The name is Ikhide. I am an African. This African rises to applaud Jason Russell the filmmaker, and Invisible Children, the geniuses behind the epic video Kony 2012, a riveting documentary that has now been watched by over 50 million human beings. Kony 2012 is a ringing indictment of a silent horror, of the murderous acts of a barbarian and child murderer Joseph Kony and his sick Lord’s Resistance Army, operating in Uganda and neighboring states. Please stop whatever you are doing if you care about the fate of children in this world and watch this 30-minute film. And when you are done, pay tithe to this wonderful organization that has damned the consequences to tell the truth about the shame that is happening to children in Africa. The world is silent as an indifferent political and intellectual elite sips alien wine in stolen mansions. I say to you Jason Russell, do not stop what you are doing, you are an angel. Ignore the nattering nabobs of negativity. They are experts at babbling and doing nothing to save Africa’s children.
Let me restate this to our tone deaf Western liberals and their co-opted African intellectuals: Joseph Kony’s deadly acts are being wreaked on beautiful children whose only crime is to be born in the war that Africa has become, thanks to thieving rulers and narcissistic African intellectuals. Watch the video, it is masterful. If it does not bring you to tears, nothing other than onions will. As a brilliant side benefit, it showcases the rank incompetence and barbaric greed of the African intellectual and political elite. Let me restate once more: I am an African, and I salute Jason Russell and Invisible Children for producing KONY 2012, and for shining a bright light on one of the open sores of Africa (apologies to the venerable Wole Soyinka). I said it, I mean every word, sue me please.
I have been reading on the Internet what appears to be some lame grumbling about the intentions of Russell and Invisible Children. There has been some high-minded whining about Invisible Children’s methods. You can read a sample of such pointless hand-wringing and muttering in this piece in the UK Guardian, Kony 2012 campaign: Oprah and bracelets won’t solve problem by Michael Wilkerson. The patronizing mumbling of condescending white liberals aside, I am not surprised by the loud noise making by many of my fellow African intellectuals. This is what we do best; coolly bite the fingers that feed us. It bears repeating: This über awesome video, Kony 2012, will forever be the visible face of a viral social media campaign that has raised awareness about a war against children and humanity that has been going on now for about 25 years. I say again to Russell and Invisible Children, please ignore all distractions and continue the great work that you are doing on behalf of the beautiful children of Africa. I will make bold to say that there is hardly any African intellectual on earth that has the moral right to point accusing fingers at the motives of Invisible Children. To Russell et al, I raise my fists to your industry; may you profit mightily for every child that you save.
Hurrah for Invisible Children. A snake is dead and people are wondering who killed it. Who cares? Is the snake not dead? Western liberals and African intellectuals are baying at the moon, their favorite pastime. The mess that is today’s Black Africa has been engineered by her political and intellectual elite of which I am a card-carrying member. We are a self-serving lot parading the streets of Europe and America, sipping lattes and the best wines of the world and yelling at the white man for doing for us, what we are too lazy and selfish to do for ourselves. Let me restate this: There is virtually no African intellectual of stature that is left in Africa; we and our cute children are safely ensconced in the laps of the West from where we write beautiful but insincere twaddle about the West’s obsession with the single story.
Well, the latest single story to come out of Black Africa is the mini holocaust being perpetuated on children and women by Joseph Kony, a lunatic barbarian whose Lord’s Liberation Army has been terrorizing human beings (yes human beings) in East Africa for a quarter of a century. What started out as the lunatic malarial rant of a demented woman soon turned into genocide against children and women. As many as 30,000 children have been conscripted, maimed hurt and killed according to several estimates (we will never know since Africa’s political and intellectual elite tend to loot funds that are meant for niceties like education for children and real data).
Enter Invisible Children a non-profit that is visionary and yes, controversial (who isn’t?). They come up with a brilliant concept. Make this barbaric criminal Joseph Kony famous so that he qualifies for world attention and accountability. Plaster the fool’s face all over the world, make this deadly buffoon the face of a modern day Hitler and hold him accountable. They enlist opinion and political leaders all over the world. The video clip is a hit; by the time you have read this, about 60 million enraged people would have watched it. Please, please, please, be one of this new emerging citizenry by watching it. It is only 30 minutes. You will not be the same again. It is one of the best produced videos on human suffering that I have ever watched. I broke down in tears when a child that could have been mine broke down crying begging to die so he could go be with his brother in heaven, a child who had been slaughtered by these animals. What is misleading about that?
