(SNARK MODE ON) As you well know, Tommunisms has for decades pointed out the atrocities occurring in Uganda by Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army, a group of terrorists (or as he says, “freedom fighters”) who have engaged in barbarous acts in the name of establishing a theocracy (based on the Ten Commandments, no less) in the incredibly corrupt African nation of Uganda, as well as stirring up trouble in the Congo, South Sudan, and Sudan. Only now, has the bandwagon jumpers Invisible Children and director Jason Russell attempted to make some noise about a man whose army consists of abducted children who are abused, mutilated and sometimes are sex slaves, and now the internet has taken notice. (END SNARK: BEGIN RANT)
When Twitter, Facebook and even Pinterest (for God’s sake) suddenly pop up with overnight supporters of the plight of African children, it does make ones cynical radar go up. Besides the fact that it speaks of the misguided power of fauxtivism, one has to wonder about the surge of this anti-Kony effort.
At face value, raising awareness of atrocities is good. I’d wager most Americans wouldn’t be able to tell you much about the Lord’s Resistance Army before this week, or about the man behind it. So if this internet “movement” gets people to look Kony up on Wikipedia, is that itself a bad thing? Not at all, even if the outrage produces no action on their part. Tommunisms always believes knowing more about the world that happens outside of your own personal sphere is good. But what good will come out of this awareness, in the case of the current Kony campaign? Well, the non-profit group Invisible Children would certainly like to take your donation. The problem with that, however, is that the organization may just be a little shady, since the group won’t permit independent auditing, is rated low in accountability by Charity Navigator, and has been criticized by the Better Business Bureau. Accusations of the money raised supporting the Ugandan governement’s army, and pictures of the group’s founders posing with members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army don’t provide a lot of reassurance. While Kony isn’t really active in Uganda anymore, the Uganda military or the Sudan PLA aren’t virtuous organizations either. And the Ugandan government itself is pretty high up on the list of corrupt nations. But will the Western world support the Ugandan government in fighting the LRA? The question you really have to ask yourself is: “Do they have oil?”. And the answer is yes…
A 2009 article on the Guardian talks about the newly discovered and potentially vast oil deposits, with possibly 1.5 billion barrels or more in potential exploitable deposits. And “exploitable” is the key. While the revenues could potentially raise the standard of living for all in Uganda (most live on less than a $1.25 a day) , given the fact that the government is corrupt, we will likely see history repeat itself in the creation of an oil-rich-but-people-poor nation. Refineries will displace 30,000 residents in the Hoima district, for example, and will not be reloacted into luxury condos. But for the vested interests in the extraction of the oil (including the Chinese), it doesn’t really matter if the government there is benevolent and not corrupt, it just has to be stable . The Lord’s Resistance Army represents a barrier to that stability. So, when the West gets involved with corrupt governments and armies and the equally, if not more, horrendous, terrorist groups that oppose said governments, you can imagine whose side the West will support: those who can best get that oil flowing.
Right now, the U.S.’s official support for Uganda means the deployment of 100 troops to help them fight the rebels there. Of course, our government denies it’s just because of the oil.
A senior Defense official says the 100 military personnel will be mostly Special Operations Forces and that they “will be traveling out to field locations in the areas affected by the LRA where they can interact with and advise those forces that are actively pursuing the LRA.” The official stressed, “they will not be engaging in direct combat against the LRA.” (Source: ABC News)
With campaigns like Invisible Children’s “Kony 2012″, many people may stage their faux protests on social media and demand more of the U.S in combating this evil. And if the U.S. involvement is to increase, you can sure as hell bet that you will be hearing more stories about the “evils” being committed towards innocent women and children in that area of Africa.
Where has the outrage been for the past two decades or so? Well, we didn’t know about the oil back then!
So what’s a concerned citizen of the world to do? That, my friends, is tough to say. But perhaps you can start by finding a more reputable organization than Invisible Children. You can look up such groups here at Charity Navigator. And if you feel really good about yourself for doing so, by all means, post it on your Facebook timeline, and perhaps we can prove the phrase ”no good deed goes unpunished” wrong…