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Kony 2012, Trayvon Martin, & the Hypocrisy of Selective Activism

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I’m disturbed when I see Black folks organizing in the interest of justice for an innocent 17-year-old kid killed by a white man in Florida, while simultaneously undermining the efforts of a “white man,” to bring Joseph Kony to justice for crimes against thousands of innocent children in Uganda. I think there’s a word for this in the dictionary; but, I’m not sure just exactly what that word might be right now. But hey, that’s just me being idealistic, I suppose. Be that as it may, here’s a few words from another white man about the Kony 2012 campaign that may or may not mean anything  to it’s many detractors. Many of whom I’m sure are now embarrassed to have once sung “We Are The World” while holding a liighter in the air, in support of starving kids in Ethiopia at one point in time:

Kony is Africa’s most notorious militia leader.  During a decade-long campaign of intimidation in northern Uganda, Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) kidnapped tens of thousands of children and youth for use as soldiers and sex slaves. The conflict displaced more than a million people into camps. Kony and his commanders were eventually chased into the ungoverned border region between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan. The LRA is now diminished and on the run. But it still conducted more than 300 attacks last year, generating fear and instability far beyond its numbers.

The effort to bring Kony to justice is broad. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted him for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Both Presidents George W. Bush and Obama made the pursuit of Kony a priority. In 2010, the U.S. Congress passed the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, urging the apprehension of LRA leaders and the protection of civilians. On the ground, regional armies are cooperating with United Nations peacekeepers and US special forces to corner Kony and his lieutenants.

[…] Some criticism has been directed against Invisible Children, an organization that can speak in its own defense (and has). But a broader case is also being made against the global campaign to stop Kony. The crimes of the LRA, it is argued, have been exaggerated and the attention they are receiving is disproportionate.

It is probably true (thank goodness) that Kony’s greatest crimes are in the past. He is no longer active in Uganda, where even his northern tribal allies turned against him. Attacks in eastern Congo and southern CAR are mainly raids for supplies instead of mass atrocities. But this is precisely because the LRA is under constant pressure. When Kony attempts to gather his forces – as he did in September in CAR – his Ugandan army pursuers are quickly on top of him. Obama has deployed more than 80 special operations forces in the region to help coordinate these operations.

Even a diminished Kony is dangerous. And the evil of the man himself can scarcely be exaggerated. In Uganda, I’ve met former LRA child soldiers who were forced to kill their own parents and neighbors in order to sever their ties to community and sympathy. I met a young man who looked at Kony without permission and had his eye removed in punishment. In January, I met two girls in the DRC who had recently escaped from LRA captivity. They had been used as sex slaves and pack animals – punished, when they tried to escape, by having melted plastic poured on their shoulders. All Kony’s victims – past and present – deserve to see justice done.

[…] People are interested in Kony’s fate because of the scale of his past crimes and the vividness of his evil. But the LRA problem also attracts attention because a resolution is within reach. Kony is a cult-like figure, with a mystical hold over his followers. Removing him from the scene would likely result in the collapse of the LRA as an organized group. The net around Kony, with American help, is tightening. Even a little additional effort might make all the difference. The LRA may not be the biggest problem in the world, but it is a serious problem on the verge of solution.

The criticism is sometimes made of advocacy groups – on Darfur, or conflict minerals, or the LRA – that they oversimplify complex issues. This charge is often leveled by foreign policy experts who multiply complexity for a living. One gets the impression they would rather ignore meddling idealists and write their white papers in peace.  But experts and advocates both have important roles. The views of experts should inform the policies of public officials. But advocates help to push officials toward decision and action. When I was in government, strong outside advocacy made my job as an internal advocate easier. It revealed a constituency for urgency.

The pursuit of Kony is urgent. The effort is both bipartisan and multilateral. And the hunt is closing in.

Trayvon Martin died innocently at the hands of someone else through no fault of his own – that’s the story for now, at least. As such, him and his family deserves justice; and, many are doing what they can to ensure that they do through online petitions, and other forms of collective activism. Nowhere do we see anyone questioning the need for justice, or at minimum the arrest of the gentleman who killed him. How dare would anyone question or even suggest that his death was justified. Hell, he was an unarmed teen stopped by a neighborhood watchman for being black and in the wrong community at the wrong time. Hardly a crime punishable by death here in the U.S. last time I checked; but hey, this is America. This is not how we’re supposed to do things in this country, no?

Of course I’ve never lived in Uganda; and I could be wrong, but I think even over there, kidnapping kids and turning them into little mini-armies all the while brutalizing them is kinda wrong. OK, so maybe it’s not as big of a deal as being killed by a white man for walking in a neighborhood armed with a pack of Skittles. But that’s probably because you haven’t seen the Kony 2012 video just yet. Be that as it may or may not be, the however many thousands of children brutalized by Joseph Kony in Uganda deserve every bit of justice much in the same way that Trayvon Martin does. But maybe I’m wrong; maybe you’re willing to defend Joseph Kony like Rush Limbaugh did on his show; but hey, maybe Limbaugh should defend the death of Trayvon so all can be right with the world…

Where is the Justice for Trayvon Martin?

After all, isn’t an injustice anywhere a threat to justice everywhere? In this information age now reduced reduced to one hundred and forty character twwets and status updates. Isn’t it awesome that the world is a lot smaller, and that we’re all interconnected? And through the magic of social networking, irrespective of race, creed, or color, that we can all come together and make a difference in our own small but significant way? Isn’t it a beautiful thing that collectively we can speak for the voiceless in he interest of freedom, justice, and equality for all?

Watch the following to learn more:

 
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Written by:

Published on: March 12, 2012

Filled Under: Justice, Politics

Views: 1250

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  • http://heavyarmor.wordpress.com Heavy Armor

    I’m always wary of International Campaigns that focus on things like this.  Especially in “Faraway Lands” (Almost Always in Africa or the Far East).  Mostly because there are other agendas at work.

    So when things like this appear, the first thing I try to look for is “Who is Bringing This to the Forefront.”  The follow-up is why.

    And, sure enough, there was something afoot with this:

    http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2012/03/11/invisible-children-funded-by-antigay-creationist-christian-right/

    And, like everything that Americans cry Braveheart about, there is always more to things than meets the eye:

    http://www.salon.com/2012/03/12/the_trouble_with_crowd_sourced_intervention/

    AND

    http://www.salon.com/2012/03/12/kony2012_the_danger_of_simplicity/

    This is simply an updated playbook from Gulf War I (the Kuwati Incubator Baby Hoax), only packaged for Facebook, Twitter, and their brethren.  The editing, of course, is selective; the story, incomplete.  But the aim is clear:  To use American guns on another country filled with Brown people for selfish aims.

     
  • http://heavyarmor.wordpress.com Heavy Armor

    Another article that explains how KONY2012 is more Scam than “Cry for Help”:

    http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/social-media-scam-alert-top-ten-ways-tell-kony-phony

    This one brings many of the Red Flags about the campaign into focus.

    Ultimately, what is happening in the Ugandan region is an atrocity.  The biggest problem with KONY2012 is that it attempts to leave out some of those atrocities because they are being committed by those supported by the US [at this time].  So, instead of ending the killings and bringing those leaders to justice, KONY2012 only aims to take out one set killers to replace them with another set of killers; and the only difference is that the newer set happens to agree with the US – as long as we ship them guns and money.

     
  • Keegs

    people don’t get shot for no reason. clearly he was being provocative and causing a problem, otherwise there would have been no shooting. Not taking sides but both of them messed up

     
    • http://rippdemup.com/ RiPPa

      Everyone has the right to defend themselves.

       
  • JJ

    Really? The video was 2006, why now? Oil reserve recently found play a part? No its the BS sentimentality and this activism as self-actualization that’s the problem”I got a lot of emails about Trayvon.  I have read a lot of articles.  I have seen a lot of television segments.  The message is consistent.  Most of the commentators, writers, op-ed pages agree.  Something went wrong.  Trayvon was murdered.  Racially profiled. Race. America’s elephant that never seems to leave the room. But, the part that doesn’t sit well with me is that all of the messengers of this message are all black too.  I mean, it was only two weeks ago when almost every white person I knew was tweeting about stopping a brutal African warlord from killing more innocent children.  And they even took thirty minutes out of their busy schedules to watch a movie about dude.  They bought t-shirts.  Some bracelets. Even tweeted at Rihanna to take a stance.  But, a 17 year old American kid is followed and then ultimately killed by a neighborhood vigilante who happens to be carrying a semi-automatic weapon and my white friends are quiet.  Eerily quiet. Not even a trending topic for the young man”Read more: http://globalgrind.com/node/828497#ixzz1plxxtLKp

     
  • Me112233

    Don’t you get it?  When a black man is the one doing the killing, black folks just shrug their shoulders and then start complaining about the mean Republicans wanting to cut their food stamps.  The abusing/killing of black kids by a black man just doesn’t fit the template, so the activist will not engage.  If there ever way a foreign military target worthy of intervention, Kony is it.  Still, Obama just isn’t intersted in it; he would rather get involved in the Treyvon case, even as we still don’t have all the facts to make a complete judgment on the matter (and when we do havve all the facts, we can be reasonably assured that the justice system will appropriately respond, even if a bit slow).  On the other hand, Kony has tons of evidence of his guilt that says he ought to be taken out; and Obama actually has the authority to order military action against Kony.  Obama doesn’t have any authority in the Treyvon case, as manslaughter/murder is a state (Florida) crime in this situation, and the President can’t do much more than sit by and watch.

     
  • Allseasonsmaintenancellc

    Zimmerman was Hispanic. Stop calling him white. Stop using Race to get what you want. If he shot a white kid would you have the same rage? No, you would all say, ‘he’s white, he got what he deserved.’ Don’t act like reverse racism doesn’t exist. I have wore hoodie sweatshirts all of my life. Stop making the hoodie a black thing. It’s not.