In my Nigeria, Christians routinely murder, yes, murder children for being witches. You do not hear powerful writers complaining about that. Let a white person say a word; out comes their powerful pen in defense of Africa. This is not the first time we have risen in self-righteous indignation. A few years back, BBC produced a harrowing documentary Welcome to Lagos, about the lives of Nigerians in Makoko, the slum from hell. It documented the shame of Nigeria, of women, children and men, living and loving under conditions that would make pigs attempt a jailbreak. This spectacular work was met with derision by some of Africa’s most powerful intellectuals, most notably Wole Soyinka and Teju Cole. I am tired of this, I really am. White man, help yourself, knock yourself out, shine a light on the plight of the children of Africa. They are children too. They deserve a wholesome childhood – like my children’s. Nigeria produces geniuses like Soyinka and Cole and unspoken horrors like the witch children of Akwa Ibom. What is happening to thousands of African children is a silent genocide and we should all be ashamed of ourselves for babbling while children burn. Literally.
I ask: Where is the outrage? There is outrage alright – strangely directed at Invisible Children and those who have dared to do something even as Africa’s intellectuals mutter in their lattes at Starbucks and their friends the politicians loot everything in sight like ravenous simians. To put things in perspective, a former governor of one of Nigeria’s impoverished states, James Onanefe Ibori has just been convicted in Britain for stealing $250 million of his state’s money. $250 million! What did Ikhide and his fellow intellectuals do? Nothing! Absolutely nothing. We mumbled, said the usual nonsense and went back to drinking Argentinian wine. Think of how much that money would have done for the children of that criminal’s state. By the way, Nigeria’s anti-corruption outfit had previously declared Ibori more innocent than Mother Teresa. If you want to see what Nigerian intellectuals and politicians have done to public education in Nigeria, please visit one of their “universities” and ask a random student to write an essay. Visit one of their primary schools; in the West such a building would not qualify as a piggery. What the Nigerian elite steal from each child annually is what the West genuinely spends on each child’s education. Let us stop fooling ourselves. We need help and I welcome those who are trying to help. And to those carping about the methods of Invisible Children, I remind you, we say to the deity, Orisa, if you cannot help us, do not hurt us, get out of the way.
For the avoidance of doubt, Joseph Kony is more than a thug, he is a mass murderer who must be found and destroyed. Uganda’s Museveni regime (yes, it is a regime pretending to be a democracy) crows that Kony is not a problem in Uganda anymore because he had been driven into another country. We are not talking about Mars, we are talking about another hapless African country being ruined by yet another incompetent buffoon. If the man has 300 children in his custody, that is 300 children too many. That should be unacceptable to every one of us. Drop your intellectual pretensions, help a child today.
The hypocrisy around this issue is galling. The columnist Max Fisher, writing the piece The Soft Bigotry of Kony 2012 cannot quite make up his mind about the video and the intentions of Invisible Village. He makes assertions that reek of Western liberal arrogance and condescension. Hear him: “The viral video campaign reinforces a dangerous, centuries-old idea that Africans are helpless and that idealistic Westerners must save them.” Dear Mr. Fisher, I have news for you, Africans are helpless many thanks to their irresponsible, thieving leaders, many of them PhDs from Ivy League schools. Africans will take help from Wal-Mart, Oprah, anybody with a wallet and/or a conscience. Because no one else is coming to their aid in the war on them by black intellectuals and politicians. Interestingly Teju Cole and Fisher engaged in some sort of Twitter banter that is fascinating only in the sense that no one is listening to the other. Cole’s tweets collate into whiny poetry, beautiful but not saying more than we already know about white privilege:
“Feverish worry over that awful African warlord. But close to 1.5 million Iraqis died from an American war of choice. Worry about that. From Sachs to Kristof to Invisible Children to TED, the fastest growth industry in the US is the White Savior Industrial Complex. This world exists simply to satisfy the needs—including, importantly, the sentimental needs—of white people and Oprah. The white savior supports brutal policies in the morning, founds charities in the afternoon, and receives awards in the evening. The White Savior Industrial Complex is not about justice. It is about having a big emotional experience that validates privilege. I deeply respect American sentimentality, the way one respects a wounded hippo. You must keep an eye on it, for you know it is deadly.”
