Not enough focus on child soldiers’ lives in "Kony 2012" -War Child

The focus of a film calling for the capture of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony should have been on helping child victims instead, Amanda Weisbaum of non-governmental organisation War Child UK said on Wednesday.

The 30-minute film about Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) who is accused of terrorising northern Uganda for more than 20 years, went viral on the Internet after it was released last month.

Listen to an interview with Weisbaum.

Tags: 2012, Child, Joseph, Kony, LRA, Uganda, War

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With respect, I disagree. For nearly a decade Invisible Children has been working hard - really, really hard - to raise the stories of child soldiers in the region and raise resources for their rehabilitation. They have used these stories to create powerful connections with young people in the U.S. and successfully translated those connections into a youth movement that has successfully pressured the U.S. Congress to change its policies in the region.

In a way, statements like Ms Weisbaum's point out a singular fact, which is that Invisible Children is a victim of its own success. Which is to say, with the specific focus (maintain pressure in an election year when we KNOW such things slip) they failed to communicate everything that they could have about the crisis, its impact, and the broad areas of remediation necessary for healing. Instead, IC focused on a specific, short-term opportunity that would send a powerful signal to warcriminals everywhere, which is that the criminal court will pursue. This can only contribute to a very different and very important chilling environment for would be perpetrators of crimes against humanity.

In a way, its the promise from Rwanda, and before: that "never again" message liberals and peaceniks love to throw around, put in the headlines, yet obviously crumple when up against the wall of direct action.

I salute Invisible Children for their relentless commitment to this cause, their laser focus on "going the last mile" to bring a war criminal - surely not the only one - to justice. This is a critical step for justice and for the healing process for so many victims and families affected by Kony's actions.

And it is not a complete solution, by any means. If Ms Weisbaum and so many other detractors to this campaign would only reach out directly to Invisible Children, use this incredible media success to collaborate and, together, work toward the kinds of solutions that will foster true healing in the region, I am certain IC would welcome the opportunity and the dialogue. I am not certain that the drumbeat of criticism and accusations will actually help to advance the cause at all. Is the goal really to chill young people's enthusiasm to "do something" or might it be more constructive to take the "Yes, and" approach?

Respectfully,

Lars Hasselblad Torres

@lhtorres

Friends of peace I salute you all,

However I would just like to mentioned a few things to respond to all these viral arguments about kony video, the northern uganda conflict has been a pereninail conflict that one triggers the other and all these goes back to the mistakes the so called colonist made. the process of peace building is long and using time line analysis to understnd root causes of conflict would really enable us understand the true genesis of the conflict. Killing Kong will never stop the war because even the current government continue to fuel sentiments of war yet those were the very causes since colonial time. peace keepers were there, peace makers came and peacebuilding must continue and justice should be seen taking place on all sides. Northern uganda has many evidences that both sides committed atrocities beyond the human eye yet we seems not to know the true. the truth sets people free and if people continue to be fed on lies the north of the country will continue to lack behind in terms of development. so the appeal is to take the 3 corelational relations of peace i.e. peace keeping, peace making and peace building period. and all those involved should be brought to books wheher they are in the bush, captivity or in power, humanity and peace are inseperable.

Godfrey, thank you. With respect, I am 100 percent certain that the aim of the Invisible Children campaign is not about "killing [Kony]." We must stop this kind of misinformation and get to the root of the problem, which is to get civil society behind the hard work of ferreting out war criminals and bringing them before the bleaching light of human rights law.

I hope you will agree that, to survive and to fulfill its mandate, the International Criminal Court requires teeth. We cannot live in a world where such criminals can slink into hard to reach places, nor where they are publicly and brutally executed. Neither end does justice to the living and the dead.

We share the same perspective on colonialism. And we live today. Where does that leave us room to move forward, together? I believe that the International Criminal Court is essential to a world where your three relations of peace can be realized.

Peace.

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