In my opinion, it’s pretty obvious that this is not a scam. These people mean what they say, and their cause is an important one. You may not agree with their methods, but they are attacking this problem in a reasonable way, and they are spending the money they get in a responsible fashion, from what I can tell.
If you are looking for an organization that spends every dollar they get on feeding African children or providing water or mosquito nets to people, look elsewhere. But if you are interested in stopping the LRA from abducting, mutilating or killing children, then this is one reasonable way to go after that problem.
BTW, the blog linked in comment 1 seems to be suggesting that Invisible Children is somehow engaging in affinity fraud. That is not the case, and to suggest otherwise is irresonsible and shows a lack of understanding of what the term “affinity fraud” actually means.
It’s a pretty fascinating movement. While this organization is imperfect and I have my doubts about the success of this campaign and its’ oversimplification of the myriad issues that touch on the LRA situation, I just can’t quibble with the desire to incapacitate Kony, or any associated commander.
I don’t know quite what to make of the professionals in the Aid/diplomatic community pooh-poohing the video, except that maybe they are insulted that it takes their serious incomprehensible world and makes it understandable for elementary school kids. Do doctors get so outraged about PSAs about not smoking?
I hope there is a cold cell in Arusha for Mr. Kony, and I hope it is filled soon.
He might already have some connection to Invisible Children. At the least, I’m confident that they know of each other, even if they don’t approve of each other.
Sam Childers, the “Machine Gun Preacher”, has already built (and runs it, and funds it, and supplies it) at least one orphanage for orphan children who have been rescued from the LRA. Childers also has the sanction/approval of the government of Southern Sudan.
His orphanage has been around for years, and older children have already “aged out” of it, so while X number of children are currently there, several times as many have been rescued, and are either now adults on their own, or returned to their parents.
Childers’ book about him and Kony is available at Amazon.
Some of the right-wing blogs are saying the whole thing is a scam or fraud by people who are trying to stir up sentiment for going to war in Africa because of valuable natural resources there. They say that George Soros is a major funder of Invisible Children. I don’t know whether to believe them or not. Nor do I know of a way to find out. Almost all media is just propaganda pushing an agenda.
Comment by John W. Redelfs — March 17, 2012 @ 8:40 pm
I’m always skeptical of slick, professional productions that try to manipulate my emotions by using children. I never know whether or not they are legit. A lot of stuff that isn’t gets passed around on the Internet.
Comment by John W. Redelfs — March 17, 2012 @ 8:46 pm
Really John? Are you serious? What is this thing that you speak of: the inter net? Do people really not tell the truth all the time? Please enlighten us! We’ve never heard any of this before!
For those who are not complete nimrods, you will note that there are many places where you can get info on Invisible Children, including their own website I linked to in #4 above. That website gives full disclosure of financial information. Invisible Children is not new. It is a reputable organization that has been around doing good work for a long time. There is no legitimate argument that it is involved in perpetrating a scam or a fraud. And since I am not a right wing nutjob, I am only too glad if George Soros is involved in funding them.
That is true. You are not a right wing nutjob. You are obviously a left wing nutjob.
Comment by John W. Redelfs — March 17, 2012 @ 11:19 pm
If governor Boggs had the Internet back in the day, he could have make up a similar hit piece on JS. Ooh, that bad Joseph. He should be stopped, must be stopped, preferably with extreme prejudice. Please send money, or guns and ammo.
White people don’t just start caring about what happens in Africa unless their tyrannical economic grip is slipping.
John, you are wrong again. But that must be a familiar feeling for you by now.
Brad, of course anyone can make up anything with or without the internet. But if your point is that Kony may be being persecuted like Joseph Smith then you are ill-informed. News organizations all over the world have been reporting on the atrocities committed by Kony for many years. He is a very bad guy, and there is consensus on that.
Also, these white people, including me, have no grip, tyrannical or otherwise, in Africa. I wonder, then, why we care? Perhaps your cynicism is misplaced.
Also, these white people, including me, have no grip, tyrannical or otherwise, in Africa. I wonder, then, why we care? Perhaps your cynicism is misplaced.
I accuse you of hypocrisy. If you had as much love in your heart for people of other races as you pretend, you would not treat others the way you do by calling them names like “nutjob.” When you start pointing your finger at others, you need to make sure your own house is order. From where I stand, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Comment by John W. Redelfs — March 18, 2012 @ 7:09 pm
I actually didn’t call you a nutjob, John. You called me one. Maybe you should review the previous comments. All I said was that I was not a right wing nutjob. That is not in any way accusing you of being one. You must have self esteem issues. If that is the case, you have my sympathy.
My problem with advocacy is that it’s a great way for nice 1st world folks like us to feel good about doing nothing. So much is done in the name of ‘being aware’ that often very little real action is actually taken.
Furthermore, there is legitimacy to the argument that Invisible Children’s actions may be counter productive considering the human rights records of the regional armies and other groups they are trying to support in Kony’s capture. Also, because of this campaign, Kony and/or others may strike back with worse atrocities and other tactics, not to mention moving deeper into the bush and becoming harder to catch.
Basically, Africa is a very complex place with even more complex problems that if not oversimplified by advocacy groups, is easily oversimplified in the minds of many (if not most) of those average 1st worlders who watch.
Now, having said all that, I really hope this campaign by Invisible Children does everything and more than they are working towards. I may be skeptical of them or that this is the right approach, but Kony is an evil, awful man who will go to Hell and hopefully soon. If they can help bring that about without major, serious consequences for the innocent in the region, then fabulous.
Bret, those would be good points if they were actually true. In this case, IC is not just “raising awareness.” they are directly responsible for getting 100 US troops sent to Africa in an advisory role. That is action. That is not nothing. Now they are trying to extend the stay of those troops until Kony is captured. If they are pulled out, it will be a setback in the effort to capture Kony. We don’t want to let that happen. Again, that effort is not just raising awareness, it’s making a difference.
Second, you cannot support military intervention in any situation in Africa (or a lot of other places) without allying yourself with military organizations that have some questionable baggage. It’s impossible. So the alternative is to do nothing. No military intervention against Kony. That’s worse. So IC supports using the military organizations that are already on the ground pursuing Kony. Are they perfect? Of course not. Are they a hell of a lot better than allowing Kony to roam free and do as he wants? Absolutely. Answer: it’s no contest. Work with the military organizations that are available.
As for causing Kony to commit greater atrocities, the record speaks for itself: that’s not happening. They’ve got him on the run and out of Uganda. Whether they are causing him to hide further in the bush: that’s probably true, but so what? Would you rather have him living large in a major city or town and abusing the people around him mercilessly? On the run and in hiding is exactly where we want Kony to be–until the point where he is captured, which hopefully will happen soon. This is similar to the US pursuit of Osams bin Laden. He went into hiding in response to the US-led effort to bring him to justice. But we didn’t say, ” Oh, we shouldn’t pusue him because now he’s in hiding and harder to catch.” No, we kept pursuing him wherever we thought he might be until he was finally caught and killed. That is what we need to do with Kony.
I like your final sentiments, but your caveats are basically the exact reasons why nothing is ever accomplished: it’s too complex, let’s not oversiplify it, we might make it worse, the organizations we have to work with aren’t perfect, etc. etc. etc. IC is not wiling to let those things get in the way of helping people. They are stepping up to the plate and trying to change things. They have already saved the lives of countless children and adults. Let’s quit whining about the details and get behind the effort.
I think there are probably thousands of men like the guy featured on this film. All the money and mental breakdown drama aside, the killing on the continent of Africa needs to be stopped. So anything that mobilizes the public to outrage is a good thing. Sorry I’m tired and not quite picking up the wing-nut stuff, hope this is on the subject. But I do feel such a sense of despair and hopelessness about situations like this where people kill each other who kill each other who kill each other.
Thankfully, there are not thousands of men like Kony. He is one of the worst ever. There are many evils in the world and certainly many in Africa, but rather than giving in to despair, maybe we can just take them on one at a time.
I never said IC isn’t doing anything. I said I don’t like advocacy because it’s a way we can all feel good about doing nothing. I apologize for miscommunicating. My sentiment is really more aimed at the audience of this video (all of us). Most of us will re-post this video, maybe say a few things in the comments of wherever we post it, then feel really good because we supposedly helped to bring down this very evil man without doing anything else. Those who actually get these kits from IC and shout at their congress reps, and such–great, I hope. But most will just do nothing while at the same time feel angry that more isn’t being done in the way they think it should be done (since now that they’ve watched a video or two, they know how issues in Africa should be solved)
As for supporting the regional armies, we seemed to do just fine capturing Bin Laden without the cooperation of the regional army. We supported the Mujahideen against the eviler USSR a few years ago and are still dealing with the blow-back from that. Same goes for Vietnam. We don’t have a very good track record in Africa supporting a number of very awful people to the fight the supposed greater evil–communism. Is this different? Perhaps but it’s worth the analysis.
As for going in guns blazing in the name of doing something seems like a bad precedent. Echoes of the 2003 Iraq invasion.
