Kony2012 is clearly on everyone’s mind at the moment. The 30 minute video which has gone drastically viral is definitely stirring debate around its main message and goals. Many have asked STOP THE TRAFFIK to share their opinion so here is what we think.
We have long been aware of the issue of child soldiers as these children are recruited by the means of coercion (abducted from their homes by the LRA) for the use of exploitation (forced to become soldiers often fighting with machetes and subjected to constant psychological and physical abuse). These children are trafficked. What Kony2012 is achieving in terms of raising global awareness on this issue is great. It has done a fantastic job in promoting for the rights of Ugandan children, highlighting the conflict and providing noticeable benefits to survivors of LRA brutality.
It is difficult for STOP THE TRAFFIK to give a clear opinion on the video itself, its glossiness is a choice of style and when it comes to its message – well we just don’t have enough up to date information to judge whether what they’re saying is entirely truthful and that’s also not our role. What we do consider is that the LRA poses a stark dilemma to the people of northern Uganda as it is now composed primarily of child soldiers, most of whom were abducted and forced to commit atrocities. So one has to be careful when it comes to labeling them as ‘victims’ or ‘perpetrators’ because they are often both. What’s more the LRA is or has not only been active in Uganda but also in the DRC, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. Undeniably we all want Kony to be stopped but as any cases of human trafficking, we need to address this issue as a whole rather than focus on one single person. Kony2012 is useful and interesting – but please do not limit your understanding of the issue simply to the video itself. Check our case study activity related to child soldiers on our website under teacher’s resources and find out more about child soldiers on http://www.child-soldiers.org/home.