Thursday, March 15, 2012


So here's the thing, our ropey internet remains unable to play the KONY2012 documentary.  On Tuesday I left the YouTube link to download and after 5hrs it had still only managed to eat into 12 of 30 minutes of film.  I was frustrated but not surprised, this is how things roll over here.  I hit replay and was left with a static stop-start-stop screening.  After 10 long minutes I had to admit defeat and switch it off.

Invisible Children have created a social media phenomenon.  From what I saw the editing is slick and the visuals appeal to a young and techno savvy generation.  With more than a staggering 100 million views it goes without saying that KONY2012 has become the most viral video of all time.  More people than I would ever have thought possible are now aware of one of the most brutal rebel groups in Africa.

The critics have been out with their knives whilst the supporters are flying the flag for the huge awareness the campaign has generated.  As the saying goes, 'there is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.'  However I do believe with what has been said by many, that Invisible Children have oversimplified a complicated geopolitical struggle.  From reading articles on the debate they also failed to criticise the Ugandan Government and lets not forget, as many of my friends have discussed, Uganda now has oil which throws a barrow load of questions up into the air - is the US involvement a smokescreen for bigger things?

It's one thing to talk about KONY2012 globally, but what about the local people on the ground?  Out of interest I chatted with our Ugandan cleaner Madrin and asked if she had heard anyone talking about Joseph Kony on the radio or in the paper?  She looked at me oddly and said 'eh no, what has happened?'  I told her about the film and her response was a shrug of the shoulders followed by, 'but why?  Uganda is safe now.' 

I asked Huzo our young Ugandan gardener what he'd heard on the streets or in the clubs and he told me he hadn't heard anything and anyway at the weekend he had been with friends watching the Manchester United game.  Joshua our Ugandan night watchman was confused - I don't think he's ever seen a computer let alone YouTube.  He rattled on about how the LRA were no longer here, that Ugandan's are proud people and no one likes to live in the past.

Invisible Children's documentary remains a hot topic and whether it achieves its goal of having Kony arrested and tried by the International Criminal Court before the end of 2012 remains to be seen.  On the flip side here is something absolutely worth watching, The Thing That Happend.  It's a beautiful piece of storytelling that highlights how hopeful the people in the north of Uganda are - this  is one film (after a while of waiting on a poor internet) I have been able to watch and for that I am thankful. 

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