I have been aware of Invisible Children since I was in high school, when I read the book "Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier" which moved me to tears.
Now, I want to preface this blog post by saying that I agree Kony is a terrible terrible man, and the things that he has done in Uganda are terrible. But I disagree with a lot of the things that the Invisible Children are doing.
Basically, the premise of the film Kony is, three college kids head off to Sudan to look for a story. Eventually they leave Sudan and work their way into Uganda, and they find some Kony, and maker a MTV style film about what they find. This was in 2003. Now, in 2012, Uganda is not experiencing a significant amount of violence from the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). About a year ago, Kony and his troops were pushed back into the Congo. And Uganda is in the middle of peace talks, and the rebels have laid down their arms. Kony was defeated, and not by some MTV style documentaries, The Uganda People's Defense has beaten them back (albiet by violent means that I do not agree with).
In the case of Kony, Invisible Children is too late. This documentary is old news, watching it will tell you about the atrocities that happened there, but it does not paint a clear picture of what is going on in Uganda today.
While I do agree that the Invisible Children do have good intentions at heart, I am still against their campaign for many reasons. Invisible Children is a controversial non-profit organization, that has been repeatedly condemned. As a registered non profit, anyone can go in and look at their finances. Last year, they spent almost 9 million dollars, and only 32 percent went to direct services, and most of it went to staff salaries, travel, transportation, and film production (Kony 2012 is their 12th film). Charity Navigators rates their accountability at a 2 out of 4 stars.
Also, the group is in favor of direct, violent, military intervention, and their money supports the Ugandan Government's Arm, and other military forces. But back to the money, the bulk of their spending is not on supporting African Militias, but on awareness and film making, which can be great, except for the fact that the Foreign Affairs has stated that the "Invisible Children (among others) 'manipulates facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of the LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRA's use of innocent children as soldiers and portraying Kony, a brutal man, to be sure as uniquely awful"
The US has been involved in stopping Kony for years, the US African Command has sent multiple missions to capture or kill Kony for years (although I do not agree with the violence of the US military), we have been trying to stop him for years. They have repeatedly failed, and each time a ferocious response has followed and an intense slaughter. This is what happens when you try to take out a man who uses children as humans shields, and this needs to be minimized as much as possible. Yet, for some reason, Invisible Children supports Military Intervention (More info here)
Now, military intervention may or may not be the right idea, depending on your views. I am against military intervention. But people supporting Kony 2012, probably do not realize that they are supporting the Ugandan Military, who themselves are raping and looting as well. Now some people know this, and still support the group, and I have to respect their opinion, but I feel like many people do not know this.
Now the awareness about Kony is good, but this is a extremely complicated problem, and it cannot be solved by hanging up posters, changing your profile picture, or sharing the video on your FB/Twitter/Tumblr page. Now, I don't have the perfect solution, on how to solve this, but I don't support Kony 2012 just because it is something. Doing something just because it's something is not always the best idea.
Now, I encourage everyone to write to whoever they want to, and if you want to tweet and post about Kony, but lets keep this all about Kony, and not about Invisible Children.