As you have certainly heard by now, the “Kony2012” video went viral over social media networks recently. The video, produced by the advocacy organization Invisible Children, has publicized the crimes of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army at an unprecedented rate. While the video has certainly raised awareness about one of the world’s most brutal war criminals, it has also drawn a loud chorus of criticism. For a taste of the conversation, check out responses from The Atlantic and the Tumblr “Visible Children,” as well Invisible Children’s response to their critics.
Many reacted strongly against the Kony2012 video because it does not mention any of the work that Ugandans, Congolese and other Africans have done to try to stop Kony and the LRA. In trying to remedy this, numerous commentators have held up Peacemaker in Action Betty Bigombe as a prime example of the individuals on the ground who have been working to bring Kony to justice for decades. Betty’s supporters include the Ugandan journalist, Rosebell Kagumire, and the Christian Science Monitor. For a round-up of African responses to Kony2012, check out this post at BoingBoing.
Betty herself told AFP that while the video has increased awareness, “we would like to see [Invisible Children] do something tangible, on the ground, in Uganda.” Read more of her comments at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1633163/supporters-of-kony-2012-answer-critics.
Hind Kabawat, Syria
Hind pondered how the liberal progressive forces, including herself, could have misread the desire of the Assad regime to reform the Syrian state peacefully “from within.” http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/01/30/hind-aboud-kabawat-the-assad-delusion/
Pastor James Wuye & Imam Ashafa, Nigeria
In light of the growing insecurity in Kaduna State, Pastor James and Imam Ashafa released a press statement to remind the public that it is wrong for any religion to be manipulated during a crisis.
Betty Bigombe, Uganda
The Enough Project interviewed Betty as part of their week of honoring women for International Women’s Day, which was March 8. Betty spoke about how being a woman has affected her work for peace and her interactions with Kony and the LRA.
Betty gave a talk, “Challenges of peace talks and mediation – Does it address the question of justice?” to the University of Oxford’s Transitional Justice Research network.
Rev. Canon Andrew White, Iraq
According to Canon White, conditions have grown worse for the Christian community following the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2012/s12020074.htm
The Majalla published an in-depth article chronicling Canon Andrew White’s work devoted to multi-faith dialogue and healing sectarian rifts in Iraq. http://www.majalla.com/eng/2012/01/article55228973
Father Sava Janjic, Kosovo (and Ivo Markovic!)
Friar Ivo Markovic had the opportunity recently to visit Father Sava at his monastery in Decani, Kosovo. Ivo spoke about the complicated situation in Kosovo at the moment and Sava’s work to help balance relations between the various ethnic and religious groups of Kosovo. In his words, Sava’s “attitudes and role in reconciliation are prophetical; we world Peacemakers may be proud that we have Sava in our group.” Check out Ivo’s photos from Kosovo here:
Father Sava spoke to Ambassador Braathu from Norway on range of topics affecting Kosovo, from the need to protect religious sites to the situation of the Serbian community. http://www.norway-kosovo.no/News_and_events/Policy/The-Talk-on-Freedom-and-Responsibility/
Yehezkel Landau, Israel/Palestine
Yehezkel recently published an essay about Jewish-Muslim relations in the 21st century on the forum, State of Formation. Read the complete essay at the link below.