After the global uproar over the controversial "Kony 2012" video, someone finally decided ask Ugandans what they think about it. They weren't pleased.
Since the rural areas of Northern Uganda where Joseph Kony did some of his worst damage don't have internet access, almost none of the 77 million YouTube views of the "Stop Kony" campaign video belong to the people who should be most directly affected by it. An NGO working in the area decided to set up a public screening in the town of Lira so that locals could see it for themselves. Many of those who came out to see the film are either veterans or victims of the Lord's Resistance Army with first-hand experience of the terror and violence of the region (and the scars to show for it.) As this Al Jazeera video report shows, they weren't happy with Invisible Children's treatment of their story.
Naturally, the biggest complaint about the video is that the people of Uganda aren't actually in it. A huge chunk of the video is just a white guy talking to his son (or other white people), which is understandably baffling to those who actually lived through the tale it's supposed to be telling. As reporter Malcolm Webb puts it: "As the film progresses, puzzlement turns to anger." The screening eventually ends when people start throwing rocks and the crowd scatters.
The people of Uganda hate Joseph Kony just as much as the rest of the world now does — and have more right than anyone else to do so — but even they can see the problem with trying to raise awareness through soon-to-be-ironic t-shirts.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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