Earlier this week, local Republican Congressman Ed Royce, alongside Democrat Jim McGovern, introduced a resolution supporting further U.S. interventionism in the name of stopping Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). In a press release, Royce said:
“Last week, an unprecedented Internet campaign brought the attention of tens of millions of Americans to the atrocities the LRA is committing. This resolution builds on past legislation and the current campaign by giving an added focus to these atrocities on children and efforts to stop them.”
The senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a former Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa was, of course, making reference to the Invisible Children organization, co-founded by Jason Russell, who earlier this month put out a problematic YouTube 30-minute video on Kony urging people to “raise awareness” and if so inclined, buy action kits including posters and bracelets while tweeting #StopKony. As of this writing “Kony 2012” has amassed over 80 million views. Although, when screened in Northern Uganda, rocks, not tomatoes, were thrown!
The film has been ultra-scrutinized for being an oversimplified and misleading portrayal of the situation. Others have uncovered the covert Christian fundamentalist underpinnings of the organization not made apparent in the film while its finances have been subject to unfavorable criticism. My personal favorite comes from a Good News interview with IC’s Jedidiah Jenkins. Asked about the ‘White Savior’ undertow of the whole endeavor, he responded, in part, “It has nothing to do with race and it has nothing to do with neo-colonialism. This has to do with us having the resources to help fight for people who don’t have resources.” Um, racism and neo-colonialism has more than a little something to do with how those resources were allocated in such a manner in the first place! Good grief!
All that aside, the solution put forth by the Kony film is a call for increased U.S. intervention in the region in tandem with the human rights abusing Ugandan army in order to bring the warlord to the International Criminal Court — which the U.S. has never and most likely will never sign onto itself! Congressman Royce’s resolution shamelessly piggybacks off the viral video’s popularity in self-congratulation for previous efforts while calling for stepped-up meddling in the region and for that I simply #SMH.
[*NOTE: This was introduced before news surfaced of Russell’s bizarre alleged public fapping incident in San Diego. How that changes things, I don’t know, but Lake Forest mega-church Pastor Rick Warren, one of the celebs courted by the film, has tweeted followers urging them to pray.]