Two Interesting Stories That Came Out of the Kony Video

March 19, 2012
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I’ve been pondering what to write about the Invisible Children/Joseph Kony campaign without repeating what’s already been said about things like simplified storytelling. I also don’t want to get into writing about Invisible Children co-founder Jason Russell’s recent troubles, though I do feel compassion for him. Instead, I’d like to highlight two interesting stories that came out of the Kony video and gave voice to the real situation in Northern Uganda, something that I think the Kony video didn’t do well enough. Do you have other perspectives you can share?

1. Al-Jazeera’s story on Ugandans’ reaction to the Kony video

The African Youth Initiative Network, an NGO that helps war victims in Uganda, screened Invisible Children’s film last week. The reaction was not positive. As Malcolm Webb wrote on Al-Jazeera’s blog:

“People I spoke to anticipated seeing a video that showed the world the terrible atrocities that they had suffered during the conflict, and the ongoing struggles they still face trying to rebuild their lives after two lost decades.

The audience was at first puzzled to see the narrative lead by an American man – Jason Russell – and his young son.

Towards the end of the film, the mood turned more to anger at what many people saw as a foreign, inaccurate account that belittled and commercialised their suffering, as the film promotes Kony bracelets and other fundraising merchandise, with the aim of making Kony infamous.”

2. Guernica Magazine’s “Northern Uganda, Visible”

This photography gallery from Guernica Magazine aims to show what was not shown in the Kony video – people living real lives in Northern Uganda. American photographer Glenna Gordon curated and edited the pictures and included the written thoughts of each photographer. I only wish more African photographers had been included besides Edward Echwalu.

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