International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Ugandan’s Reaction to Kony 2012

Washington Post today has an article on the recent screening of Kony 2012 in Uganda.

A much over-hype recent sensation in America in the last couple week. Thousands tweeted and posted, but not really understand what the actuality of event is been going on in Uganda and Kony.

For those of us that been learning in class, we know the video is very biased and much Western point of view to the whole situation, so what would you think the screening turn out?

Not well of course, Ugandan were angry at the end the screening, felt that an “…inaccurate account that belittled and commercialised their suffering, as the film promotes Kony bracelets and other fundraising merchandise, with the aim of making Kony infamous…”

Maybe this article would help some that just reposted on facebook or tweeted about it to learn a thing or few.


6 responses to “Ugandan’s Reaction to Kony 2012

  1. Alana Tiemessen March 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. Al Jazeera had a similar report and with a video of northern Ugandans’ reactions after watching a screening of the video.

  2. aboampon March 15, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    This has been something I have been thinking about / speaking with others about a lot over this past week since IC’s release of KONY 2012. I will admit that I had not really thought of how a native Ugandan would feel about the poor portrayal of their country by an outside organization until reading articles like the ones posted above. The article that really got me thinking is also on Al Jeezera. It is an Op-Ed written by a Professor from a University in Kampala, Mahmood Mamdani, who called Kony and the LRA a “Ugandan problem” which deserves a “Ugandan solution.” This thought caught me off guard, because even though we have been learning about transitional justice, peace vs justice, and other culture’s conceptions of justice I have always just assumed that for the most part scholars, professors and the educated public were in full support of the ICC. This article, written by an educated individual, living and working in Uganda completely disrupted the mental image I had.
    I definitely think articles like the ones posted here should be shared. I think it would do well to have both sides of theKONY 2012 argument equally represented. But this leads me to wonder if Ugandans are simply unhappy with the notoriety that has come with Invisible Children’s KONY 2012 video, or if the frustration stems from the overall handling of the conflict. Mahmood Mamdani seems to be frustrated with not only the video, but the ICC as well. He writes, “The 70 million-plus who have watched the Invisible Children video need to realise that the LRA – both the leaders and the children pressed into their service – are not an alien force, but sons and daughters of the soil. The solution is not to eliminate them physically, but to find ways of integrating them into Ugandan society.”
    It seems to me that so much of the world is more in favor of a more restorative type of justice, rather than capturing criminals and dolling out hard sentences. So where does this leave the ICC?

  3. aboampon March 15, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    I forgot to link the article I referenced and misspelled Al Jazeera, sorry!:

  4. mbaglane March 16, 2012 at 8:01 am

    The article posted as well as Mahmood Mamdani’s comments on the video really remind me of how we’ve been talking in class about local responses to conflict, and involving local people in transitional justice initiatives. The Internet is a huge site of activism and political discussion, I guess the question is how can we incorporate more local input in online activism/campaigns that use media as well? I’m not saying that only local people can speak about a conflict (I’ve had discussions/classes were people seriously suggested it’s wrong for a person from the United State s to study people/culture outside of the United States. oy vey haha) but I guess it would be important to start with at least having IC come to the video with a more critical eye, all of the criticisms of the video are pretty obvious the first time you watch it even if you don’t know much about the conflict (the self promotion feel is very clear).

  5. Alana Tiemessen March 16, 2012 at 10:30 am

    This is a great discussion that’s also quite timely given we will be focusing much more on local conceptions and mechanisms of transitional justice. Mamdani is a high profile and insightful scholar on central African history, especially Uganda (given he is from there). And the quote above about how the LRA are the sons and daughters of the soil is an important.

    There is certainly a lot of skepticism among many scholars – African and Western alike – about the imposition of international justice norms in post-conflict societies. I think a middle position would be that the ICC’s trials and advocacy campaigns like Kony 2012 don’t do any harm, there are principled and practical reasons to try and punish elite perpetrators, but that we should also manage our expectations about how this will affect victim communities. And understand that the scope of perpetration goes well beyond a handful of warlords.

    I’m please to see that some of the discussions are changing your perceptions on these issue and i certainly agree that it’s about more dialogue and outreach and not less.

  6. inesventura4 March 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I find all of this very interesting, especially when talking about national/international justice v. local justice. In one of my classes last semester I did a presentation with a group about the South African conflict and we argued that in order to achieve justice you need a set of top-down approaches as well as bottom-up approaches. In my opinion, although this can sometimes be difficult, limiting justice to just one of these options is not sufficient to build lasting peace in a given area.

    As for your comment about the posts on Facebook from people that don’t necessarily know a good amount about the situation in Uganda, I have a personal and humorous story. On my newsfeed a few days ago was a status update from one of my high school friends asking if Kony was another GOP candidate and if his campaign was just picking up. I attempted to explain exactly what Kony 2012 was and then all hell broke loose about the U.S. wanting to use this as an excuse to invade another country and spending tax-payer money to Africa instead of keeping it in the country. Let the conspiracy theories begin!

    Here’s an example:

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