Kony 2012 part 2

Quite a lot of people in reaction to my earlier blog post, in the comments and on Facebook/G+, are of the opinion that “something has to be done” which seems to justify not asking questions of the people “doing something”. Whilst I agree with the sentiment that we want to help these people who have suffered as a result of the fighting between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Ugandan government I feel that the Invisible Children “Kony 2012” campaign is going to do more harm than good. The reasons for this I outline in my earlier post and in the comments below.

“What else would you have us do?” is another question asked. To which there are many answers, one would be to destroy capitalism and the state and introduce FULL COMMUNISM but that’s beyond the abilities of us mere bloggers(at the moment MWAHAHAHAHA!). So in lieu of a global communist uprising I’ve found a couple of projects that are more worthwhile, and practically helpful, than the Invisible Children’s call for armed intervention which would shatter the peace in the region.

The Grassroots Group was originally a part of USAID but has been independent since 2008. It helps former child soldiers reintegrate into their communities and has been doing so for nearly 7 years. They have a number of projects such as brick making, community farming and trauma counselling. All much more worthwhile than calling for military action against a scumbag who isn’t even in the country any more, let alone engaging in hostilities against the population.

Then there is Gulu Projects who are seeking to raise $15,000 to fund three projects in three villages in the Gulu district of Northern Uganda.

It took me 5 minutes with Google to turn these projects up and I’m sure there are many more out there. So if you want to financially support worthwhile projects in Uganda get Googling or just head to the links above. Share these as widely as folk have been sharing that sodding Kony 2012 video and maybe we will actually help some people.

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Posted on March 7, 2012, in Cultural Shenanigans and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. FREE WEEZY AND KONY!

  2. Completely tangential to the crux of the post (though you may find that refreshing), but one should be careful with the loose use of the term Communist. What kind of Communism do you mean? The term encompasses anything from Stalinism to Dubček style ‘Socialism With a Human Face’. I’m going to have to paragraph as, I do not have it on hand, but there’s a great Milan Kundera essay on the way that Western Europeans tend to say, “Communism’s great in theory – it’s a shame it’s never been put correctly into practice.” Kundera point out that this relies on the assumption that Communist ideology can be taken at face-value. For Kundera, the ideology of Communism cannot be cleanly divorced from how it is ‘put into practice’, since often that ideology exists to legitimise the practice ‘after the fact’. ‘Workers of the World Unite’ doesn’t necessary mean ‘Workers of the World Unite’, as Václav Havel pointed out!

    As might be apparent, I am far more familiar with the Czech history of this than I am its other variants!

    In short, FULL SOCIALIST revolution – yes; FULL MARXIST revolution – maaaybe, but times have moved on, but Marx hasn’t ’cause he’s dead; FULL COMMUNIST revolution – heck no!

    Frankly I just want to live on Ursula Le Guin’s Anarres though.

    • When I say FULL COMMUNISM(it was a bit of a meme for a while in certain circles) I mean libertarian, or anarchist, communism. So a stateless, classless society organised on a federative basis with workplace and community councils. So the goal of all communists even if some, like Leninists and Stalinists, have some wacky ideas about how to get there.
      I would rather live in Iain M Bank’s Culture tbh. Anarres was bit of a shit hole. 😉

      • haha that wasn’t Odo’s fault though – it’s a pretty barren planet! Le Guin clearly wanted to stack the odds against herself and still make Anarres seem like the preferable option!

        Must read some M Banks stuff, as I have only ever read him without the ‘M’. The Wasp Factory was certainly one of my favourite books as a teenager.

        • I can’t recommend the Culture series highly enough. I couldn’t get into it first time round, about 12 years ago, but I started reading them again in about ’08 and went straight through the entire series. 😀

  3. Frederick East

    Send Gary Glitter in with a bottle of Viagra. That’s flush those kids out in no time.

  4. Gulu Projects is just a WordPress site with no background info.

    • Aye, but I was just having a quick Google. If folk really want to help then they can always spend longer looking. Grassroots Group look pretty awesome though.