Like I said, I really do hope IC achieves exactly what it is trying to and I know they are already doing a lot of good. I just don’t know that this particular campaign is the best way as its consequences may cause more harm than good, but I hope I’m wrong.
Bret, I agree with your first paragraph, but I would rather praise those who are getting involved than worry about those who are doing nothing. I’m just grateful some people care enough to make something happen.
As for supporting the regional armies, we seemed to do just fine capturing Bin Laden without the cooperation of the regional army.
I agree. Let’s send in Seal Team 6 to get Kony. If we did, it would be over and done in no time. But until our government authorizes the direct use of US troops in going after this guy (which they haven’t done and probably won’t do) then we have to be content to have our 100 military advisors working with the Ugandan army and other local military organizations.
We actually scored a great victory in Afghanistan working with the rebels against the USSR. The only problem was that we didn’t follow up that victory with any kind of nation building, so the Taliban was able to come in and take over. That’s not a problem that came from our involvement, it was a consequence of the power vacuum created when the Soviets left and there was no government. If anything, it’s a consequence of our lack of continued involvement.
We are not talking about invading anywhere. This is not Vietnam or Iraq. This is a search and arrest operation, where we are helping with the searching and letting others do the arresting.
As such, I can’t honestly see how it could possibly do more harm than good. It has already done great good. The harm is nonexistent, as far as I can see, other than the backlash that ICs leaders have had to put with from cynical and the mean-spirited that have endeavored to take them down by spreading false and demeaning material about them.
How do you know that, Mcq? You’re probably too young to remember Idi Amin, but I do. Maybe—MAYBE thousands is an exaggeration, but I don’t think by much. Hundreds? Hundreds in embryo? Soldiers now, murderous leaders tomorrow.
Idi Amin is dead. So is Saddam Hussein. So is Qaddafi. You can’t count dead guys and you also can’t count anyone who is simply a soldier. As far as murderous leaders go, Kony is alone among current leaders in the magnitude of his atrocities.
The reason I think there are not thousands of people like Kony is that he is responsible for the death or mutilation of thousands of people. It takes a very evil leader to accomplish something like that. He’s number one on the list of UN war criminals. He has no current peers when it comes to the numbers of his victims. There are not thousands of people alive today who have done anything like that. I challenge you to name even five. I bet you can’t do it.
The part I find surprising is how surprised Invisible Children and their supporters are of the criticism. I’m sure that’s not true of all of them, but so many seem to be offended-ly surprised that anyone would be critical of something so seemingly good intentioned. “Why are you against this? Do you hate children? Do you love evil? Why do you hate African people? Don’t you see this will make it better? How can you possibly be against helping people?!” is the tone. In reality, criticism is good news. That means you’re popular enough to be noticed and your message is getting out there. If people challenge your method, great, prove them wrong or better yet, between all the extra analysis coming from such exposure, an even better solution arises.
Bret I agree with what you say here in theory, but you seem to be talking about a world that doesn’t actually exist.
In theory, yes, criticism is good news. Unless it’s happening to you. And of course, constructive criticism is fine and should be taken in stride but the kind of criticism levelled at IC was not, in many cases, constructive in any sense. It was false, malicious, mean, ugly and yes, evil. it was intended to take down the organization and the people associated with it and make sure no one ever listened to them again. The worst part of it was that the people who did this were not, as far as I can determine, deriving any gain from it. They just wanted to destroy the reputation of a company and its people. For no reason other than that they could.
This is not the kind of criticism that leads to new or better ideas and solutions. It leads to people saying that they will never again attempt to do anything like this in the future. That is not helpful. And the people at IC did not deserve it.
I don’t know what criticism you’re reading. I’m not doubting it exists (especially with the existence of the Internet) but to say constructive criticism and expert opinion to the contrary of IC’s opinions doesn’t exist? Please. The ideas and theories on how to help all the varying problems in Africa are as numerous and diverse as the people who live there.
I never said it didn’t exist, Bret, but it was drowned out by all the lies and accusations. You’re talking about a tea party that was going on in the backyard while a bunch of thugs were busy blowing up the house. Forgive me for overlooking it.
But you did say I seem to be talking about a world that doesn’t exist. It does. Again, if you’re talking about the Internet, unfounded, loud, forceful accusations are going to happen no matter what if you get anywhere near somewhat popular. If this message can be drowned out so easily by these thugs, how strong a message is it? If it IS stronger (and I think it very well can be) than all that backlash will wash away anyway and we can find out if it really stands up to the higher criticism I mentioned that does actually exist. If it makes it through that, wonderful! Then a true, useful, meaningful difference will be made.