Some resources on the Invisible Children controversy

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

When I shared the Invisible Children’s now-viral Kony 2012 video on the blog this morning, I had no idea it would be so controversial. At first I was surprised, then frustrated, then—after hearing from so many of you—strangely encouraged by the fact that we’re actually getting passionate and worked up about something that matters! 

If you haven’t already heard, the charity Invisible Children launched a campaign this week to make Joseph Kony, the Ugandan leader of the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) famous. By making Kony famous, they hope to mobilize millions to pressure Washington to continue assisting the Ugandan government in their efforts to hunt down and arrest Kony for his war crimes against children.

It was Invisible Children that first made me aware of the plight of child soldiers around the world, and so I’ve always been sympathetic to their cause.  However, some have raised legitimate concerns about Invisible Children’s strategy and finances, suggesting that IC may do more to hurt the situation than help it. 

This is an important conversation to have, and I’m convinced we can have it without questioning one another’s motives or resorting to personal attacks.  I think it’s safe to assume that the overwhelming majority of those who have devoted their time and money to trying to help families suffering injustice have done so out of compassion and a sincere desire to help.   We can’t let naivety on the one hand or cynicism on the other prevent us from seeking a peaceful resolution to this conflict. 

So with that in mind, here are some of the most helpful resources shared by readers on Twitter, Facebook, and the blog.

I’ll be updating this as new ones come in, so be sure to check back. 


The New York Times: Topics/Archives, “Lord’s Resistance Army

The Washington Post: “Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army: A Primer

The New York Times: Video, “On the Hunt for Joseph Kony

Foreign Affairs: “Obama Takes on the LRA” (this artcle includes one of the earliest criticisms of IC) 

International Crisis Group’s November 2011 Report on the LRA

Lisa Ling reports on the LRA for The Oprah Show

Christianity Today - "Deliver Us From Joseph Kony"

TED: Chimamanda Adichie, "The danger of a single story

From Invisible Children...

Invisible Children Web Site

Invisible Children Team

Invisible Children Financials

Kony 2012 Video

Kony 2012 Campaign

Facebook response from John Rudolph Beaton, Crisis Tracker Project Developer for IC

Invisible Children - Official Response to Critiques 

Jolly Grace Okot Andruvile (Ugandan Country Director for IC) - "To Critics of Kony 2012" 

Invisible Children's new video in response to criticisms *NEW* 

Critiques & Responses...

Visible Children

David Sangokoya (Nigerian American aid worker) – “Selling Old Newspapers Shouldn’t Be Profitable

Solome Lemma (Innovate Africa) – “You Don’t Have My Vote

Justice In Conflict – “Taking Kony 2012 Down a Notch” and “Kony 2012: The Invisible Children Advocacy Campaign to Catch Kony

James McCarty – “Christian Ethics, Invisible Children,  Kony 2012, and International Advocacy

Joshua Keating (Foreign Policy Magazine) - “Joseph Kony is not in Uganda and other complicated things

Angelo Izama - “Invisible Children’s Campaign of Infamy

Musa Okwonga - “Stop Kony, yes. But don’t stop asking questions

Dianna Anderson - "On Kony 2012 and Thinking Critically

Rosebell Kagumire - "My Response to KONY 2012

Matthew Paul Turner - "About Kony 2012...

Think Progress - "A Partial Defense Of Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 Campaign

Scot Edwards (Amesty International) - "#Kony2012 and the Warping Logic of Atrocity*NEW*

Michael Deibert - "How Invisible Children's Kony  2012 Video Will Hurt - And How You Can Help - Central Africa*NEW*

Press Coverage...

Washington Post: “Invisible Children Responds to Criticism  About ‘Stop Kony’ Campaign"

NPR: “Ugandan Warlord Joseph Kony Under Spotlight Thanks to Viral Video

Christianity Today: Why Joseph Kony is Trending 

The Telegraph: "Joseph Kony 2012: growing outrage in Uganda over film

The Guardian: "Child abductee featured in Kony 2012 defends film's maker against criticism

Washington Post: "Invisible Children founders posing with guns: an interview with the photographer" 

Jason Russell interviewed on the Today Show 

TIME: "'Kony 2012' documentary becomes most viral video in history"

Other Resources...

Charity Navigator’s Report on Invisible Children

Charity Watch – “The Best Ways to Assist in Providing Emergency Relief in Uganda

World Vision's Children of War Fund 

When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert
(Note: I’ve not yet read this book, but it comes highly recommended by folks I respect) 

From the Blog...

Poverty Tourism, Poverty Elitism, and Grace” (seems relevant) 

And we've been discussing the issue over on my Facebook Page as well

I'll continue updating this page, so check back for new information. (I'll indicate which articles are new.) 

What are your thoughts on Kony 2012 and Invisible Children?

End of article logo.

Shareable Permalink

© 2012 All rights reserved.
Copying and republishing this article on other Web sites without written permission is prohibited.