Can Kony 2012 Make a Difference for Ugandan Youth?

Emira Woods

The “Stop Kony” campaign that’s gone viral in recent days aims to spotlight the atrocities of warlord Joseph Kony in Uganda. Margaret Warner discussed the nonprofit Invisible Children’s popular “Kony 2012″ video and its ensuing criticism with the Institute for Policy Studies’ Emira Woods and Porter Novelli’s Dawn Arteaga.

Woods emphasized the ties between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Ugandan government:

We have to keep in mind Joseph Kony came into power around the same time as Museveni, the president of Uganda, who has been around since the 1980s now.

And it was really a quest for political power couched in, again, Lord’s Resistance Army, a lot of language around religion and around rights of people. But what we have seen is a real deterioration of rights, the abduction of children, as is, quite frankly, well-documented in the video.

I think what is not shown in the video is the other part of this picture, which is a Ugandan military that has also been tremendously abusive in terms of the rights of its own people.

Because of this dangerous and corrupt relationship, Woods said viewers should be careful to support any campaigns that might be perceived as support for the type of military intervention that has already been tried and failed:

It was tried before back in 2008. It was called Operation Lightning Thunder, reported well in The New York Times and elsewhere, where the U.S., using military forces, went in, and what we — working with the Ugandan military.

What we saw essentially was Ugandan civilians caught in the crossfire, huge escalation in deaths at that time, a military operation that, in fact, failed, was never reviewed, never scrutinized, and now a call for essentially young people to go all out and essentially support yet another attempt at a military intervention.