  5. Wow, dude you totally suck. When human beings are being given hope, here you come to ward people away. These are kids that are forced to kill other human beings, while you sit behind a computer and tell people not to help. You try to quiet down the noise and what this cause needs is noise, otherwise their story will be forgotten. Stop finding reasons not to do something and stand up as a proud human being. I don’t care if only 20c of my dollar goes to help, it is helping. Plus the films raise awareness to the causes, and they made it so how much more would go to films? Stop looking for excuses to continue being self-centered, not do good, and to change the world. There is only one race and that’s the human race. No matter what our differences are, I could hate you, despise you, not know you, etc, but if you fall, as a human being I will help you rise again. Besides, what are you doing to help? Always telling others what to do, but never doing anything. It’s 2012, we are done with idle hands. There’s a new generation taking over, and we want things done in the present before time makes us forget and do nothing as you are implicitly suggesting. Maybe you’re okay digging bones of the past, or watching sci-fi movies to escape reality. We are the ones living in the present, lighting the way for ourselves and others. I’m Namibian, born, raised and proud of my homeland, as well as equally taking pride in my freedom. For what those children go through and their parents, and those that suffer(ed) under Kony, you are nothing but a coward. I hope whatever you dig up will save a life or make a difference, until that day, the rest of us are living in the present, doing things that matter.

    • Did you even read the post? I specifically suggest ways that people can help without supporting Invisible Children’s call for bloodshed and death in the region. Because that is what it is.

    • You could’ve written “Herp, derp!” and it would’ve made more sense and held more substance than the little screed you did post.

  6. I agree and disagree with this post. Agree that this may lead to bloodshed, however when helping a country with enemies ,when doesnt it include bloodshed?, for example is when osama bin laden was brought down. He had killed hundreds, and U.S. was determined in bringing him down, even if killing was involved, so why not when another country has been dangered for many years.

  7. Isn’t the idea that they use film to get the public to put pressure on the US government to arrest Kony? They aren’t really promising to do the job themselves, they’re just creating awareness. right?

  8. Good man for having the balls to stand up and speak some sense in the face of a tidal wave of frothing-mouthed self righteousness. I’ve just made a donation to The Grassroots Group, they appear to be doing some extremely worthwhile, and most importantly peaceful work with children in Uganda.

  9. Andy, I think you make some excellent points. I’ve been posting as many articles as I can find on facebook because I want people to read all they can about the situation also, not just watch a video and donate without knowing more. I do think that raising awareness of the situation is a good thing, but I’m also concerned that people are blindly following THIS campaign when there are other organisations out there. I’m not going to tell people to NOT support the campaign, because I do think that at the end of the day they are trying to help, and awareness is a good step to make.
    However, I won’t be purchasing a Kony 2012 tshirt, but instead will make a donation (and hopefully, after looking at finances with the hubby and seeing if we can do it, making a monthly donation) to Grassroots Reconciliation Group (thank you so, so much for the link – I’d never heard of them).
    As an Anthropology major, I often get into hot water for critiquing things… people are always jumping down my throat for being ‘negative’ about ‘good causes’. One unit that I did that really opened my eyes was Culture and Development, which looked really hard at NGOs and where foreign aid etc really goes. While at times it did make me feel a bit hopeless, I feel strongly that critique is very important, because nothing is simply black and white. I’ve read most of the comments on this blog and on your earlier one, and feel that people are doing just that – they’ve attacked you for being critical, without actually taking on board what you’ve said.
    I think people do have the best intentions, but sometimes it’s easier to jump on board the most prominent campaign because it’s easier, and it’s too confronting to question whether it’s really the best course of action. I’ll admit, I didn’t know who Kony was, and I didn’t know the extent of what was going on in Uganda. So I’m grateful that the film has brought about discussion, however I feel a bit more comfortable donating to GRG for the time being!

    • Marry me.
      😀
      Sorry but that’s one of the best comments I’ve had on this blog. Thank you for being a voice of rationality.

      • Sorry, I have a loving husband already!

        I’m going to keep reading as much as I can about all this, and hopefully one day will help make a difference. I’m (pathetically) a bit of an optimist when it comes to seeing the good in people, and so even if people are jumping on the bandwagon with this Kony stuff, I still say: hey, they’re now thinking about it. And that’s something (Hell, technically I’m on the band wagon, because I didn’t know shit about this beforehand. I’m grateful to Invisible Children for their film because it DID make me aware of the problem). But I really hope people try and look past just this one campaign. If it helps and they find him and bring him to justice, fantastic. But the danger with this Stop Kony mantra is that I’m terrified people will think that it will end with his death or capture. It won’t. There are kids who are now fucked-up adults. There will still be other members of LRA at large, and even outside of that, there will still be a corrupt Ugandan government and other groups besides the LRA that will do shitty things. Social awareness is wonderful, but it needs to continue – this needs to go deeper than simply catching the bad guy, because he’s not the only shithead in this mess. It’s the same with any rebel leader or dictator. When Hitler died did everything become perfect? When Bin Laden was killed, did our world leader’s announce that there will never be another terrorist threat? Of course not. Because an individual is the symbol for something larger. Kony is complete bastard, but he got the power he has because others thought like him and supported him. I’m just hoping like hell people recognise that and continue talking about the violence in Africa, long after Kony is rotting in prison.