Teju Cole is spot on. The West is a big bowl of hypocrisy. So what? Invisible Children can’t win; if they had put a cute picture of my cute son asking the question that the cute white kid asked, they would have been accused of being patronizing. If you don’t like their video, go make your own. I am not holding my breath. Let Invisible Children tell our story the only way they know how, warts and all! Lord knows, Ikhide and his club of fellow intellectuals only lift their arms to grab a Malbec.
Yes, I said it. With democracy as a pretense black leaders are getting away with murder. Literally. White liberals are guilty of double standards – white leaders go to jail for misusing a credit card, African rulers, certified wife beaters, murderers and kleptomaniacs are paraded on the world stage as statesmen. If they were white they would be paraded in front of the world as jail birds. It is time to stop the silliness. Joseph Kony must be stopped, dead or alive, preferably dead. I have one suggestion to make. Invisible Children should put a $10,000 ransom on Joseph Kony’s head, anything more than that is too much, his mother will deliver him any way you want, dead, alive, sautéed, drawn and quartered. We are like that, we don’t ask for much to throw one of our own under the bus. I said it, sue me.
As an aside, it is interesting that folks are now rifling through the financial statements of Invisible Children, calculating how much per dollar they actually spent on a “helpless African child.” Who cares? Those that have not held the thousands of NGOs in Black Africa and Haiti accountable are now baying at the moon. I say leave Invisible Children alone. Every dollar that they spend on a child in Africa is a dollar truly spent that will not be spent by any African NGO that I know of.
Back to the buffoon Joseph Kony: The children of Africa need help desperately; those that have been hurt could use the closure from bringing this man to justice dead or alive and liberals are engaged in hand-wringing psychobabble. Not so for Western liberals and their African intellectual sidekicks. For them ideology trumps common sense. President Bush the Republican had a well-funded, thoughtful policy toward Africa (President Barack Hussein Obama’s has been largely incoherent by the way, he is too focused on re-election and so he is ashamed of Africa). As a result, we saw the dramatic results in Aids abatement (the Lazarus effect happened mainly because Bush flooded the region with funding). You don’t hear liberals giving him credit for anything other than his disastrous foray into wars. On the other hand, President Clinton dismissed the Rwandan holocaust because according to him Rwanda is of no strategic significance to the United States. For such silliness, he is revered in pantheons of the liberal left. Sometimes you want to holler.
We may quibble with the methods of Invisible Children but they have been hugely successful. Thanks to their energy, passion, intellect and doggedness, 50 million people have engaged in a Civics lesson about a part of Africa that would have been neglected. They have also fostered a useful debate about the nature of giving etc. Russell and Invisible Children have shown us the face of the new world and it is populated by citizens without walls. They have forced President Obama to commit and deploy troops to East and Central Africa to help an incompetent regime root out a thug and a mass murderer. What is wrong with that?
Thanks to Russell and Invisible Children, the world has an opportunity to give back to Africans the humanity that is being denied them daily by narcissists who call themselves rulers and thinkers. I say lustily, a pox on all their houses. And as for avuncular patronizing Western liberals, maybe this video will begin to cure them of their condescending avuncular double standards. Now I have to run to go buy me a Kony 2012 Action kit. Please buy one. It is only $30. I am an African. I approve this message.
Max Fisher: The Soft Bigotry of Kony 2012
Max Fisher: The Bizarre and Horrifying Story of the Lord’s Resistance Army
Max Fisher: Why Is Obama Sending Troops Against the Lord’s Resistance Army?
Elizabeth Flock: Invisible Children responds to criticism about ‘Stop Kony’ campaign
Joshua Keating Guest post: Joseph Kony is not in Uganda (and other complicated things)
Kate Cronin-Furman & Amanda Taub – Solving War Crimes With Wristbands: The Arrogance of ‘Kony 2012’
Russ Feingold: Fighting the Lord’s Resistance Army Will Take More Than Guns
Polly Curtis: Kony 2012: what’s the real story?
