The Kony videos, especially the first one, provide a very simplistic narrative about a complex situation and offers a feel good solution that at the end of the day does nothing on the ground.
I’ve reported on Kony for a few years now, and what always disturbs me is speaking to the victims. It’s incredibly sad and most of them are very traumatized. Some of them, it should be said, have been brutalized not just by the LRA but by the armies of DRC, Sudan, and Uganda as well, so they’ve been doubly or triply victimized. They have awful stories of having to kill people by force, or be killed, of witnessing rapes, mutilations, beatings, torture. etc. And hearing small children say these things is always very disturbing.
In response to the Kony 2012 video from Invisible Children, Al Jazeera has launched a project called Uganda Speaks, which is, among other things, using the hashtag #UgandaSpeaks, (solid explainer here) to track the reactions to the film from Ugandans in Uganda.
There was a strong sense from the audience that the video was insensitive to African and Ugandan audiences, and that it did not accurately portray the conflict or the victims. Watching the film was upsetting for many audience members, and a group of viewers nodded their heads in affirmation when one viewer said, “This was very painful to watch, it brings back to me many bad memories and that is not good.”