  10. If Americans would stop drinking coffee, stop buying the newest electronic devices, and stop buying chocolate, WHILE educating themselves about Africa and it’s resources and conflicts and demanding their political leaders act; slavery and kidnapping would dramatically decrease. We demand, they supply. “Invisible Children” has suddenly made millions of people aware of horrors that they’ve ignored or denied for decades. THAT knowledge is a very powerful thing, and cannot be un-learned. So good on them for that.

  11. Why don’t you use some internet time to make a video that spawns a worldwide boycott of Starbucks until they start offering a “free trade” brand of coffee on their menu? That would be helpful.

  12. The thing is, once Grassroots Group and the Gulu Project gain the fame and money equivalent to Kony 2012 they too will be ostracized in blogs 🙂

  13. No, Joseph Kony needs to be arrested and made an example of.

    • Why? What about the president of Uganda who is responsible for carrying out genocide against the people of Northern Uganda? With the same troops that this campaign wants to send against Kony. He is responsible for far more death and suffering than the LRA.

  14. Now…I have viewed your posts on both blogs and although I may not agree with everything that you are saying I do wholeheartedly agree any organisation who wishes to help the people of Uganda or even the greater body of the African nation, need to ensure that those people’s voices are heard.

    I have done my own research after watching the Kony 2012 video in its entirety and I admit it, I shared it as I so felt led. I don’t believe that militarisation is the answer however I do believe that reaching as many persons as possible is important.

    You have mentioned this Grass Roots Reconciliation Group but do you have any evidence to support that they are not in support of the core driving force behind Invisible Children Inc.?

    The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders posted an article on their website from May 24th, 2010 here (http://www.gnwp.org/president-obama-signs-lrauganda-bill) which clearly lists both Grass Roots Group and Invisible Children Inc. as supporting organisations of the signing the IRA Uganda Bill. The same bill publicised in their video.

    From 2004 the atrocities associated with the LRA have inspired an organisation called Resolve (www.theresolve.org) to act under the advisement of and in communication with locally-based organisations such as Grass Roots Reconciliation Group and in partnership with Invisible Children Inc among other activist groups.

    You can view their list of partners here (http://www.theresolve.org/our-partners) along with a brief description of who runs Resolve is here (http://www.theresolve.org/our-team). It is ironic to note that the co-founder of the Resolve organisation also serves on the Board of Directors for the same Grass Roots Reconciliation Group that you are promoting.

    There is tons of other information that can be found through this site. Please take some time to review and I look forward to more posts from you.

  15. Here’s another project going on in Uganda right now that I’m starting a sponsored fast for tonight… I don’t think anyone outside of Ireland really knows about them but they do good work. http://www.trocaire.org/lent
    Well done for giving people alternative charities to look into, I hadn’t heard of the Grassroots Group either.

  16. Hi! Thanks so much for linking to the “Gulu Projects” site! It is a small, local initiative, and any support will really make a huge difference. I’m a grad student and did interviews for my dissertation about post-war rebuilding in three villages in Gulu District. These projects are a result of many conversations with village residents and leaders about what projects they would like to start to help people in their communities meet current and long-term needs. Each village came up with their own plan: one wants to start a goat project, the second proposes a grinding mill, and the third is pursuing a community loan project. What I love about these efforts is that they are locally initiated and sustainable. I’m raising initial funds to start the projects, but then they will be completely in the hands of those the projects are designed to help.

    We will be starting the projects in April, so any donation, small or large, will have a substantial impact. Please get in touch with me if you would like any additional information.

    Shannon Golden
    http://www.guluprojects.wordpress.com

  17. you guys are stupid grass roots help the people in your back yard before you help some one else…. meaning America need to fix our own problems before we go and get involved in other things. and this is not to make any one mad or pissed its a simple truth it goes for England Russia all of Europe. you really wanna help then send donations to the hungry dieing kids in your own country. talk trash to me and all but actually think about this. yes it’s good for us to help others but how can you help some one so far away when you walk to the store and see 4 homeless people going hungry on the street.

  18. its Africa’s problem they need to fix them selves for them to be able to gain power back. there is a reason all of this has gone on for 20+ years. if they can’t even fix this problem then honestly they are hopeless how can they be called a country if they can’t even fix them selves. it’s bad yes but it’s the hard truth. people look down on some one who says tings like this but it is true. it’s obvious what I’m saying is blunt and I’m sorry that i do not wish for America to take part in this, we have enough trouble as it is.

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