15 thoughts on “Hurrah for Kony 2012 and Africa’s Invisible Children”
Great article, I wrote my thoughts on the issue too which I ended;
“I choose to cut Invisible Children some slack because they have been on ground in Uganda for almost 10 years and there were a couple of Ugandan politicians and other local voices represented in the Kony 2012 video. Also, Ugandan military and intelligence will no doubt benefit from the training and assistance from the US military.
Finally, we cannot lose sight of the fact that Kony is a criminal, he is a part of an ongoing war, and he needs to be arrested.”
Mr. Ikheloa said it all.
Hire ships to set all the citizens without walls, white and black, all those who feel strongly about Kony, ashore someplace from where y’all can march into Central Africa to hunt the bastard. Have the courage of your convictions.
If the Ugandan government is all you say it is, and the Obama administration, too, relying on them seems to be no more than a clever way to pass the buck right back.
It’s been so long since the last of the real Crusades.
Does the African-child loving Ikhide know the cost of an intervention war in arresting this Kony? Does he know that the same children will be killed? Does this Ikhide know about the initiatives of the Acholi in saving their children? Does he? Does Ikhide care about the many victims of the war who are condemning the video? Does Ikhide know about the peace negotiators who managed to secure a piece of peace in the region? Does, Ikhide care about this? Isn’t this jumping onto a bandwagon to settle scores imagined and real with a certain elite without considering the real people about whom this debate is? Does Ikhide know about the history of calls for arrests of Kony before? Does he know about the ultimatums given and the cost in human life that has come with them? Does Ikhide want to stop and listen to the sons and daughters of Acholi who have lived through this and know what suits them best? What does that say of Ikhide?
A snake is dead. Why are we asking who killed it? Does it matter?
I mean, pardon my lack if finess but: BAM!
You’ve taken a brave step with this article my friend. Liberals and intellectuals have no pleasure in being called to the carpet by one si dark as you or I. Bravo on a work well written!
I am an ACHOLI from the Kony-torn region, Ikhide R. Ikheloa and agree with you 100%. But I have been labeled an Acholi without pride because Russell has dehumanized Acholi children by making Kony 2012. I don’t get this logic at all. I might never get it! In my simple mind, I thought Russell only exposed the de-humaniztion by Kony and his LRA team. (What is missing in the film though is the M7 and his team’s de-humanizing of the same people too.)
Like you, I am so so so tired of African elites trying to show their cleverness by attacking any ‘Mzungu’ initiative in Africa. It reminds of of the Ugandan opposition simply opposing anything government, even those that are positive.
I heard the same noise when the film ‘The Last King of Scotland’ was made. ‘Why is Mzungu telling our stories and misrepresenting us?’ And I ask: why haven’t you, in all this time, told the story then, the right way you believe so?
25 YEARS OF WAR AND THE WORST ACTUAL DEHUMANIZATION THAT MAKES RUSSELL’S FILM VERY UNDERSTATED, ESPECIALLY FOR US WHO LIVED IN THE WAR AND NONE OF THESE NOISE MAKERS DID ANYTHING OF VALUE AND ARE QUICK TO YAP AT RUSSELL.
Why anyone should in the first place expect another filmmaker or artist for that matter to make a film or tell a story according to their own perspective other than the perspective of the filmmaker/artist is beyond my comprehension.
LIKE YOU, IKHIDE, I AM TIRED OF HEARING THE SAME ANTI-WEST RANTS SINCE I BECOME A LITERATURE STUDENT IN HIGH SCHOOL! AND IT IS NOT LIKE WE ARE DOING WAY BETTER THAN THE MZUNGU WE CRITICIZE NOW THAT WE HAVE ‘INDEPENDENCE!
I think most Ugandans are more worried about our most recent discovered oil and how America can use this to come ‘steal’ it than the awareness the IC film has done-not that I support US troupe intervention. It’s a complex situation. Fighting war with war! Tough one!!!
why should i believe that an internet movement would drive a rebel leader out of the forest? Why do i have a feeling that kony is probably tweeting about himself right now under a pseudonym
I thought that Kony died in 2006.
