News

    Anti-LRA Twitter Campaign Draws Criticism

    Joseph Kony, Lord's Resistance Army leader and one of the world's most wanted rebel chiefs (2006 file photo)
    Joseph Kony, Lord's Resistance Army leader and one of the world's most wanted rebel chiefs (2006 file photo)

    A group trying to raise awareness about the rebel Lord's Resistance Army in Africa is drawing criticism, with some questioning its purpose and tactics.

    KONY 2012 from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.

    U.S.-based Invisible Children launched a campaign on Twitter this week to bring attention to a new film on the LRA and its leader Joseph Kony, who is wanted for war crimes. The messages were among the top trending topics on the social media site Wednesday.

    But critics with the magazine Foreign Policy and several blogs say the non-profit exaggerates or misrepresents facts.  In one often-cited example, the film says the LRA has 30,000 fighters, when the real number is believed to be in the hundreds.

    Critics also say Invisible Children spends most of the money it raises on itself, is focused on self-promotion, and oversimplifies the LRA problem.

    In a response posted on its website Thursday, Invisible Children said the critics are putting out false or misleading information.  

    The group also defended its mission, saying that in addition to advocacy work, it runs education programs in the LRA's former home of northern Uganda, and a program to warn villages of impending LRA attacks in Congo and the Central African Republic.
    The critics acknowledge the atrocities committed by Kony and the LRA, which is accused of killing and mutilating tens of thousands of people across central Africa in the past 20 years. The group is notorious for kidnapping children to use as soldiers, porters and sex slaves.

    Once a powerful force in Uganda, the group has splintered into bands of fighters that continue to attack villages in remote areas.

    Last year, U.S. President Barack Obama sent 100 military personnel to the region to help Ugandan troops hunt down the remaining LRA fighters.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: Opiyo
    March 12, 2012 7:25 AM
    Trevor, you're a US national. Am Opiyo, a 26yr old Ugandan national born in Anaka the heart of the War zone, North of Uganda. What Invisible Children proposed is just as conflict entrepreneur(s) geared towards getting what can feed their families. My brothers, sisters, friends, etc died in the war. Some where killed to my opened eyes, others abducted & missing till now! Let Invisible Children make their cash monies in the move of Kony!

    by: almoros
    March 11, 2012 6:42 AM
    Thank You so much all the millions of the world hearts and minds who have been sharing the African victims their long history of survival of this Kony's groups and fighters, they really the most dagerous terrorists I have had ever seen them in a village called Trangoolo in the north east of the Central Africa Reublic in the year 2008! Kony has great uncles in the region, they ought not to be excluded!

    by: Ho Chi Minh
    March 10, 2012 6:36 PM
    Kony 2012 is rightly drawing a lot of negative publicity. I like this article, and this one too, I suggest that you all check this out:

    http://brianhconnor.blogspot.com/2012/03/konys-klub-lra-uganda-children-africa.html

    by: Chloe
    March 08, 2012 4:24 PM
    Me and my friend were giving out flyers and holding up signs in our neighborhood to raise awareness about kony

    by: Hannington
    March 08, 2012 12:05 PM
    Invisible Children cannot mention Yuweri for crime against children, that’s a clue about their mission. Kony and Yuweri are criminals. Invisible Children found a golden opportunity to make money out of misery of children. Currently war survivors,children, are dying of nodding disease; no treatment or care for them yet somebody claim to care. Feeding people with lies is something the Invisible Children should review. To betray the trust of the people who rely on them for information is wrong.

    by: Gretchen
    March 08, 2012 8:17 AM
    The film doesn't state that he there are 30000 member of his army. The film says, and I paraphrase that over the years 30000 children have been abducted and forced into submission. Watch it again.

    by: jtrevith
    March 08, 2012 7:38 AM
    For people who might have become recently interested in Uganda, the LRA, and what the US and regional actors are doing about them, I recommend this as a starting place: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/observant-compass.htm

    by: James
    March 08, 2012 7:22 AM
    @Reg_dunlop- the reason for the focus on Kony is mentioned in the film- He is number 1 on the International Criminal Court wanted list. Once he is 'brought to justice' (whatever that might entail...) the focus will move to the next on the list.

    by: Trevor
    March 08, 2012 6:37 AM
    How ironic is it that a "Voice of America" News is criticizing a movement that is taking place in the social networking world via the "voices of America" If by "spending money on themselves," You mean starting schools, providing for the poor and funding a movement to stop Kony, then yeah, they spend money on themselves. You are misinterpretting the facts.

    by: Erin C. Barr
    March 08, 2012 6:20 AM
    I had understood the 30,000 people to mean that they'd kidnapped 30,000 people in the 20 year history of the LRA, not that there were 30,000 current members.
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora