people in America to call for war – they’re inspiring a generation of warmongers. This must be rejected in the strongest possible terms.

UPDATE 22/04/12: KONY-WrongCountry

 

17 Comments

  1. Jacques Chester
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    I think that it was a lovely example of self-correction in a social system. Kony2012 was followed hotly by various actual experts being interviewed and the organisation itself being scrutinised (and found wanting). Then the organiser having a whackjob episode and I guess people felt they no longer wanted to help a wanker grandstand about a bastard.

  2. Posted April 23, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    There was a poster up in Lalor.

    Then again various socialist friends were gleefully posting on Facebook and Twitter updates about ripping down the Kony posters, so that might have had something to do with it 🙂

  3. Adrien
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    The Kony thing in Melbourne CBD was pathetic. Southbank featured a bunch of scrawls of ‘Kony’ and various slogans that wouldn’t make sense in the middle of red Square. It looked like really bad pavement art, street straining in the skreever screed.

    There was a red poster here and there in town that featured an interlinking elephant and donkey. The slogan: Something we can all agree on. No explanation of Kony either. Maybe it’s one of those Maguffin strategies where you bring up a name and don’t explain why anyone should care provoking curiosity. Whatever.

    The posters were so sparse and rare that I doubt 1 in 1000 people would notice. Interesting to see globalization manifesting as a olive branch between US political parties as expressed in a campaign to bring an African war criminal to justice on the streets of an Australian city

    There was another poster in the Shepard Fairey/ ObamaHope style. Kony doesn’t look wicked at all – more an innocent victim! That was plastered up on Flinders Lane (hipster central). What it was supposed to accomplish I shouldn’t wonder.

  4. Posted April 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    There was one of the elephant/donkey posters flyposted outside my local shop in Edinburgh yesterday. Absurd. The planet does not revolve around the USA and I doubt most Scots would even know that the elephant and donkey are symbols of the two main US parties. Relevance, your honour?!

  5. Posted April 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    You can at least admire the Americans for standards of truth in advertising when the totems for the two main political parties are a white elephant and a jackass!

  6. Adrien
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I suspect the Donkey/Elephant thing might be targeting all the American backpackers. Approx 30% of current twentysomethings appear to be airborne at any one time.

    You can at least admire the Americans for standards of truth in advertising when the totems for the two main political parties are a white elephant and a jackass!

    That’s where said standards begin and end. After the logos it’s lies all the way. 🙂

  7. Ross
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    The Ugandan Govt has committed far more atrocities than Kony. This is all about gearing up for another invasion by NATO since China is there securing their access to energy, just like they were doing in Libya. 30,000 Chinese oil workers were expelled from Libya when NATO illegally invaded it.

  8. Posted April 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    This is the poster (flyposted to the local shop) DEM was referring to; I took a picture yesterday while running the dog. There’s also a sticker on the Covenanters’ Memorial, and a couple scattered around the Meadows.

    http://skepticlawyer.com.au/files/2012/04/IMG_0080.jpg

  9. Adrien
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    This is all about gearing up for another invasion by NATO since China is there securing their access to energy, just like they were doing in Libya. 30,000 Chinese oil workers were expelled from Libya when NATO illegally invaded it.

    I wouldn’t be surprised. I’m not sure I’d mind NATO invading if the alternative was the PRC.

  10. Posted April 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I think even without the literal whackjob episode, and questions about Invisible Children, the postering would not have had much effect.

    If anything, I think this shows the use and limits of online activism. You can tweet or Facebook or blog up a storm, and get people interested – but I think if you don’t have a cadre of activists ready to meet local people face to face and give them a lead, you won’t get far.

    Imagine if they’d had that – if when you registered you give your phone number and someone calls and says “I’m the local organiser, can you come and meet some supporters”. Of course you’d always get some drop off of numbers because of the ease of sharing something online, but that would probably have built a more effective organisation.

  11. Posted April 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    You can tweet or Facebook or blog up a storm, and get people interested – but I think if you don’t have a cadre of activists ready to meet local people face to face and give them a lead, you won’t get far.

    Brendan O’Neill made the observation that the whole ‘Kony 2012’ caper was supported by people who think you can change something by ‘liking’ it on Facebook. He has a point:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brendanoneill2/100148907/joseph-kony-2-this-sequel-is-nothing-more-than-mass-entertainment-for-the-bone-headed-twitter-youth/

  12. Ross
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    The Global power plays work thus. For the last 300 yrs Western Central Bankers and their Royal parasites have created wars of imperialism for profit and power. They thought by giving China the power of production, China would let their counterfeiting machine take over their economy.

    The Chinese Govt still creates 80% of new money via Govt banks, so the people pay less tax and have less debt.

    By 2008 the West realised that China would not let them take more than 80% of their credit creation, thus China is now demonised because it refused to become a debt slave like us.

    This is what Kony and Botox Lips, Brad Pitt, George Clooney etc is all about. China is also in Sudan. Follow China and the oil/gas and ye shall find war with NATO.

  13. Posted April 23, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    … people who think you can change something by ‘liking’ it on Facebook.

    Just you wait. Soon they’ll be claiming you can change the government by writing numbers on pieces of paper…

  14. Posted April 24, 2012 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    David @13: Please don’t encourage them.

    Ross: I never met a conspiracy theory I didn’t like (but then I used to work on a paranormal magazine…)

    Desipis @16: {snicker}

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