By Taro Kili
Joseph Kony’s recent transformation, overnight, from spent-out rebel hiding deep in the African bush, to internationally infamous warlord is shocking. Posters portray him as “the Bad Guy” flanked by Hitler and Bin Laden, completely irrational, a sort of sadistic, glorified paedophile surrounded by five year old boys armed with AK47s wreaking a trail of destruction wherever he moves: the epitome of evil. How could one even consider reasoning with such a monster? Much better to bomb him the hell out of the Central African Republic! … or is it?
If this was your reaction after watching Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 video, you could be forgiven. No one could object to anyone publically denouncing the man behind some of the worst atrocities committed in Uganda’s history. As a half Ugandan having grown up in Kampala, being told we couldn’t visit our grandparents because there was a war on in the North, I followed the events of the conflict and find aspects of the Kony 2012 campaign unforgivable. I will not dwell too long on the sensationalism of the filming, or the irony of focussing on a five year-old American child when making a film about the invisible children of Northern Uganda (perhaps they were just too invisible to be caught on camera?). However, the video’s complete disregard for the conflict’s history, previous peace-making efforts, Northern Ugandans’ thoughts and wishes, and its blind support for the Ugandan government and the ICC, merit interrogation.