This video is about NGOs and propaganda about Africa. I was disgusted about the meaningless video. I watch the firs two minutes, and turned the darn thing off!
The United States of America is busy killing children in Iraq, Libya, and all over the world, while the NGOs are busy making propaganda video about Kony and saving Children in Africa. Who is saving who?
This writer should visit his local juvenile halls and psychiatric hospitals to see institution racism on minority children…Most of these kids are on psychotropic medications and they will never recover from the abuse…Enough said.
Great to hear your opinions on this. Always great to hear more opinions. I think it’s easy to point out the issues but you are right – what are people doing that is actually helping too. Thanks for reminding us all what is important!
I remember hearing about the BBC documentary and trying to locate it to no avail, by the way, so thank you for mentioning it again and providing a link.
This writer is seeking attention. Eventhough, he is making a point, he got it wrong in his article by painting his country and entire Africa black as if nothing good has ever come from Africa.
Some of his references are not necessary and had no causal link to his position. I have lived in Nigeria for over sixteen years now. Issue of wichcraft reported in some part of Akwa Ibom was painted as if Christians in the entire south west, south east, south south kill children. What a fallacy.
Busy screaming that people can sue him. I am of the same view that Kony be brought to face justice but will never claim that any African will fish him out with your condition of monetary reward. You indicted your race and advertised your ignorant of Africa
The effect of your article is that the west will read it, believe you and treat you like u painted us from Africa. If you think they will look for the writer as an exception to the general treatment, then you are joking.
As usual you’ve hit the nail on the head, Ikhide. I certainly agree with the purpose behind the Kony 2012 campaign. Kony is a criminal that need to be arrested and tried for his crimes.
kony should be condoned we cannot allow such an evil act in our african land, lets just get rid of those who want to undermine africans because of their skin color we all humans.
so Joseph Kony is retired now- at least from Uganda – so we should leave him alone. Riiight. sound argument. Shame on israel for hunting down war criminals that tortured, gassed and performed sick experiments on their people years after the war was over. So had hitler retired to sunny climes- we should have just let him be- because he would no longer be the threat he once was.
i rediscovered the use of my tear ducts yesterday, last used 12 years ago after my brother died, and prior to that 18 years ago when i was unfortunate enough to tip over a weeks worth of ground tomato and my mother took a rubber slipper to my butt. bless her. so in 18 years ive cried three times. and no- it wasnt the Kony2012 video that did it. it was the Wikipedia listing for the subject of that video Joseph Kony. past the glamour and shine and propaganda of the video, the very reality of this mans crimes in that Wikipedia listing , tales of mass abductions of 13-16 year olds, beatings with clubs and machetes and bicycle chains, the rape of children, the murder of families, is enough to move anyone to tears. and this is what the Kony2012 movement is about. Finding one man, stopping his activities, bringing him to justice. it is not about uganda, or africa, it is about one man who needs to pay for crimes unspeakable.
because our intellectuals feel the need to weigh in on every hot topic to re-establish their superiority over the rest of us they fail to see that sometimes its okay to just agree. because they know that the voice of dissent is always the loudest voice, and loud brings publicity, publicity enhances image, image sells books.
if you follow Teju Cole on twitter you will understand when i say there is no difference between him and Jason Russell. he tweets little poetic slices of grief that show his cleverness as a writer but other than that does nothing really to advocate change. Teju Cole tweets, Jason Russell makes videos. videos that get 70 million hits in a week. videos that get people talking. videos that might put a war criminal who rapes 13 year olds out of business. and that my dear friends, can never be a bad thing.
let us stop making white people colonial apologists who feel guilty when they help and feel guilty when they dont, let us stop being freedom fighters of african sovereignty and pride when children are being murdered and raped. i dont care if its the chinese, the indians or the americans that arrest Kony or better still murder him. yes i said it. no matter who does it, he needs to be brought to justice.
Jason Russell has an issue. Joseph Kony. Arrest Him.
if our intellectuals have bigger issues of saving the world, and uganda, and education, and protecting pride and oil, they should make a video.
Youtube is free.
Excellent stuff. Chukky’s comment = icing on the cake
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